Balgownie House renovation

Textural materials, bright light-filled spaces and an openness to the great outdoors will always be a beloved signature of Australian interiors. When conceiving the interiors of the Balgownie House, we were drawn to the concepts of timelessness, tranquility and escape. Balgownie House embodies the client’s combined passions for a relaxed lifestyle, art and colour. A multi award winning home, the Balgownie House is an all time favourite of mine and one that embodies my passion for creating homes that nurtures the spirit.

When I first visited the Balgownie House, I was immediately drawn to the beautiful natural light, it’s wonderful sense of space and beautiful architectural detailing. These were my starting points, to retain and through rigorous space planning, enhance what the home already had. It was obvious from the visual chaos being created that installing custom joinery would solve a lot of the problems in the space and that’s my starting point.

The owners had a number of issues with the space that they wanted to fixed. The wanted uninterrupted views from each window, they wanted more comfortable flooring, they wanted colour and they wanted a space that made sense. My first impressions were they were completely over the creaminess of the space! It was utterly suffocating, the layering of all that cream! It was time to introduce materials and colours that enhanced rather than dragged down the immense beauty that was hiding underneath.

I felt that where the dining area and lounge area were located in relation to other spaces in the home made total sense. They just needed help in how each of the spaces would work the best and that’s where my old buddy functionality comes into play.

3 October 2021

Kathryn Trentini

3 October 2021

Designers Australia 2021 Awards
Shortlisted – Place

IDA Design Awards 2020
Silver Winner Interior Design Home Decor

MUSE Design Awards 2020
Silver Winner Interior Design Renovation

International Design & Architecture Awards 2020
Shortlisted Best Interior Design Scheme Asia Pacific

There were a couple of problems with the lounge area that I could see when I first started working on the Balgownie House. The original layout of the lounge area was less than ideal; the TV was dominating how the space was set up  and the owners either had to have the curtains completely open to bring in the natural light or completely closed to watch TV.

The TV was orientating everything in this room away from the views to the back yard and giving the space only one purpose. Luckily, the hallway was a generous width, so to create better connection and provide this space with more purpose than the TV, new custom joinery housing the TV was tucked into the hallway with sliding doors to hide the TV away when it’s not in use. To provide relief, we installed open shelving at the other end of the unit as you enter the bedrooms.

The sheer curtains provide the perfect balance needed to allow in all of that beautiful natural light and still allow easily TV viewing during the day if required. Tucked in behind those sheers, we also removed all of the windows and installed a combination of louvred and fixed windows to provide uninterrupted views whilst improving air flow.  To top it off, we installed a combination of lighting that allows the owners to set the right tone and THAT green sofa that everyone talks about injects just the right amount of colour to the space. I have to say I was utterly nervous about proposing the green sofa but stoked that they both immediately loved it!

I think these two before shots below show the transformation the best. The confusion surrounding how to best use the space is evident, yet they also show just how utterly fabulous the room could be! The transoms, the decorative cornices and the expanse of glazing were all areas I could draw out from under the vastness of cream.

Traffic flow in a long narrow space is critical as is clearances around furniture. To provide character and solve these problems, we opted to install a banquette and repurpose the dining table. Yes, that dining table that so many of you have asked about is an original table belonging to the home owners family for generations that we took apart and put back together again with a new custom leg. It’s divine and better than anything I could have imagined! The patina from generations gathering, eating, laughing, bickering, crying and ultimately connecting withone another is something really special.  I wanted to honor its history and provide it with renewed life. I think it turned out pretty OK.

Calm is achieved overall in these two spaces through good space planning, the use of built-in custom elements and a simplicity to the decorative elements. That doesn’t mean the  personality of the homeowners is wiped out of the space. Those carvings were originally hanging in the entry hall of the home and that armchair was recovered and restored and both add such character to the space.

There was a lot to love about the bedrooms – the high ceilings, the decorative mouldings, plantations shutters were already installed and new carpet had been laid. Those bay windows were screaming out for a seat and adding colour and pattern in the right way would make a world of difference. I love how the colours and patterns combine to instill just the right amount of interest whilst the base palette ensures calm prevails. After all, they’re bedrooms!

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