When Jess Dempsey and her family first purchased this home nearly a decade ago, an unsympathetic earlier renovation had all but eliminated the original Edwardian ambience. Jess was determined to restore the house to its intended grandeur, with a design that would see the family well into the future.
‘The original part of the home had so many stunning period features: arches over the fireplace and hallways, lead-light windows, high ceilings, ornate cornices, wide skirting and decorative plaster charm,’ Jess describes.
But not everything was admirably old. The laundry was mouldy and unusable, and the closed-plan layout was not kid-friendly or conducive to natural light. Together with interior architect and designer Cassandra Walker, Jess planned to remove the pre-existing renovation – which was completely unsympathetic to the original architecture – and opt instead for an open plan scheme for the rear of the house, combining kitchen, dining and living zones in one large space.
This re-organised layout, plus a second floor, freed up the front rooms of the house to be re-conceived as the adult’s wing. The main bedroom and corresponding ensuite, guest bedroom and study occupy the intact heritage rooms, while a second storey contains three smaller bedrooms and a rumpus room.
Archways were a key structural motif, acting as gestures to the home’s Edwardian heritage. ‘We were able to keep a few original arches, such as the hallway arch and its ornate detailing, and a lovely little holy water font,’ says Jess. ‘We also had ceiling roses and detail restored in the study that was previously falling off or cracked.’ To ensure these subtle, structural notes would carry character into the new home, Jess and Cassandra decided upon a clean, monochrome palette that would carry through uninterrupted from the period rooms at the front to the new rooms upstairs, and at the rear.
Solid features anchor the kitchen in the otherwise light and bright space. ‘I personally wanted a large, heavy and thick kitchen bench, I wanted it to have a presence,’ says Jess of her sleek stone island bench. This is complemented by a fitted Franke white granite sink and a Sussex Scala pull-out kitchen tap with a pin lever mixer, both from Reece. In the downstairs room, all the Scala tapware is a brushed gunmetal while upstairs they are chrome (‘This ensured our budget could be allocated appropriately,’ says Jess).
All these metallic elements work to lift the minimalist palette consisting of grey floorboards, stone benches and steel-framed windows in the communal zones, while weightier pieces such as the cast solid surface Kado Lussi bath and twin Milli Pure shower heads in brushed gunmetal add impact to the main ensuite.
‘I love the feeling of my home, the warmth, the love and the way the old meets the new in such a harmonious way,’ says Jess. An ambitious brief, tackled with poise and sophistication!
Jess Dempsey brought her light-filled sophisticated family home to life with Reece – Australia’s home of bathroom and kitchen inspiration, innovation and design. Reece’s expert team helps customers across the country make their dream bathrooms a reality. Discover more here.