An Honoured Balance – Espie Residence by Georgina Jeffries
Combining the essence of the nearby ocean and the characteristic grandeur of the existing home, Espie Residence balances soft and calming hues with a playful and immersive approach. Georgina Jeffries instils the home with a sense of quiet and honours its unique history through a careful attention to detail.
The combining of heritage with a contemporary relevance can take any manner of paths, either in the muting of colour and dousing in neutral tones to allow detailed cornicing to be expressed through subtleties or in the reengagement with vibrancy to mark a time of interior animation. Espie Residence combines the two opposing methodologies in its own way, expressing a sense of self through colour that connects to place, adding a textural layered effect and ensuring a playful yet freshly modern approach. “The house deserved love,” explains Georgina, “and unconcerned with lavish gestures or modern trends, I wanted to create calm and honest spaces that would provide comfort and a sanctuary-like feel.”
In the design’s new resolve, craft is expressively celebrated throughout, both in the existing home, with its respectful restoration, and in the new addition. The elevating of the handmade extends from the architectural framework and transitions through to the brushstrokes of each curious artwork and the burnishing of metal elements within light fixtures. The home, like its layered elements, tells a story. “We spent a lot of time together,” reflects Georgina about the relationship with the owners, “and through this, developed an understanding of their love of art, culture and values. We were very aligned in our design philosophy, and the design process evolved organically, always checking in at each stage to ensure the spaces were firstly meeting the brief but secondly ensuring the home could accommodate how they wanted to live.”
The previous extension spoke more to its 1980s origins, as a time of excess, than to either the surrounding context of Geelong or the original home. In the first instance, stripping back to the original allowed for a reinstating of purpose. “Upon my first encounter with the home,” Georgina recalls, “I saw so much beauty in the grand heritage details in the front of the house and was completely underwhelmed with the previous extension.” In developing a philosophy to bind the old and new, she focused on how the home could feel and reflect the owners themselves. “From grand details, high ceilings and decorated archways through to concrete flooring and steel doorways,” she adds, “the approach is united and offers the opportunity for each family member to calve out their own space within the home.”
Extending the previous home with an additional four bedrooms, kitchen, living, rumpus area, pool and garage, the proposal needed to also capture the spirit of its coastal location. Where it was once shut off from the surrounds, newfound connections with the ocean are created through openings and visual connections. “By introducing new internal doors into the formal living,” Georgina says, “we have invited the view of the ocean into the main living areas, highlighting the deep greens and blues of this moody room.” Emerging as a U-shape formation on site, the addition balances both privacy and openness, while enhancing the opportunity for natural light internally. “I love celebrating these grand spaces with colour,” she reflects, referencing the connections between old and new. “Deep greens and blues mimic the ocean frontage and create a moody and calming backdrop for their art and books, and as you enter the double brick extension, the mood is lifted to white walls and deep timber cabinetry.”
Combining eras, narratives and a unique approach to colour and expression, Espie Residence reinforces the idea of the home as the ultimate vehicle for personal expression. “Although there is a transition from heritage to modern within the home,” Georgina summarises, “there is also a holistic sense of stillness and quiet within the spaces.”