Project Title // Alma Road residence
Location // Alma Road, St Kilda / Melbourne, Australia
Design Practice // Hecker Phelan & Guthrie in association with BURO Architects and Nonda Katsalidis
Size // 650 square metres (approx)
Time to Complete // 12 months
Interior Architect // Kerry Phelan
Project Design Team // Kerry Phelan, Hamish Guthrie, Paul Hecker, Brooke Thorn
Victorian Mansions of the 1800’s are soft points amongst designers and architects. The idea of striping down such an interior to see it naked as it was originally intended and retaining original elements has a sexiness and sensitivity to it that inspires you. This 650sqm residence is a joy of these factors. The Alma Road project was brought to completion by Australian based design practice Hecker Phelan & Guthrie (Paul Hecker, Kerry Phelan & Hamish Guthrie) in association with Buro Architects and Nonda Katsalidis. Kerry Phelan designed the interior architecture. The collaboration was an outcome of how we believe residences such as this one should be successfully treated. With compassion, respect and boldness.
The main interior finishes are retained to the small number of three. Dark wooden floors creating modernity, marble expressing nostalgia/formality and finally a lighter reddish wood of what seems like iroko that brings out warmth and control. These finishes are grouped together throughout the residence and each one stands out for what it expresses. There is a unity amongst them letting the naked eye appreciate the surrounding ceiling details of the structure and other elements that have a primary importance to the structure.
The historic elements are retained throughout which make you appreciate the mansion and its history. This is of a prime importance to sensitive residences such as this one. The use of original fixtures that are reincorporated within the interior is a necessity to buildings that have such a strong historical identity. In the Alma residence the fixtures are glamed up through grand fire places and mirrors on paneled doors transferring a majestic feel to the interior.
All of these interior spaces have different functions; hence in this residence the bright rooms are those which host the family life and every day commotion such as the kitchen. The spaces that are for lounging and relaxing have darker colors and atmospheric finishes that bring out these essences. The master bedroom is left bare with a painted off white color throughout expressing brightness and comfort. This makes the viewer really appreciate the detailing of the room and the grandness of its size, which is emphasized even more by the nudity of the interior. The sole entrance of color is represented through the curtains, which enhance the atmospheric feel of it.
All of the decorated elements throughout are balanced with order and control. There are furniture pieces which are traditional but controlled through the fabric or their positioning In front of a modern table for example. These details make you appreciate and notice the story of the walls that this residence consists of; nothing makes you forget the importance of old times and the recyclable continuation of the respect of the old to host the new.
All in all this residence has been renovated giving a prime importance to the fixed elements and sensitivity to the word history and landmark. In this type of renovation the following statement determines a successful project, from our point of sentimental views..50 years down the line when this mansion will be striped naked again we can happily say that its designer will be able to appreciate its sexiness and its historic importance.