Art Pop

A hidden gem of colour and texture sits alongside winding beach trails, comfortably fusing modern luxuries with organic surfaces. Once a beach house, bland and uninspiring, is now an updated full-time residence layered with Japanese charred timber – known as Yaki Sugi – precast artisan concrete and bold colourful accents.

The Stylesmiths™ were enlisted to create a bespoke home that reflects the personal style of the couple that live there, moulded to their easy way of living. Collaborating closely with the clients, a truly unique design was developed to address the overwhelmingly open floorplan that flowed from entry into living, dining and kitchen areas. The lack of structure meant there were no delineated spaces to lounge, dine or sit quietly, causing an unsettling feeling in dire need of a remedy.

Although our clients have a strong passion for renovating and a history of designing shopfronts for their pharmaceutical businesses, this project called for some experienced ingenuity. Once The Stylesmiths™ were engaged it wasn’t long until ideas started evolving and the initially small brief extended to include a larger collaboration.

The vast space is centred around the clients’ well-loved collection of Alice in Wonderland lithographs, by the late Charles Blackman. The set of six pieces inspired a gallery feel that’s accented by soft furnishings and accessories in exuberant colours that mirror the wild yet soothing energy of the images, bringing the fantastical story to life. Especially dreamy is the hand knotted rug by Dinosaur Designs that effortlessly anchors this vibrant lounge space.

Walking into the entry eyes land on the multicoloured artwork that hangs at the end of the hall, tastefully juxtaposed by the smaller, monotone portraits alongside. The 1993 poster “festival of Saint-Denis, France” was a perfect addition, encapsulating the clients’ love for interesting art that provokes emotion. The enormous piece replaces what was before a glass door that exposed the entertaining area by the pool, the BBQ in direct sight from the front door left no room for imagination – now visitors are required to peak around the corner to discover more.

Stepping down from entry into the generously sized living space, it is now easy to appreciate the benefits that having an integrated island entertainment unit brings. Breaking up the long room in a way that forges distinct zones between entertaining and relaxing, the architectural piece is the project’s hero. Not only does it make for intimate dinner parties, but it also ties in the elements of the home, custom-built to house technology and a wood fire side by side, intersecting modernist sensibilities with robust materials – concreate, timber, blackened steel, and handmade tiles. It’s deceptively simple.

Harmoniously blending with the native vegetation and doubling as a fire-resistant façade, the home’s exterior has been wrapped in Yaki Sugi charred timber. The timber panelling has a snake-skin texture from being oil bent, the small details adding depth to the interior design that is replicated internally as a feature wall in the lounge, introducing a sense of connectivity that balances out the entire project. Underneath, push-door storage has been concealed, sitting on a plinth of polished concrete that extends the width of the room, another nod to refined natural materials and mimicked by the entertainment unit, specifically designed for fireplace and TV cabinet to sit.

Custom joinery by a talented local craftsman includes technical door mechanics that, when open, discreetly hide either side of the TV to ensure the unit looks as stunning open as it does closed when the neighbouring fire is alight. But just one of the meticulous layers, this construct of cast concrete sits upon brass mirror panelling that wraps the foundation, giving the illusion it’s floating. Blackened steel hugs the TV compartment, protecting it from the heat emitted from the Oblica fireplace. The clients adore the “perfectly imperfect” effect the steel adds, nuanced and random from being treated with an acid wash and naturally oxidised. On the reverse side are slim, cream brick-tiles that are handmade with sand granules that subtlety allude to the coastal setting. Offering a calm backdrop for the dining area, and enhance the visual impact of the dark Aboriginal portrait layered on top.

In the kitchen, this moody theme continues in dramatic updates that replace the washed timber, grey splashbacks, and cream pendants typical of beach house style. There is a consistent language that flows inside, out with this Art Pop house. Cabinetry and all new European appliances, essential for any enthusiastic cook, have been installed in matte black that creates uniform with the entertainment island and Yaki Sugi on the façade. Bronze mirror splashbacks match the timber pendant that lights the island bench, both adding an organic warmth that’s subtle and inviting.

The Stylesmiths™ interior designers are always guided by their clients because no one understands the quirks of their home better. Thus, it was an easy solution to swap out impractical island seating for more useful custom storage. Complete with a hidden tech station in the middle draw to maximise utilitarian space, a set of three-by-three draws have been installed using the same veneer as the cabinets. Open wine squares were also covered over to camouflage an adults only bar unit that was a must for function, but not for style. This way it doesn’t distract from the bench top veins that resemble marble with glimpses of brown and flickers of gold that compliment the indoor flame that sits opposite.

A series of balances between colour, material and character, this reinvented mid-century project is successfully linked via a dramatic lighting design. The artworks are all encased in museum glass to prevent reflection or damage, each with their own drop track lighting that highlights the brilliant colour and contrast. Flush mounted spots that have been matched to the drop tracks providing more functional light, complimenting the dining pendant that builds on the layers to create pools of light that fill the space with personality.