Murray House has undergone a transformation by Pasquale Cook which layers character, texture and intimacy into a period family home.
Located in the inner south-eastern Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick, Murray House has been reimagined for modernity through a resurrection that has coaxed the home’s tired ornamentation of the home into timelessness through a dedication to tactile interior aesthetics.
Last renovated in the 1990s, Pasquale Cook has since instilled an enduring and engaging relevance, drawing on a distinctive selection of materials and introducing details that complement the existing beauty and personality of the period home.
In taking the rear volume of the house, which holds the kitchen, dining and living spaces, back to its bones, Pasquale Cook has reconfigured the layout to instil an openness in sync with contemporary living patterns and attuned to the family’s evolving needs. Warmth and spatial fluidity have been conjured alongside a cohesive visual language defined by a soft, tonal palette, tactile materials, carefully curated styling and the harnessing of abundant natural light.
Deft architectural interventions, such as deliberately lowering the bulkhead over the kitchen and library wall, create a harmonious quality that complements the home’s airy proportions.
Handmade tiles, vellum sconces custom designed by Pasquale Cook, dark oak veneer and woven cane reinstate character and elegance, finding sympathetic accord with Murray House’s period elements. Walls were painted in a soft dove grey, while a glazed terracotta splashback has emerged as a defining feature.
Scale has been used throughout Murray House as a perfect modulator, with oversized furniture balancing ceiling lights and sculptural lighting elegantly altering the physical and ephemeral experience of space, which explores and capitalises on the living area’s proportions.
Steel-framed glazing connects the interior spaces to the surrounding garden and pool while establishing light as a design pillar as it washes across the new program to accentual surface textures and ultimately unify all.
In Murray House, artisanal qualities and the beauty of natural imperfection bestow a poetic atmosphere within an otherwise clean collection of spaces. It demonstrates iconic British architect John Pawson’s adage that a finite number of things are needed to bring beauty and function into a home and that anything more simply gets in the way.