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Matt and Carly Skinner

Homes

A very special mid century home in Melbourne’s bayside suburb of Beaumaris, belonging to wine writer and sommelier Matt Skinner, his wife Carly, and their two young kids Indi and Ned.

20th April, 2016

Rear of the house (view from the backyard), bedrooms on the first floor, central stairway. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Front lounge room with fire place. Original bench seating with reupholstery by Grazia & Co, skylight which runs the full length of the room, Supertuft Escape Velour carpet in ‘Abby’. ‘Treehouse’ artwork by Sally Smart. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Hallway from front dining area through to backyard, full height windows with views to the central courtyard and pool area. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The Beaumaris home of Matt & Carly Skinner and family. Above – front lounge room with original brickwork, skylight and fire place. Original bench seating has been reupholstered by Grazia & Co, carpet is Supertuft Escape Velour carpet in ‘Abby’. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Downstairs living room. Original Kartell nesting tables, Armadillo & Co Petunia weave rug, unknown artwork rescued from an op shop in St Kilda, and homemade Ojos De Dios (God’s Eyes). Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

First floor bedroom. Californian redwood timber, Supertuft Escape Velour carpet in ‘Vamoose’. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining area. Unto This Last (London) table and bench seats, and print by Universal Everything (LA). Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen. The couple have kept the kitchen in its original condition, with only the appliances replaced. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

View of the pool from the first floor bedroom. Pop & Scott pots, landscape design and work by Elk Landscape Developments. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Matt and Carly Skinner at home. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 20th April 2016

Matt Skinner, his wife Carly and their young kids Indi and Ned live in a very special house.

The house was designed and built in 1960 by much respected Melbourne architect David Godsell (father of Sean Godsell), as his family home. Set on an elevated block in Melbourne’s bayside suburb of Beaumaris, and constructed using brick, glass and Californian redwood, the house is designed over various levels, in response to the sloping site. Matt and Carly purchased the home from David’s widow, Terri Godsell, eight years ago, and have been fiercely passionate about preserving and restoring it ever since.

The footprint of Matt and Carly’s home and most interior details, including cabinetry, remain original. ‘We’re really trying to keep the house true to the original David Godsell design, so we have avoided any structural changes’ says Carly. The pair have undertaken cosmetic improvements only – replacing carpets and appliances in the kitchen, repainting, and replacing window dressings throughout.

Outside, a lot of landscaping work has been done, including the installation of an amazing above-ground plunge pool in the sun-drenched central courtyard (constructed from a concrete water talk!). However, by and large, the house is still very much as Godsell intended it to be. ‘The longer we live here, the less we want to do, and we’re so glad that the house remains in its original state’ Carly says.

The house is David Godsell’s earliest residential project, and exemplifies his personal design philosophy – that buildings should ‘embrace and enhance the natural beauty of their site’. Indeed, nestled amongst mature trees, with sweeping floor to ceiling windows throughout, the home certainly makes the most of its leafy surrounds and elevated outlook. It’s nice (and so rare!) to see a house dwarfed by trees, set in the middle of a generous block, enveloped by garden at both the front and rear.

Great architecture is one thing to admire from a distance, and another thing entirely to experience first hand. Living in a home like this, designed by a respected architect for his own family, offers a rare and very personal insight into Melbourne’s architectural history.

‘We obviously love David’s design, the house functions perfectly as a family home – there’s nothing ostentatious, its very understated and beautiful in its simplicity’ Carly says. For the Skinner family, Godsell’s vision is apparent everyday, in the way they use and enjoy their home, and the way this house still functions efficiently for a family of four more than fifty years after it was first built.

Matt Skinner is a brilliant and, it must be said, semi-famous sommelier and wine consultant. Matt’s brand new and very personal project is an online retail wine business called The Drinks List, which sells packs of interesting and affordable wines handpicked by Matt – shipping Australia-wide, it’s well worth a look! 

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