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An Architecturally Superb Melbourne Home By Sean Godsell

Homes

Brace yourself folks… when our art director Annie Portelli returned from photographing this house, she said it was her favourite home we’ve ever featured on The Design Files!

Designed by one of Australia’s most acclaimed modern architects, Sean Godsell, the recently renovated South Yarra home is refined, warm, and meticulously considered. 

Owner Mandy Wilton lives here with her son Nicholas (whose home and business occupies the rear self-contained quarters), while her other son Dominic lives just three doors down with his family. The home’s internal courtyard and clever design allows space for the entire extended family to congregate — something they do very regularly!

18th May, 2022

The South Yarra home of Mandy Wilton, designed by Seam Godsell. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Looking out to the internal courtyard, with the contained studio behind. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Mandy Wilton in her home. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

A potted Cercis Canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ in the courtyard creates a minimalist, Japanese feel. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Customised timber joinery by Carpentry by Stu. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Aalto dining table. Dutch Industrial Result Chairs by Friso Kramer for Ahrend de Cirkel. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Noguchi Akari table lamp. Afra and Tobia Scarpa ‘Soriana’ sofa in original orange boule. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Aalto dining table. Dutch Industrial Result Chairs by Friso Kramer for Ahrend de Cirkel. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Dieter Rams Vitsoe shelving system. Max Dupain photographs. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Powder coated steel laddy made by Jason Blake. Le Corbusier LC2 sofas. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

&Tradition Flowerpot VP3 table lamp. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Le Corbusier LC2 sofas. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Jonathon Dalton oil painting above fireplace. Powder coated steel ladder made by Jason Blake. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

‘The towel rail extends the entire length of the wall, which is brilliant for drying clothes as it also houses the laundry,’ says Mandy. Towels by Tekla from Pan After. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Art from Modern Times. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Bed and bedside tables designed by Sean Godsell. Artwork by Graeme Drendel. Ladder made by Jason Blake. Lamp from Great Dane Furniture. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Bedside table designed by Sean Godsell. Artwork by Graeme Drendel. Lamp from Great Dane Furniture. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

‘My library and bedroom steel ladders by Jason Blake delight me every day. The ceilings are so high and they are the perfect solution to reaching high storage cupboards and bookcases they are so sturdy but also very refined.’ Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 18th May 2022

‘I am a longtime admirer of architect Sean Godsell. The opportunity to be personally involved in one of his projects was a dream come true.’

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.’ 

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net