When the owners of this sprawling home in the Melbourne suburb of Park Orchards engaged Chelsea Hing to complete an interior scheme, she was pleasantly surprised to inherit a great architectural footprint to work within.
‘The layout and scale of the house was fantastic, but the interior was a little lacklustre – white plaster walls, white laminate kitchen,’ she describes. Despite its excellent bones, the building was in need of an injection of colour and personality to really feel like home.
Chelsea had worked with these clients before (remember this amazing house in the Yarra Valley?), so she drew on their good working relationship and previous projects when conceptualising the new design. This house was to be a continuation of the modern Australian aesthetic realised in the Yarra Valley House, but elevated in a contemporary way. In addition to this, there was a desire for the space to be the perfect environment in which to house the client’s growing collection of art. Specially commissioned pieces by local sculptors Caleb Shea and Morgan Shimeld needed a place, alongside new acquisitions from Australian painters Alice Wormald and Judith Wright.
In rooms where art and furniture are largely absent, materials and surfaces become the decorative centrepieces. For example, the emerald cabinetry and green marble island bench in the kitchen (which Chelsea describes as a ‘sucker punch’) give this room a rich, complex character and elevates it from the other communal spaces; while polished plaster ceilings throughout reject all prevailing decorating conventions. These textural partitions also service one of Chelsea’s key design principles: using interior innovations to highlight the architecture.
‘When we took on the project we were excited that the client was on board to introduce polished plaster to all the walls and ceilings, as this would give the house a sense of majesty and solidity it was lacking,’ explains Chelsea. The majority of these textured walls are tinted grey to enhance the contours of the original architecture, and lend some gravitas to the interior spaces.
Beyond these muted communal spaces lie a smattering of jewel-like rooms, completely overtaken by a devotion to a single colour. The kitchen is one, but the most striking of these is the main bedroom, in which all surfaces have been swept with a deep topaz blue. Velvet-like polished plaster again coats the walls and ceiling, this time matching lush carpet in the same sapphire shade, and introduces an unexpected textural and tonal sequence to the space.
‘Having done this a few times, I know I’m onto a good thing when the tradies scratch their heads and say, “Are you sure?”,’ Chelsea laughs. And she is right. This feast of contemporary textures, bold colour and lux details here definitely amounts to a whole lot more than a ‘good’ thing!
See more projects from Chelsea Hing here.