Stepping into the home of Mandy Wilton, it’s immediately evident that everything has a place, and every design choice has been thoughtfully considered.
Mandy bought the 1890 single-fronted Victorian in 2019. The house had been heavily renovated prior, and was located on a ‘peculiar, wedge-shaped plot of land’ requiring a precise, artistic vision to unleash its potential. Enter, the most recent recipient of the Australian Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal, Sean Godsell.
‘I am a longtime admirer of architect Sean Godsell,’ says Mandy. ‘The opportunity to be personally involved in one of his projects was a dream come true.’
Sean and his team maintained and renovated the original part of the house; demolished and rebuilt the extension; and added a self-contained studio at the back of the property (with a separate entrance) where Mandy’s son Nicholas lives and runs his film and television studio, A.N. Studio.
The street appearance of the home — previously dominated by a 1970s fence — was also updated, with a riff on the original picket fence added in steel. ‘It has all the security without interfering in neighbourly interactions,’ says Mandy.
Facilitating this sense of community is what this home is all about. ‘Not only does my son live on the street, but so does my brother and his family, and we’ll often cross paths when I am out on the front porch,’ says Mandy. ‘The presence of passersby… and the impromptu conversations we strike up, make living in this neighbourhood so special.’
These gatherings continue indoors around the large internal courtyard. ‘This is one of the only briefs I gave the architect — that I could seat a large crowd for dinner. That, and room for books!,’ says Mandy. ‘For larger gatherings, we open up the bifold doors to the courtyard and join tables together. We can seat 20 people around the table.’
Warm timbers lining the walls, roof and bookshelves are softly contrasted with Dulux Berkshire White and Dulux Natural White interior walls, Dulux Lime White on the exterior, and a potted ‘forest pansy’ in the courtyard that collectively provide a minimalist, Japanese feel.
Books are displayed in almost every room via perfectly customised timber joinery by Carpentry by Stu. ‘It’s extensive and superbly executed,’ says Mandy. ‘It’s something I stop to admire every day, without fail.’
Making use of this extensive joinery is imperative to the compact home’s functionality and beauty. As Mandy says, ‘The house is actually at its finest when bare of furniture, because it’s architecturally superb, thanks to Sean Godsell.’