Natalie & Anthony think big with a stunning Mid-century Mediterranean inspired renovation
Price guide*: $110K + for all joinerySpecifications
Carcase/Internals: Melamine high moisture resistant interiors/shelving Door/Drawer/Panel/Kicker: Veneer fronts with solid timber handle detail in Tasmanian oak Feature: Fridge cabinet, bulkhead & end panel in 2pac satin finish in Wattyl designer white Drawer Hardware: Intivo Blumotion soft close drawers by BLUM Top: Greek Marble sourced by Client Hinges: Soft close by BLUM from FHS Handles: Custom solid Tasmanian Oak handles to veneer fronts by SpaceCraft Waste Management: 3 bin system with soft close features by Lincoln Sentry Cutlery Inserts: Stainless steel from FHS Oven: 90cm Freestanding Dual Fuel Oven/Stove by Fisher & Paykel Rangehood: Series 8 Canopy cooker hood 86cm in stainless steel by Bosch w/ 2pac block fitted to raked ceiling Dishwasher: Series 6 Fully Integrated Dishwasher by Bosch Fridge: 519L French Door Fridge by Fisher & Paykel Sink: Unley 825 Double Bowl Sink by ABK supplies Tapware: Elysian Commercial Pull out Kitchen Mixer in Brushed Brass by ABI Interiors Splashback: 100 x 100 tile Flooring: tiled w/ underfloor heating
*Price guide includes: cabinetry, tops and splash backs. Exclusions: appliances, electrical, and plumbing
...Natalie and Anthony’s first requirement was for us to understand and appreciate the legacy and fine bones we had to work with...
Natalie and Anthony like to think big, both project managers, their peripatetic lives have taken them to exotic locations, the Philippines being the most recent. We can now add Beaumont to that list, where they have bought a home and settled. But they certainly haven’t settled for anything less than extraordinary. The project they brought to us was a gloriously original example of bespoke architecture from 1971, requiring a lot of sensitive refurbishment and considerations for a 21st-century lifestyle. Oh, and all managed by Natalie whilst she was pregnant in a city they’d never lived in before. That’s not just big; that’s humungous.
The home that Natalie and Anthony bought in 2019 is an amazing property near Waterfall Gully designed by Caradoc Ashton, Fisher, Woodhead and Partners in 1971, the same company that had previously created St Michael’s Church in Mitcham and the Savings Bank of South Australia building in Hindley Street. This split-level modernist masterpiece with its soaring cathedral ceilings was crafted with great integrity, using solid marble and an arboretum of timbers including Tasmanian oak, radiata pine, Oregon, meranti, western red cedar, Australian oak and blackwood.
So, Natalie and Anthony’s first requirement was for us to understand and appreciate the legacy and fine bones we had to work with. Having said that, 1971 is a long time ago (the same year Roddy McDowall donned a monkey suit to star in Escape from the Planet of the Apes, if you want some context). A one-owner home for nearly 50 years, it was starting to show its age. But what stories those old walls could tell. Apparently, the original owners used to host lavish dinner parties with a string duet playing down from the gallery. As one does.
The plan, as Natalie meticulously detailed it, was to start with Morgan Build to brighten and transform the whole house with subtlety and style. She found SpaceCraft through a Google search and brought us in to work with Morgan Build, which was an enjoyable and satisfying experience.
Our joinery tasks were to include the kitchen, pantry, hallway, laundry, study zone, two bathrooms, a walk-in robe and two additional robes. This was certainly going to be one of our bigger jobs. (They got us thinking big, too.) For Nathan and the design team, Natalie and Anthony had a lot of ideas, again with due consideration to the period of the home. They were keen to institute a neutral colour palette of terracotta, pinks, ochre and brass to work with the white render walls, and a lighter stone finish for the flooring. Definitely no blacks or greys. To pick up on two of the original materials, they were keen to use Tasmanian oak and marble, which certainly excited us. As did the idea of minimal handle detail (one of Nathan’s signature moves).
Keeping on with the minimalist vibe, Natalie and Anthony wanted to avoid overhead cupboards, the lower doors were to be replaced by drawers, and they needed a discreet waste management system. To add that little extra je ne sais quoi, they also thought some texture might be good: perhaps in the tiles and maybe some panel-ribbing. At this point, Nathan’s mind must have been blown. What a great – big – brief.
...As a statement showpiece, Nathan designed the entryway cabinetry in two-pack Wattyl Red Ochre with curved-block open shelving and drop-dead gorgeous, custom-made, solid Tassie oak handles...
