Nestled on a leafy site in Melbourne’s Toorak, this grand residence by Taylor Pressly Architects is spread across five generous levels, taking in views of the city skyline on one side and parkland on the other. Taylor Pressly of namesake architecture firm says the home is designed around the client’s adventurous spirit and passion for hosting friends and family. “We wanted to give the clients a home reflective of their success; a place that functions as both a home and a boutique hotel with a sense of sophisticated luxury,” Taylor adds. The architects collaborated closely with Melbourne-based contemporary art gallery Otomys, who impressively sourced more than 60 artworks from 27 different artists across the globe to adorn the walls of the five-storey new build.
In this feature, Otomys founding director Megan Dicks reveals how the home’s dramatic scale and materiality informed the gallery-like curation of artwork. At the same time, Taylor Pressly takes us through the kitchen’s clever design details and how this space reflects the lavish nature of the home.
There isn’t a single painted wall or timber floorboard in the Curatorial House; instead, marble slabs and polished grey plaster clad the interiors, with subtle brass accents in the door frames, staircase, lighting and tapware. Circles are a motif commonly repeated throughout, seen in the recessed ceiling lights, curvilinear furniture and brass-inlaid circles within the marble floor, providing a dedicated and permanent position for some of the sculptures.
As the home is designed for frequent entertainers, the layout and floorplan were crucial to ensuring adequate flow when hosting guests and catering to just the inhabitants. The first two floors – the basement and ground floor – are dedicated solely to relaxation. A lounge and pool table, retreat, bar and cellar and home cinema occupy the basement, while the ground floor contains four bedrooms with ensuites, a study and another lounge.
The first floor is the assigned entertaining level. Here, a large family room, two separate dining spaces (formal and informal), a sitting room and two kitchens take up residence. The second floor above contains the primary bedroom, walk-in-robe and guest room, while the third and final floor features a bar, sitting and dining space for penthouse-style entertaining.
Even partially hidden from sight, the secondary kitchen reflects the clients’ penchant for cooking and hosting with a Gaggenau 200 series gas cooktop, 200 series dishwasher, Vario 400 series refrigerator, Vario 400 series freezer, 200 series oven, a second 200 series Combi-Steam oven and the 200 series warming drawer, all in the Anthracite finish.
‘Sometimes Angels’ artwork by Simone Boon, and the Sfera bowl and AYTM Grasil candle holder on the table.
“Curatorial House expresses our belief that art is a necessity, not a luxury.”
– Otomoys founding director Megan Dicks
The formal dining space features the Christophe Delcourt Fil Noir dining chairs, spray paint and acrylic on canvas artwork by Andrzej Urbanski and commissioned timber sculpture by Anna Dudek on the custom dining table.
A pink sculpture by Caleb Shea sits within an inlaid brass circle.
The family room features the Viccarbe Step sofas designed by Vincent Van Duysen, Minotti Solid coffee tables, David Groppi Sampei floor lamp and a sculpture by Morgan Shimeld.
In the lobby, ‘Latent 9’ by Melbourne photographer Mark Roper takes pride of place by the Pierre Paulin Osaka sofa. “Mark has always dreamt of seeing his fine art photography with liquid resin at a large scale,” Megan Dicks says.
Taylor Pressly Architects designed two different kitchens on the main level; the front kitchen for serving and entertaining, with a ‘prep’ kitchen behind it for cooking. Director Taylor Pressly says the main priorities in the kitchens were plenty of storage to minimise clutter on the benchtops and state-of-the-art appliances that would stand the test of time. “Both kitchens are intentionally minimal with their design, allowing for a clear canvas of cooking preparation, creativity and cleaning,” he adds.
The appliances needed to be robust, timeless and aesthetically pleasing. Taylor Pressly Architects made the conscious decision to specify Gaggenau appliances throughout both kitchens for their sleek and streamlined design. “All of the appliances (aside from the EB333 oven) are touch open, fitting into our modern design and easily wiped down and maintained,” Taylor says. “The anti-fingerprint integrated fridges obscure into the rear wall, void of handles or detail.”
Artwork (left to right): ‘Melancholia II’ by Florian and Michael Quistrebert, commissioned piece by Rosie Mudge and ‘I have a Story’ by Anna Dudek.
The circle motif repeats itself once again in the master ensuite through the double basin, custom ceiling detail and custom marble flooring beneath the bath.
Although, at first glance, the Curatorial House may look as though it’s been designed around the client’s art collection, Megan Dicks explains the client is actually a first-time art buyer. “Fortunately, our client has a very good eye for fashion, so despite her saying in our first meeting “I don’t know much about art”, her appreciation of quality design, colour, texture and form enabled her to thoroughly enjoy the process,” Megan adds.
The Otomys team took to the patterns and levels of sheen in the surface finishes as a starting point for the year-long art sourcing process. In these 12 months, Otomys worked to curate more than 60 pieces of art, focusing on emerging artists. “The clients’ investment in generating new opportunities for early to mid-career artists was inspirational,” Megan reflects. Many works on canvas and paper also underwent custom framing, which made each piece more meaningful and personal to the client and the home itself.
The sophisticated and glamorous Curatorial House doesn’t shy from making a statement through rich materiality, bold artworks and jewel-toned furniture. Yet despite all of these layered elements cohabitating, there’s a certain calmness throughout. In architect Taylor Pressly’s words, “Curatorial House is a delightfully-unexpected home.”