Contrast Through Colour – The Netherlee Project by Carole Whiting
Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Innovation, functionality and a touch of class – award-winning designer Carole Whiting uses every ounce of her skill set to bring out the true architectural beauty of the inner-city Melbourne home.
The relationship between interior designer and client is a complex one. Key to navigating the often-arduous journey from initial concept to final design is trust. Trust must develop between client and designer in order for a truly beautiful final result to come into fruition. From the very beginning of the Netherlee Street project, trust between interior designer Carole Whiting and the clients was abundant and absolute. “I loved working with the clients”, states Carole. “I enjoy discovering the unique traits and enjoyed using their interests to inform my design process”. It was upon this foundation that Carole was able to overcome the significant challenges posed by a stringent design brief and shortened decision-making time to transform the overbearing interiors of a 1980’s-style house into an elegant contemporary home with an understated elegance that instils a sense of calm in all who set foot inside.
When Carole was first engaged by the clients, a couple living overseas returning to their Australian home, she discovered a neglected site with a brash colour scheme that only served as a mask for the elegance of the 1980’s style architecture. The first order of business was to replace the overpowering colours with a more monochromatic palette producing a calm and respectful space that generates increased attention for the decorative elements of the original building. Updating the style and functionality of the home formed the basis of the clients’ requests and their love of cooking made the kitchen a particular area of focus for Carole.
Architectural plans developed by Brayshaw Architects, whom Carole had worked with on a previous project, had been completed and renovations were scheduled to start within four weeks, making timing of the upmost importance. This very short turnaround time, coupled with the retrofitting of the interior design into the architectural update, made this already complex project significantly more challenging. Carole rose to the occasion employing her ability to make decisions quickly and revelling in her overall love of a challenge.
The clients love of cooking made the kitchen a particular area of focus for Carole.
The interior design began to take shape as the geometry and primary forms of the space were redefined with contemporary stylings. The lighting of the home, key to emphasising the updated colour palette of blacks through to greys and whites, adopts a more prominent place within the immediate view of occupants. Light also worked in tandem with the liberal use of white to allow artwork and furniture to feature more prominently throughout the home. Darker tones, enhanced with timber elements and marble, further simplify the colour palette and allow the naturally beautiful form of the original home to be emphasised with conviction.
The first order of business was to replace the overpowering colours with a more monochromatic palette.
Key to strong interior design is the power of visualisation. The innate ability to notice what others cannot, whether it is an angle, hidden element or intricate detail, can make or break the interior of a project. “For me it was the distinctive viewpoint looking down the central hallway from the master bedroom”, states Carole. “As soon as I saw this, I knew I wanted to get started on the project straight away. The culmination of this vision through the final result is what makes me most proud when I reflect on this project”.
The kitchen, such an important element of the initial design brief, is defined by an island bench comprised of Artedomus Elba stone. Designing the kitchen space was where the relationship between client and designer really began to flourish. Carole worked hard to manage client expectations, ensuring that the large American kitchen and robust design didn’t create an imbalance within the home. It was important to avoid a monolithic island bench that would dominate the space so the possibility of Artedomus “came up over a glass of wine” and resulted in a trip for both client and designer to look at stone. The final result is a strong presence of Artedomus is both the kitchen and bathroom spaces. As Carole exclaims, “They fell in love with all my favourite things!”.
Carole Whiting rose to the occasion employing her ability to make decisions quickly and revelling in her overall love of a challenge.
Increased functionality was added to the rear of the kitchen through the introduction of a long gesture of lining board that comprises of a series of doors concealing the laundry, powder room, fridges and general storage. Soft grey stone and Elba were used to complement the natural timber tones of the revitalised kitchen, resulting in a space that not only encourages, but enhances the clients’ love of cooking.
The kitchen, such an important element of the initial design brief, is defined by an island bench comprised of Artedomus Elba stone.
Ultimately the interior design for the Netherlee Street project works to develop style and functionality whilst placing a renewed focus on the traditional architecture of the home. An oversized sliding door neighbouring the central stairwell was added to conceal wine storage and a small bar. Pigeonhole shelving installed in the hallway, laundry and dressing room was used to continue to geometric forms of the building and respect the original architecture, a sentiment that is further developed by the use of fixed feature lighting. All furniture chosen is tactile and comfortable with strong, simple shapes, allowing it to feature prominently within the minimalist space.
The Netherlee project is a triumph in innovative interior design under constrained time conditions. It is a fine example of using contemporary styling and monochromatic colour matching the highlight existing architectural forms, and an exemplar of Carole’s ability to navigate all challenges faced throughout the process to produce a home that exceeded even her own expectations. The end result of this interior journey is a delightfully understated contemporary space that features all the style of functionality of modern inner-city Melbourne living.