One of the first challenges was to unblow Nathan’s mind. Mind you, it’s surprising just how quickly he can process all that data and download it to his computer, where the kitchen whisperer magic happens. More problems were to surface at the time of installation but more of that later. Let’s start with the ideas.
The first task for Morgan Build was to open up the kitchen, which had been enclosed by solid walls, in order to connect it to the dining and living rooms at either end, and maximise the effect of the soaring ceiling height. The other major job was to do some serious rearrangement of the master bedroom, which would not only increase the size of the ensuite but also create a large walk-in robe. A full-length dressing mirror in there now conceals a door, which opens to a climate-controlled cellar. (As Natalie said, ‘Who doesn’t love a secret door?!’) Now, that’s a proper grown-ups’ retreat.
The baton then passed to the SpaceCraft team. The huge spaces of the double-storey home and voids that were opened up even more by these interventions could have made the place quite stark and intimidating. But Nathan was able to soften the space with the colour palette and his use of materials. Some of these tips might also work for you if you have a mid-century home.
His first step was to remove the obtrusive darkness of the timbers used in the ceilings, stairs, flooring and balustrades. Where timber was to be used, he opted for the much lighter and warmer Tasmanian oak every time, which gives the home its holistic harmony.
As a statement showpiece, Nathan designed the entryway cabinetry in two-pack Wattyl Red Ochre with curved-block open shelving and drop-dead gorgeous, custom-made, solid Tassie oak handles by Auburn Woodturning. As you’ll see, this was a recurring theme.
For the kitchen (and vanities, too) he used Tassie oak veneer with the grain aligned vertically and more of those Tassie oak handles. To maintain a consistent look and work around the plumbing, all the doors below the sink were turned into ergonomically efficient drawers.
The Fisher & Paykel 90-cm freestanding dual-fuel oven/stove was anchored into the picture by using a concealed rangehood in white two-pack and framing it between the windows. A Bosch Series 6 60-cm dishwasher is also fully integrated into the cabinetry. The benchtops are now graced with 20-mm-thick Greek marble: now the perfect place to whip up a feast fit for the gods. And what the gods don’t eat goes straight into the Lincoln Sentry three-liner bin system. Every last detail has been meticulously planned and executed, right down to the ABI Interiors Elysian commercial pull-out kitchen mixer in brushed brass. Washing up never felt this good.
In the ensuite to the main bathroom, there’s more of that Greek marble for the benchtops inset with concrete basins by ARC complemented by an ABI Interiors Elysian mixer spout set. The outer panels of the handsome mirrored shaving cabinets feature more Tassie oak veneer.
In the study, the desktop has a Tassie oak veneer with a solid-timber edge, with a solid timber floating shelf and two-pack painted ribbing above.
Last but by no means least, is the luxuriously appointed laundry. The Laminex melamine doors and panels in White Linen are adorned with solid half-moon Tassie oak handles by Auburn Woodturning. There’s a timber veneer shelf with a solid edging, and a timber hanging rod below the overhead cabinets. The mixer tap is in brushed brass by ABI Interiors. No wash-day blues here.
We did mention problems with installation and, indeed, there were. Being an older house, some of the walls were out of plumb. So, it was up to our ingenious team to use their wits to hide this with the cabinetry. It’s amazing to watch them apply their experience and make the problems virtually disappear, although the open plan layout caused some angst. For example, the ribbing in the study somehow had to match up the top of the kitchen hob. Finally, being a sloping site with the home split over three levels, the boys certainly got their steps up over the course of the installation. No gym workout required during this job.
As you know, Natalie was pregnant during the renovation process. It’s just as well, then, that she and Anthony moved out for the eight weeks it took for the structural works. And to prove how good a project manager she really is, the couple welcomed their adorable Daisy just as the whole renovation process finished and it was time to move back home: perfect nesting!
The home is now a mid-century modern dream for this happy threesome, making the perfect setting for all the handmade furniture they brought from the Philippines, and the art they’ve collected from their worldwide travels. There’s now even a place for all of their cook books in the ideal kitchen to put them to use. But, perhaps, we should leave the last words to Natalie herself.
As she told us recently, ‘SpaceCraft “got” what we were trying to achieve and we felt a great deal of confidence the team would deliver, and deliver they did. A big shout-out needs to go to the installation team members who did an amazing job dealing with all the wonky angles. We are thrilled with the end result and get many comments on the joinery from visitors, especially the pink cupboards. We have already recommended SpaceCraft to friends and we can confidently say the quality of the joinery and craftsmanship speaks for itself. The attention to detail is on point.’