Design Deconstructed | Exploring Monochrome Materiality with Adele Bates

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    Interior designer Adele Bates creates a ‘sense of sanctuary’ in this Melbourne home through design details that all sing to the same song sheet.

    Located on a tree-lined street in Melbourne’s Elwood, this gable-roof home makes its presence felt immediately. The unique gable profile sets the tone for what lies within while asserting the role light and greenery play in achieving a holistic design narrative. 

    In collaboration with Designworx Architects, Adele Bates has established a consistent language that threads through the Elwood Residence – from the architecture to the interiors, from the exterior right through each space. We spoke with Adele about how she translated a hard-wearing architectural palette internally and cultivated harmony through continuity of form, materials, fixtures and fittings. 

    Produced in partnership with Phoenix

    The Elwood Residence was designed as a timeless backdrop to a young couple’s modern lifestyle. The two-storey home takes shape around an open-plan living, dining and kitchen area. Above, the private spaces feel separate from the communal – but maintain a connection through a dark and textural palette. 

    The open-plan communal spaces are light, airy and speak to their landscaped surrounds, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling glazing on both sides. The industrial glazing allows light to filter deep into the home in the double-volume primary suite upstairs. “The home was designed as a series of calm spaces to take pause, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life while maintaining a strong connection to the outside through glazing and greenery,” Adele says. 

    The abundance of natural light allowed Adele to explore a moodier, more grounded palette, including dark-toned timbers, brushed nickel tapware and textural natural stones. “The light creates a balance of light and dark, resulting in spaces that feel layered and rich, and at the same time, imbued with a sense of lightness and calm,” Adele adds.

    “The home was designed as a series of calm spaces to take pause away from the hustle and bustle of daily life while still maintaining a strong connection to the outside through glazing and greenery.”

     

    – Adele Bates

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    In each area, Adele has focused on a sense of human scale and tactility through “proportion, ratio and ergonomics”.

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    Signorino Mosaic tiles differentiate the powder room from the upstairs bathrooms. Like the tiles, the Phoenix Teel wall basin mixer set in brushed nickel plays on the home’s themes of geometry and tactility.

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    Materials and finishes convey a coherent dialogue between form, function and feeling in the Elwood Residence. For example, the kitchen’s solid joinery focuses on detailing, proportion and taking advance of negative space. “The joinery detailing is restrained and functional, resulting in a clean aesthetic that allows the textured surfaces of the timber and stone to take centre stage,” Adele says. A textural, tonal palette also creates a spa-like experience in the master ensuite. “Tactile marble and tiles, dark timber and brushed nickel fittings complement the joinery forms to create a calm escape away from the hustle and bustle of daily life,” the designer maintains. 

    Adele selected Australian-designed Phoenix tapware in all bathrooms and the kitchen to relay the importance of quality design in elevating everyday rituals. “For us as designers, there is great importance in the design, feel and quality of the items in a home that you use and touch daily,” she says. “Phoenix meets the brief on all these fronts, communicating the sense of the quality of the project on a very human scale,” she adds. Tapware from Phoenix’s Teel, Mekko and Vivid Slimline range were selected for their slimline profiles, while the brushed nickel finish lends a warmth that Adele says picks up on the qualities of the natural light. 

    Elwood Residence isn’t concerned with grand gestures. Instead, each space reinforces how natural light and quiet, human-centred design features culminate in a ‘sense of sanctuary’. 

    “For us as designers, there is great importance in the design, feel and quality of the items in a home that you use and touch daily.”

     

    – Adele Bates

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    A walk-in-robe lies behind a textured, timber-lined box at the centre of the bedroom.

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    The distinct gable form makes way for the expansive spatial character of the primary suite.

  • adele bates' signature style

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