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A House Of Primary Colours


Today’s stunning family home is a self-designed gem from Melbourne architect Maria Danos. The Mt Waverley property takes its design cues from the modernist homes typical of this area, which is located just far enough from the city to wake to birdsong, and close enough to whiz into work!

Maria shares her home with husband Dimitri Gerostamoulos (an expert in forensic toxicology) and children Christos (16) and Eleni (12). The whole family offered insights into their favourite aspects of the house, and it’s clear that a strong sense of aesthetics runs deeply in these genes!

12th September, 2018

This impressive Mascarello granite bench (designed by Maria) marks and anchors the ‘heart’ of the home- the kitchen. Most of the family’s time is spent here congregating, preparing and sharing food. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The dining setting sits on a kilim purchased by Maria’s grandfather in the 1950s from a gypsy in far north Greece, and gifted to her mother when she left Greece to build a life in Australia. It’s one of Maria’s favourite pieces! Jorn Utzon ‘Concert’ pendant light over dining table. Bronze bowl designed by John Pawson for ‘When Objects Work‘. Patricia Urquiola (for Cassina) ‘Diamond Table’ dining table. Bedont ‘Kalea’ Chairs. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Wide, timber framed glazed sliding doors blur the threshold between exterior and interior, providing a protected outdoor dining space in the north-facing courtyard. Jorn Utzon ‘Concert’ pendants over the kitchen bench. Courtyard dining setting  Vitra ‘Tom Vac’ chairs designed by Ron Arad available from Space. Carrara marble dining table designed by Maria Danos. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Maria and Dimitri in their INCREDIBLE front sitting room. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Jetmaster wood firebox deeply recessed into the Mascarello granite feature. Integrated shelving designed by Maria. ‘Elliptical’ painting by Elwyn Lynn, courtesy of Charles Nodrum Gallery. Blue chair is the Fritz Hansen ‘Swan’ chair designed by Arne Jacobsen, in Kvadrat Divina fabric. Herman Miller Armchair 670 and Ottoman 671 in walnut and leather designed by Charles and Ray Eames. Vitra Isamu Noguchi coffee table, available from Space. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Most meals over the warmer months are enjoyed in the courtyard, surrounded by the Jacaranda tree, acacias and several olive trees. Tom Vac courtyard chairs designed by Ron Arad. Moroso Victoria and Albert Lounge Chair in foreground. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

When she’s not working in her Windsor office, Maria uses this as her home studio. Ikea Bekant tables. Accademia ‘Kaori’ Chairs. ISM Objects Shelving. Violet Petyarre ‘Body Painting’ just visible. Artemide ‘Castore’ pendant lights. Flos 265 adjustable wall light from Euroluce. Flos Glo ball table lamp designed by Jasper Morrison. Herman Miller red moulded plywood arm chair designed by Charles and Ray Eames. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Vintage Rosenthal glass vase. Georg Jensen champagne cooler used as vase. Vitra Isamu Noguchi coffee table. Velieris Alpaca carpet used as a rug. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The sculptural stairscase was designed to be visually permeable to allow light to bounce in through from the north courtyard. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Integrated joinery designed by Maria. Ceramics collected from Crete, Heath Ceramics, Anchor Ceramics, Athenian Cycladic Museum and vintage Raymond Loewy chinaware for Rosenthal. Herman Miller Armchair 670 and Ottoman 671 in walnut and leather designed by Charles and Ray Eames. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

B&B Italia ‘Charles’ modular sofa designed by Antonio Citterio available from Space. Velieris Alapaca carpet used as a rug. Artemide ‘Castore’ pendant lights. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A look into a bathroom. Just visible is a corner of the Jardan Kelly Ottoman. – Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Jardan Avalon bed in Maharam. Bed plinth/joinery (designed by Maria) stores art, books etc. Over the bed hangs ‘Uwalki Watiya Tjuta’ original painting by Mitjili Napurrula. Next to the bed sits a work from the Australian Print Workshop (artist unknown). Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The home was designed as a deliberate ‘nod’ to the optimism of mid-century homes once characteristic of – and now unfortunately disappearing in – the suburb. The matel planter visible is a prototype from Mad Max: Fury Road film set! Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Viccarbe ‘Ad Hoc’ Lounge Chair designed by Jean-Marie Massaud. White glazed Ceramic Pot from Jardan. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

View from living room to the rear garden and outdoor living area. The elevated pool area provides a little ‘theatre’ coming out of the ground with ‘mural’ backdrop enjoyed from the living room, created by the custom pattern Mutina ‘Puzzle’ ceramics. Inside is the Prostoria ‘Up-lift’ Armchair. The painting just visible is ‘Mercury’  by Hannah Nowlan. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The pool area! Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Photography – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 12th September 2018

This stunning Mt Waverley property has been the home of architect Maria Danos and her family for the past nine years. The home was designed by Maria, who explains that her design approach is deliberate tip of the hat to the ‘optimism of Melbourne’s mid-century modern homes’ which are characteristic of the suburb. The home maintains this architectural vocabulary through the use of face brick, timber framed window joinery, and varying ceiling heights to encourage the interplay of light.

The undulating site landscape presented some challenges, but also offered an opportunity to ‘sculpt’ the rear space and play with scale and elevations. This sculptural quality runs throughout the home, reinforced by the use of striking natural materials. Maria explains ‘I used a limited palette of earthy, ‘expressive’ materials, and have explored simple detailing techniques to convey the materiality of the finishes used.’

These materials are appreciated and enjoyed by the whole family, as Christos highlights his favourite part of the house is the use of granite stone in contrast to the black floors. For Eleni, the artworks and furniture are her favourites, for the way they ‘go so nicely with the house.’ It seems an eye for design runs in the family!

The eye-catching granite was the literal rock around which other materials were selected, including the dramatic introduction of primary colours. Cobalt blue enlivens private open spaces, accented with a sharp yellow, and framed with a red pivot door and carpets.

The family’s Hellenic heritage is also celebrated through the inclusion of  inherited heirlooms (such as Maria’s grandfathers’ treasured kilim rug), and a mural above the pool created by Mutina ceramics. Maria’s intention was to design with quality and a sense of  ‘richness’, while also creating an inviting and un-precious abode. She enthuses about the homes capacity to entertain, and welcome the various ‘tribes’ who ‘enrich our lives, including our dear family, friends, school friends and colleagues.’

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