Today’s seriously photogenic Melbourne home is a true modernist gem, hidden away down a steep driveway along the leafy banks of the Yarra River. Despite is generous proportions, this is in fact a townhouse, one of a small development of units designed in 1967 by revered Australian architect Graeme Gunn, who is a widely recognised local design veteran, still practicing in Melbourne today.
Art dealer Sophie Gannon, her husband Frazer East and daughter Arabella (7 months) are the lucky family who call this place home. This busy young family are only the third owners of this incredible home since it was built in 1967 – and as a result much of the house is in original condition.
Since moving in, Sophie and Frazer haven’t made many changes, other than repainting the cupboards in the main living room, which were previously a soft pink. Janne Faulkner from Nexus Designs helped Sophie select some of the furniture and colours for the house – which Sophie says was super amazing, because Janne designed the original kitchen and living room cabinetry when the house was first built!
Sophie’s healthy obsession with the history of her home is self evident and quite infectious – ‘I don’t mean to cr*p on so much about the history of the house and the people involved but I LOVE IT!’ she says!
The home’s history was what initially drew Sophie to it – ‘it was built and designed by the superstars of Australian architecture, landscape design and interior design in the 1960’s – designed by Graeme Gunn and built in 1967-68 for John Ridge, one of the founders of Merchant Builders’ she says. ‘The garden is an Ellis Stones garden, and the interiors, including the kitchen and living room cabinetry, were designed by Janne Faulkner from Nexus Designs when the house was built in 1967’.
Sophie is quick to point out that both Graeme Gunn and Janne Faulkner are still at the top of their game – most recently Janne was the 2011 IDEA (Interior Design Excellence Awards) Gold Medal Recipient and Graeme Gunn won the Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 2011.
As is evident above, Sophie truly relishes the unique history of her home, and so was thrilled when, 6 months ago, Janne arranged a morning tea with Graeme Gunn and herself at the house – they were able to reminisce about dinner parties and Merchant Builders ‘board meetings’ in the living room!
Of course being a passionate art lover and gallerist, Sophie’s home is filled with amazing Australian art – and asking her to choose a favourite piece is kind of like asking a mother to choose her favourite child! ‘I love ALL of the art in the house of course!’ she says. ‘Each room has a different feel and the art on the walls and sculpture plays a big part in that – I can’t single out specific works!’.
But beyond Sophie’s impressive art and classic furniture collection, the central appeal of this home is of course the wonderful modernist design which gives this space that generous, livable feel consistent with so many homes of this era. ‘I know this sounds a bit mushy which I am NOT, but I love the house’s feel and outlook’ says Sophie. That unique feeling Sophie describes must have something to do with the soaring timber-clad ceilings, mega windows with leafy outlook beyond, and sense of nostalgia which Sophie says ‘makes the house feel warm, and has a sort of familiarity to lots of people’.
Sophie also loves the location – ‘being so close to the Yarra River we can hear the rowers being coached early in the morning. And it is very close to the gallery so I can be at work in a flash!’.
OH and that reminds me, as if you didn’t know, Sophie Gannon is the woman behind the wonderful Sophie Gannon Gallery in Richmond. She really is a bit of a dynamo, and represents some of the BEST artists in Australia, including Kirra Jamison, Julia Deville and Cressida Campbell! Evidently, a woman with excellent taste :)
Massive thanks to Sophie and family for sharing their beautiful home with us today – and especially to Sophie for the EPIC captioning effort! You can always count on an art dealer to provide the very best captioning service![please feel free to PIN from TDF home tours with photography credit / captions intact thanks so much!]