Netherlee House by Carole Whiting Interiors + Design
Revealing the architectural integrity of this 1980s home required a delicate mix of restraint, care and a generous amount of warmth.
For Carole Whiting Interiors + Design, whose work often sits in the liminal space between whimsy and minimalism, this home in Melbourne’s South-East suburb of Glen Iris presented a chance to demonstrate the studio’s prowess in striking this studied balance.
Originally dominated by a loud, gaudy mix of colours, the home’s inherent structural beauty was shrouded beneath a neglected interior that championed neither style or function. Having spent years living overseas in a house of ample proportions, the homeowner wished to maximise the inner-city home’s available space, engaging Brayshaw Architects to refine and update the structure. Carole Whiting’s studio was engaged just four weeks before building was due to commence, presenting her team with the task of quickly and seamlessly assimilating the interiors into the renewed architectural vernacular.
Through stripping away superfluous details and implementing a colour palette of white, black and grey, the home’s true character is revealed. Careful consideration was given by Carole Whiting as to how the interior features would speak to the home’s structural language; lighting features in primary shapes are rendered in stark white, while black paint is used on walls to provide a bold backdrop for artwork to shine, and again in recesses to highlight depth.
It could be easy for such a monochrome approach to strip the home of its tactility and soul, but timber flooring provides a soft and consistent warmth. Timber is also used alongside marble to deliver natural texture to the interior, particularly in the kitchen, where an oversized Elba marble and timber island bench offers a sense of scale and occasion to an otherwise compact yet functional space. In the master bathroom, a compact, matte-white Vieques bathtub with utilitarian-like grooves offsets sleek black fixtures and glossy white tiles.
An attention to scale is reinforced through the home’s double-height hallway, which features a dramatic, oversized tossB CONE lamp at its centre. The effect is almost playful—a subtle demonstration of how contemporary design has evolved since the home was first conceived. But at its heart, Netherlee House is a study in light, which floods the home from above, creating a gentle and calming contrast to the precise, pared back interior scheme.
Shortlisted by both the Dulux Colour Awards 2018 and the Australian Interior Design Awards 2018, Netherlee House demonstrates how interior design might adapt, underscore and ultimately shine a light on a home’s architectural legacy.
This piece originally appeared in est magazine issue 30.