A bold exterior to withstand nature's barrage and a...
Modern with soul
This architect-designed contemporary home in Hampton, Victoria, is as warm and friendly as the family who lives here. Colleen and Andrew are owners of wholesale furniture and homewares company Satara, but more than that they’re involved parents of two young sons and a daughter who was a Junior Masterchef finalist.
Colleen Johnston is the first to tell you that if you’d asked her 20 years ago where she’d be living today, she couldn’t have imagined it would be in this wonderful home. Employing almost a glass-wall ethic, the design breathes life into the expansive open-plan spaces, drawing in the sun, blending indoors with out, and creating the perfect family nest. “I never thought we’d be so lucky,” Colleen says with humility so genuine it’s suddenly clear how an ultra-modern home like this can have such warmth.
FROM THE GROUND UP
Teaming up with architectural design studio t(a)², Colleen and Andrew approached the project with a basic floor plan in one hand, and in the other a desire for something new. “We had a few ideas, then they came forward with numerous concepts to make engaging spaces and places in the house, so there are a lot of points of interest,” Colleen explains.
“Depending on where the sun comes in there’s lots of change in the house.” This is the sort of fluidity the couple definitely wanted. Their previous home was beautiful, but being a 100-year-old red-brick Edwardian it was at the other end of the spectrum completely. “I’m not sure if it coincides with turning 40, but it’s almost like wanting to just get rid of the old and bring in the new – a total change,” she says. “Plus, with a big family now, we’re attracted to the generous open spaces.” After six months of planning, the build finally got under way and 12 months later Colleen, Andrew and their brood of three – Jordan, 12, Siena, 10, and Lachlan, 5 – settled into the new five-bedroom, four-bathroom home.
The home is striking right from the front door, with large-scale striped wallpaper defining the entrance hall. “We sourced the wallpaper from a local interior designer,” Colleen says. “We selected most of the fixtures and fittings ourselves, but the wallpaper was tricky so we called in a designer.” The tiled wall opposite is highlighted by a row of square sepia-toned photographs mounted on canvas. These were taken by Andrew during the course of family holidays throughout the world, and at trade fairs in Hong Kong, China and Paris while sourcing items for the couple’s wholesale exterior furniture and homeware company Satara. Photos of the family are displayed gallery-style throughout the home, telling a story of the people who live here and the places they’ve been – fascinating for guests and just the sort of personal touch that keeps this modern house grounded.
The entrance hall runs past a large guest bedroom on the right before arriving at the formal lounge, which spans the width of the house. Here elegant grey sofas and a plush shag rug from Bayliss team with a stunning pendant light from Platinum Lighting, while a built-in fireplace plays its part in producing a relaxed atmosphere. The latter is a focal point of the room with its sculptural display of firewood as strikingly attractive as it is practical. Testament to the couple’s delight in the smallest of details, the ottoman is topped by a beautiful set of ornamental pears – a memento from a trip to Volterra in Italy. On one side of this large room, floor-to-ceiling glass doors slide away to provide access to a tranquil courtyard that needs little more than a table setting and a few dashes of green to make it a perfect spot to relax.
Towards the rear of the house, the kitchen, dining and living area provide an open-plan haven with the pleasant feel of European oak floorboards underfoot. The crisp white kitchen plays an important role in the family’s life – not least since 10-year-old Siena was a top-four finalist in the 2010 TV series Junior Masterchef. Naturally the kitchen reflects their love of good food with top-of-the-range appliances such as an oven, microwave and espresso machine by Miele, fridge and freezer by Fisher & Paykel, and contemporary sinks by Franke. The island bench is the centrepiece of this room, its top one enormous, uninterrupted slab of luxe Calacatta marble.
However, as this stone is more beautiful than it is practical, the Johnstons chose a more durable composite stone for the other benchtops. The Skal stools at the breakfast bar are Satara’s best-selling item of furniture – and they’ve been unoffi cially tested and approved by Jordan, Siena and Lachlan, who gather around the kitchen every day after school to debrief. It’s the perfect kitchen for entertaining too with the mirrored splashback reflecting the outdoor scenery into the house and also allowing Colleen and Andrew to prepare meals and drinks while being involved in the fun around them.
Alongside the house, just below the kitchen window, a vegie garden offers up its harvest of seasonal herbs and vegetables. With cooking a major preoccupation for this family, it stands to reason that dining gets serious consideration too. That’s where the setting of sturdy hardwood table and woven Montreal chairs – from Satara naturally enough – come to the fore, their relaxed style a nod to the outdoors just beyond the glass where the solar-heated pool is set in landscaped lawn.
The dining area flows to a living room fitted with a custom-made suspended entertainment unit and two inviting couches dressed up with colourful cushions. It’s a laid-back spot for the family to unwind and it holds a lot of memories of the smaller, everyday moments in life.
STORY JANA ROOSE
PHOTOGRAPHY NICOLE ENGLAND
STYLING JAYNE REID
For more information on Satara furniture and homewares, visit http://www.satara.com.au/