Nexus Designs call on the cardinal principles of functionality and continuity to refresh an outdated Victorian home in Kew, Melbourne.

Going on 130 years old, this home in Melbourne’s east had naturally lost its tether to the present. Rising to the challenge of giving the home the fresh start it deserved was local interior design studio Nexus Designs, who’ve effectively catered to the future needs and wishes of the clients. 

Cardinal by Nexus Designs

Royal Oak White Smoked herringbone floorboards create an elegant foundation for the kitchen, dining and living spaces, complementing the Signorino honed black granite kitchen benchtop. All tapware by Brodware; integrated Fisher & Paykel dishwasher; kitchen artwork by Vernon Ah Kee; island bench ceramic by Ignem Terrae Ceramics.

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Cardinal (adjective): of the greatest importance; fundamental. As the project’s name suggests, a ‘back to basics’ approach was clearly needed to nurse this home back to health, ordering a complete overhaul of the existing interiors. Cardinally, this involved a purposeful paring back of interior elements where possible while cultivating an appropriate level of indulgence. Take the use of scarlet red in the living space, expressed in the custom upholstered B&B Italia Harry sofas; indulgent but not disruptive. “We’ve tried to fulfil a collection of flowing, light-filled spaces defined by both rigorous functionality and seamless elegance,” Nexus Designs creative director Sonia Simpfendorfer says.

In addition to the colour red, the clients also displayed a passion for entertaining. Refreshing the home meant putting this passion on the front burner, culminating in open spaces designed to comfortably accommodate family and friends – or in Sonia’s words, “intimate enough for two, and expansive enough for twenty more”. The addition of three-metre-high steel-framed windows and doors was paramount in creating this desired atmosphere and connecting the interiors to the outdoors. The classic, clean lines of the doors and windows also reference the home’s period origins, anchoring it to a piece of the past.

Starting back at square one, Nexus Designs have been able to deliver an enduring residential design by determining the fine line between too much and too little.

Cardinal by Nexus Designs

Made-to-order B&B Italia Harry sofas upholstered in vivid red velvet are a striking addition to the living space next to a B&B Italia Diesis coffee table and a custom black and white striped ottoman. 

Cardinal by Nexus Designs

Signorino Rome limestone creates an understated atmosphere in the bathroom.

Cardinal by Nexus Designs

“The base palette of oak, black granite and steel, integrated with shades of taupe, is deliberately restrained and liveable, allowing furniture to introduce surprise and controlled drama.”

 

– Nexus Designs creative director Sonia Simpfendorfer

Cardinal by Nexus Designs

The bedroom features the Maxalto Alcova bed and Artemide Tolomeo Lettura floor lamp. Wall sculpture by Kate Hendry.

Cardinal by Nexus Designs

Three-metre-high steel-framed doors gracefully mark the transition from inside to outside, where a Point Min 2 seater sofa, Ligne Roset Oxydation table and Minotti Cesar side table create an informal outdoor living area.

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