In the leafy Melbourne suburb of Malvern, a 1930s home has been expertly restored and extended by architect Paul Gleeson. Post-renovation, the owners commissioned interior designer Nickolas Gurtler to introduce tactful layers of furniture and art to carry the home to fruition. At present, MEJ Residence is a case study on the colours and textures of the Australian landscape – the earth, bush, ocean and sky – and how they can be used to convey a deep reverence for history.
The brief for MEJ residence was twofold; there was to be life and colour instilled throughout while considering the building’s past. “The clients strongly wanted to honour both the heritage elements of the home and the intentions put forward by the architect,” Nickolas explains. Actioning this desire, the interiors strike a balance between the formality of the 1930s architecture and the “sleek playfulness”, as Nickolas calls it, of Paul’s contemporary additions. Formal furniture arrangements make up one side of the scales – sculptural, textural pieces make up the other. As a result, the final product values order while still offering ample room to play.
“We looked to express the French architectural technique of ‘enfilade’ through a colour palette inspired by the Australian landscape,” Nickolas says. Enfilade translates to a group of rooms arranged formally together – usually in a row with each room opening into the next. This technique is common in Nickolas’s work, calling forth a portfolio of highly functional, interconnected interior spaces. In MEJ Residence, the natural flow of space begins at the front, where warm, earthy tones – rusts, caramels and forest greens – reign. Transitioning into the rear of the home is where the cooler tones – blues, silvers and blacks – start to appear, anchored still to the familiar forest greens.
The material palette, like the furniture, is a dialogue between the raw and the refined; the playful and the formal; the new and the old. Tactile textures such as boucle, fur, timber, velvet and wool contrast against more treated textures such as smoked glass, polished chrome, honed granite and leather.
The home that prevails is precisely what the clients had envisaged: coloured-in and tactful.
The dining space features a robust material palette of leather, oak veneer, granite and stainless steel. Making an appearance is the Nickolas Gurtler Hippodrome dining table, Zuster Husk chairs and grazia&co New York sideboard.