Over 2 years ago I met with a prospective client regarding their new build construction in Mosman. This initial chat was an informal meet and greet that lasted nearly 4 hours! I was instantly taken with this client and the course they had taken to build a truly unique Sydney home.
The project was a large undertaking by anyone’s standards, but having two previous projects under their belts, our clients were ready to take on their dream home. Designed by prestigious international architects SAOTA whose work I had long admired, in joint venture with a local project architect TKD Architects, who in their own right had an impressive pedigree, this collaborating consultant team amounted well into double figures. I was intrigued to learn that our client wanted to add an Interior Designer to the mix. She had me at ‘hello’ . . .
Mosman House showcases a strong, robust architectural character that cleverly expresses and celebrates its materiality. Our brief was to soften the interiors of this very strong, masculine, concrete structure, by adding warmth to a family home that was to be at once nurturing and casual with sophisticated undertones, but not pretentious or intimidating. Originally from Melbourne, our clients’ only stipulation was that we find the perfect place for a Christopher Boots light somewhere in her new home!
Mosman House sits high on a hill overlooking the heads out to the South Pacific Ocean. The layering and intersection of each floor enables the house to not only manage the steep slope but use it positively to create generous, lofty, light-filled, double-volume spaces. The resulting views are spectacular and influence every room. The soft grey of the concrete further highlights the stunning outlook, providing the perfect backdrop for our introduction of finishes and colour palette.
There is no question that concrete is the hero of this project. Traditionally a finish that can feel cold, our response was to add layers of texture to soften the interior. We played with the contrasts of raw architectural elements and luxurious finishes, juxtaposing concrete and brass, timber and stone, leather and linen, ever-increasing our client’s emotional connection to the spaces.
Striking the perfect balance between strong architecture and softer warmer finishes influenced everything from bathroom fittings to joinery details to soft furnishings. The masculine personality of the architecture called for this tension in the interiors which gives the interior a feminine voice, allowing it to stand proudly beside – not above nor beneath – the architecture.
Mosman House freely and confidently explores tactility. As you move throughout the spaces you are taken on a real sensory journey – one that is as tactile as it is visual. Guests are encouraged to remove their shoes and consciously press their bare feet into the natural stone foundation beneath them, and to run their hands across the mixed surfaces to truly feel the story of the finishes and furnishings, at once intimately connecting to the otherwise vast spaces around them.
The design palette is neutral, relying on textures rather than colours to create warmth and personality. The introduction of colour was considered and restrained, and features as a slightly more intense jewel tone mirroring the blue of the ocean seen from Mosman House at our clients’ particularly favourite moment of the day.
The architectural volumes through the house are impressive, and conducive to entertaining, although we felt it important to create some quieter nurturing spaces for family or individual time. These areas had smaller scaled furniture and layers of texture; beautiful drapes against solid granite slabs; leather and linen upholstery and silk rugs underfoot. The house swallowed almost everything put into it and most furniture items ran the risk of being inconsequential. We responded by custom designing most of the key furniture pieces. Our client being so hands-on informed every single decision on every finish, colour, fabric sample and veneer selection.
Every element of Mosman House has been considered, designed, and constructed true to the brief and original vision. It was the most rewarding result.
A project of this scale required the talents and input of every member of the AKD team, affirming the traditional proverb that it really does take a village!
All images via ©Alexandra Kidd Design.