Recently I spent a wonderful afternoon attending Open Houses 2013. This is a brilliant concept being the major fundraiser for St Joseph’s Primary School in the Melbourne’s leafy suburb of Hawthorn. Now in its 34th year, 5 outstanding homes were open for viewing. As an interior designer, it is a wonderful opportunity to experience the design diversity of this year’s selection. Sprinkled in close proximity across Richmond, Kew and Hawthorn the properties included:
- Orb House. A strikingly bold transparent house by architect Bojan Simic, 2009. news.domain.com.au/photogallery/domain/the-orb-house-kew
Climbing the white stairs through the garden, the visitor is invited into the light, airy spaces perched above street level. Using large expanses of frameless glass on the facade, the house is surprising private centered around a central courtyard.A curved wall running the length of the house and dividing entertainment areas from private spaces, softens any hard geometry. This house has energy-efficient infrastructure with 60kW of solar power generated daily, water tanks and of course energy-efficient glass!
- Barkers Road, East Hawthorn A modern 6+ star environmental family home. Double glazed windows and Hebel block construction ensures thermal comfort year round. The house generates its own power needs via solar panels and uses tank water from 75,000 litre capacity tanks.Love the veggie patch and the chicken coop!
- Marymeade, Hawthorn A grand mansion in the ‘modern Italian’ style built in the heady days of 1880s. Designed by renowned architects Reed,Henderson and Smart, the two storey house features stained glass windows, mahogany staircase, formal reception and entertaining areas. Imported Waterford crystal chandeliers match fine traditional furniture and windows furnishings laden with heavy swags and tails.
- Huntingtower, Hawthorn A 1800s boom period grand residence by architect John Beswicke with a 3 storey viewing tower.Originally home to Salvation Army founder, Herbert Booth, it is now home to interior designer Caecillia Potter.This home has an eclectic personality punctuated with a mixture of modern designer furniture and 18th century fixtures such as the French gilt chandelier in the dining room. Packed with personality, my favorite space was the fun powder room with striped pink and orange walls and a multitude of white ceramic deer heads.
- Rowena Parade, Richmond My favourite of the day, this modern, luxury home over 4 levels is accessed via a narrow lane way. Designed by Neil Architecture and soon to be featured on Grand Designs Australia, the design features clever detailing and rooftop 360 degree city views. A handsome palette of strong dark greys, concrete, green and the warmth of timber give this home a welcoming character. Environmentally speaking, the large sliding windows and doors open up to allow breezes cooled over the outside pool to penetrate the interior. 10,000 litre water tanks and northern orientation provide additional environmental assets. Circular glass windows cut into the concrete living room floor deliver shafts of natural light in the billiard room below. This home has everything you could imagine including a lift, home cinema, 1500 wine cellar, gym, library and study discretely catered for on this 442sqm.
I had a wonderful afternoon for $40 and enjoyed the delightful complimentary afternoon tea provided. Yes I’ll be back next year!!