Crowning the ornate brass kitchen bench, this barista’s jewel infuses the open space with the aroma of fresh espresso. The sound of frothing milk is the only interruption to an otherwise quiet and reflective space in this inner-city locale.
Swaying tree branches in the adjoining park are the only connection to the outside world, creating a play of light and shadow across the Fior di Pesco Carnico marble floor. This was once an old cardboard factory; Rob admits, “you wouldn’t expect this kind of natural light in an old warehouse.”
We sit at Rob Mills’ dining table; his favourite place to work during the day. This is where Rob conceptualises ‘great living’ through designing original homes. “I designed this home for my family and I, to reflect who we are and our aspirations,” Rob says. “We hope there’s an honesty to the design, crafted from raw materials.”
“Within Stuart Street, there are spaces that are calm and reflective
and there are spaces that are inspiring.”
– Architect Rob Mills
Rob’s home is magnificent in scale on a small footprint, featuring a 3.4-metre ceiling height in the living space and his signature, curved stucco staircase. Yet the home also carries a familial warmth, which Rob describes as the opportunity to be able to “cocoon yourself”.
Rob says he seeks refuge in the cosy, timber-lined study, reminiscent of an English manor house. “There are timber shutters that allow you to cocoon yourself within and watch a movie or read a book by the fire,” he says. “I love doing that in winter after dinner.”
Rob explains that he feels equally nurtured in the master suite, with floor-to-ceiling glazing on three sizes. “This space has the most beautiful curtains on three sides, so acoustically, it’s a quiet space and thermally, it contains heat,” he says. “It’s a warm place to be in winter and cool in summer.”
As with the entire home, the master suite is a lesson in layering luxurious materials and finishes, down to the brass-lined door frames. “We’ve chosen materials that sit quietly beside each other,” Rob says. “Your eyes travel across each space uninterrupted because there’s no strong colours or dramatic changes in materials.”
Rob also ensured this would be a healthy place to call home by prioritising ventilation and selecting organic and low-VOC paints and glues. The result is a true domestic sanctuary for himself and his family.
This piece originally appeared in est magazine issue 34.