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An Intriguing Garden House Embedded In Nature By Kennedy Nolan

Architecture

Those familiar with the 1911 book, The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, or perhaps the subsequent film adaptation in 1993, will recognise the references in the ‘Secret Garden House’ by Kennedy Nolan.

Accessed through a decorative gate, and surrounded by nature with plants and vines creeping up its walls, the home, which is the site’s second dwelling, gives the impression of having always been there, despite being completed just last year.

4th October, 2022

The ‘Secret Garden House’ by Kennedy Nolan. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Margaret Raru dilly bag hanging on hook, artwork by Helicopter Tjungurrayi from Warlayirti Arts. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The vaulted ceiling is another reference to the architectural language of the main house. Margaret Raru dilly bag hanging on hook, artwork by Helicopter Tjungurrayi from Warlayirti Arts. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Artwork from gallery Holmes a Court. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Kennedy Nolan took its colour palette from nature, with clay-coloured bricks, deep red elements, natural timber, ochre terrazzo, tobacco linen and brass. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Kennedy Nolan drew on features of the Arts and Crafts main home when designing the pavilion. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The pavilion is accessed through a decorative garden gate. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Kennedy Nolan drew on features of the Arts and Crafts main home when designing the pavilion. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The ‘Secret Garden House’ already feels embedded in place. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Bea Taylor
Tuesday 4th October 2022

‘The palette is as visually hushed as the space is aurally,’ – Patrick Kennedy

True to its name, the ‘Secret Garden House’ by Kennedy Nolan invites curiosity, wonder and an imperceptible sense of having been there all along. The ‘pavilion’, hidden beyond a decorative gate, is embedded in the garden, rather than simply being placed upon it. 

‘Our clients had established a beautiful garden, which was in harmonious balance with the house,’ explains Patrick Kennedy. ‘So, our principal priority was to maintain this balance.’

The structure, which was built as a companion to the main home on the same property, comprises a kitchen, living, dining, study, bathroom and bedroom within the 98 square-metre area.  

To ensure the house didn’t break up the established flow of the garden, Kennedy Nolan ensured all design decisions supported an overall sense of nature and ‘being of the earth.’ Materials are earthy and warm with clay-coloured bricks, deep red elements, natural timber, ochre terrazzo, tobacco linen and brass. 

‘The colours are saturated, black and white are avoided, and textures are soft and matte,’ says Patrick. ‘The palette is as visually hushed as the space is aurally.’ 

The structure of the house itself draws on the Queen Anne architectural language of the main home, with the tiled roof, half-timber facade, multi-paned window bay, vaulted rooms and decorative garden gate. 

‘It is sited to be proximate, but discrete,’ says Patrick. ‘The separation opens up new garden aspects and expands the sense of space. It has also allowed our client to inhabit new parts of the garden.’

The result is a dwelling that feels as though it has always been there, simply waiting to be discovered.

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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