Victorian Sensibility Meets Contemporary Sophistication in Melbourne's Matlock House

The Stylesmiths
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Located in Camberwell, a leafy suburb of Melbourne, Australia, Matlock House is a 19th century Victorian weatherboard house that has recently been renovated to reflect the owners’ evolving family dynamics and eclectic taste.

Eight years since the last renovation, the family decided that it was about time to replace the kid-friendly, subdued interiors with a bolder, more idiosyncratic sensibility. Inspired by their admiration for American-Italian model Carmen Dell’Orefice’s flamboyantly chic New York apartment and eager to showcase their collected artwork of sentimental value, the house's owners entrusted interior designer Danielle Brustman from Australian studio The Stylesmiths to inject the flair, colour and sophistication that embodies their personality.

Brustman’s design is centered on an eclectic colour palette that inspired by and complementary to the family’s idiosyncratic poster and print collection, personalised for each room and accompanied by the use of re-purposed vintage furniture and distinct finishes. This approach harks back to the aesthetics of Victorian interiors, which revelled in different colours and textures according to the room’s use, a variety of often modified, furniture styles and a plethora of ornamental objects that reflected the owner's interests, reinterpreted for this project through a contemporary lens of modern elegance.

Each room is treated with each own customized combination of hues comprised of soft, muted, pastel pinks or blues as base tones and more intense, contrasting tones such as deep green, navy, black, gold and magenta, artfully layered via furnishings, wallpaper and surface treatments. This approach, which entailed meticulously testing different swatches of colours and materials throughout the house before finalizing the selection, ensures that despite each space sporting a distinct feel and atmosphere, there is an overall aesthetic harmony.

In the living area, the predominant base tone is a soft sky-blue, invigorated by the lush, bottle-green velvet of the re-upholstered Art Deco armchairs in the lounge and the Black Japan lacquer of the dining table in the next room, refashioned with a black glass table top and accompanied by chairs and other furniture pieces with matching hues. Meanwhile the restrained use of gold, featured in a stunning wallpaper design in the living room as well as in furniture finishes such as knobs and supporting frames, gives an extra dash of pizzazz.

For the master bedroom, the use of pastel pink creates a calming ambience which is tempered, as before, by a green velvet armchair and dark wood finishes, while a more neutral, off-white tone in the family room is counterbalanced by the warmth of the tan leather sofa, the vibrancy of a magenta armchair and the natural hues of timber tables, chairs and stools. Meanwhile, the armchair's magenta is picked up in the private areas by a carpet of equal exuberance which disrupts the sleek floorboards of dark timber that dominate the rest of the interiors.

The designers’ skillful and inventive use of colour has not gone unnoticed, and justly The Stylesmiths’ project is a finalist in the 2018 Dulux Colour Awards, which includes entries from across Australia and New Zealand, in the Single Residential Interior category.

Victorian Sensibility Meets Contemporary Sophistication in Melbourne's Matlock House