Working on this property in Mt Martha was one of our most rewarding experiences as a design team. Our clients travel a lot, and generally to mountainous regions especially New Zealand, so when we were initially engaged to work with them on their home, we immediately recommended painting their home black instead of white (which is what they had planned to do). The design of the interior evolved from there. They really embraced the new direction and they trusted us completely.
We were so lucky in terms of design inspiration because of our clients’ love of art. After curating and valuing art for over a decade, the family’s appreciation of various art forms runs deep and it is their personal collection which formed the very soul of the home. “I often use the artwork to inform the palette when decorating a space,” says the owner. “My family and I are connected to and know personally almost every artist whose work we have in our home. We feel very honoured that their artwork enriches our lives.”
Some of the most striking pieces include the line-based artwork “Many Stars’ by Ildiko Kovacs which takes pride of place in the dining room and a shimmering large-scale artwork by Matthew Johnson takes centre stage in the entrance area. Upstairs iridescent butterfly artworks from British artist Damien Hirst’s “The Souls” series appear to float in the ceiling-high entrance.
Says Kate, “The best design decisions we made were with the space planning – adding a powder room, making the boys’ bathroom smaller but much more user friendly, and removing a wall from the laundry which allowed for a new mudroom to become the meeting hub of the home.”
Turning the relatively small master bedroom and the ensuite into a master suite was a design triumph. The walk-through dressing room adds a real sense of luxury, as does the incredible concrete bath from Boyd Alternatives, the floor-to-ceiling silver vein cut Italian travertine, the organic texture upon texture of timber veneer in very subtle earthy mountainous textures, the custom furniture, Articolo lighting and Made Measure handles.
The powder room is a stunning space for guests, featuring metallic subway tiles, an antique bronze mirror and a beautiful basin made from Calacutta marble.
This family of four includes three males, two of whom are growing young men, so it was important to bring masculinity into the aesthetic. We achieved this with significant architectural features like the steel balustrade and the custom-made leather floor-to-ceiling chimney. We specified handmade wool carpets (27mm thick that feel like you’re walking on clouds) and hand-loomed rugs from India, a Roger Oates rug and stair runner, leather seating, textured wallpaper, marble detailing and V-groove panelling.
The bespoke dark and moody joinery throughout the home works beautifully against the white panelled ceiling, the timber and steel design adding an industrial edge. Hand-painted MDF shelving with custom steel dividers is perfect for displaying the family’s collected curios from their worldwide travels.
The colour palette is based around sludge tones – browns, olives and taupes, camel, tan – lovely rich colours and golden tones reflective of mountain ranges. The lighting makes a significant impact too, with sconces from Articolo lighting and an incredible chandelier from Porcelain Bear in the entrance which is an artwork in itself.
Designed to be aesthetically pleasing while cleverly concealing any mess, the kitchen with its hidden appliances and reverse-sided butler’s pantry ticks all of the boxes for the family.
The immaculate detailing includes leather shelf brackets, Italian Calacutta marble benchtops and handmade tiles. The Sub-Zero fridge, freezer and wine fridge take pride of place along with the Wolf oven, and there’s a custom-designed large drawer especially for their two dogs so that dry food, tins and toys all stashed away neatly. Storage was front of mind when it came to kitchen design and the result combines functionality with luxurious style.
“When it came time to select the stone for the kitchen,” says Kate, “I took our client to meet with our supply partners to hand select the slab. Knowing how much she loves art, I explained to her that choosing the stone is a very personal decision, just like choosing a piece of art. I couldn’t select it for her. In my heart I knew which piece I wanted her to choose, and it was wonderful when this particular piece spoke to her as well. She and her family have spent many years in the mountains in America in Utah and Colorado, and she instantly saw the mountains in this piece of stone.”
The KWD design input into this stunning home started as a small project and ended up being quite significant. We specified, sourced and supplied all of the new elements in the home, from the tiles, handles, tapware, stone and marble throughout to the custom-made furniture and soft furnishings and the floor and window treatments.
The flooring acts as the ideal backdrop for the design details in each room. The 260mm wide pre-finished engineered oak has the perfect tone created specially by KWD in conjunction with the importer.
We’ll soon be starting stage three of the design story which includes two new wings, a new swimming pool and a garden renovation. We’re so excited to see the whole home come together into one incredible property.
Explains the owner, “What I really loved about working with Kate was that she could see the end result so clearly that I just had to trust her. She had a clear vision and she challenged me. Once I would finally get my head around the direction she was taking me in, I would realise how a space could you look if you viewed it in a different way.”
Stylist: Julia Green
Photography: Armelle Habib