The name Doherty has become synonymous with clean, modern and playful interiors and you don’t have to be completely submerged in the industry to have come across interior designer Mardi Doherty’s work. We never tire of seeing new projects by Doherty Design Studio colourfully featured in publications time and time again.
Until recently Mardi Doherty was one part of award winning Doherty-Lynch Design Studio, prior to the partnership Mardi spent the earlier part of her career working in London for the Conran Design Group and David Collins Architecture. Together with her loyal design team, Mardi has worked across the board on residential, corporate and retail fit outs. In the short amount of time since starting Doherty Design Studio, the design firm has developed a reputation for its intuitive approach. Often crafting bespoke joinery and concocting unique colour palates to express each project’s individuality, such a distinctive style has been achieved through collaborating wherever possible with clients, cabinet makers, graphic designers, engineers and architects.
We love revisiting Doherty Design Studio homes, just when we think we have noticed every detail there is something new to discover often geometric in nature. Their work is one of those rare examples of fun and elegance marrying perfectly.
This single level brick home located in Melbourne’s leafy residential suburb of Camberwell has been occupied by its clients for 12 years and although clearly loved (who wouldn’t love an original Roy Grounds home? See our friend and owner of Grace boutique, Georgia Danos' house featured on TDF) it had started to lack the flow that we all know is necessary for a maturing young family. Streamlining the space was the initial design challenge as well as creating defined areas to just sit and entertain or enjoy the home. Secondly, if indeed there is ever a downside to owning an iconic piece of architecture it was in this case a of lack natural light, with the clients craving a stronger connection to the outdoors.
Subtle and modernist play on colour and shapes are a fine nod to iconic architect Sir Roy Ground who originally designed this Camberwell home. Custom concrete slab covers the kitchen benches and similar raw materials like bluestone flow through the living areas into the hallway. Glowing amber glass touches accent the kitchen window frames, a playful connection to the outdoors.
Hexagonal tiled splashback and subtle geometric details on the kitchen joinery are all a part of the Doherty trademark style.
Sheet corked flooring mimicking a herringbone pattern unites the kitchen, laundry, pantry and study and works together with the unique combination of materials like the Earth Terrazzo by Fibonacci Stone and brass edged custom island bench adding rich layers and depth, all executed with the elegance of Doherty Studio's particular touch.
The clients already had a great collection of vintage accessories eclectic and tasteful, complimenting the unique yellow highlights and bluestone touches around the home, it is clear the clients had a strong input when it came time for choosing surfaces and tones.
Again, amber glass compliments the warm timber tones and the many hues of yellow. Bell Jar Pendant from Niche Modern.
Herringbone flooring continues into the study where we spot more custom storage, this time made from hoop pine ply. Study chair by Luke Furniture, Mingus Pendant from Cult Design. Custom made drawers in Creed by Dulux.
We managed to squeeze in a quick chat to Mardi Doherty about this home, what to look out for next from Doherty Design Studio, art, design, dream collaborations and high jumping!
We love your use of colour, injecting so much personality into homes. In this home yellow tones from brass to amber feature throughout, what are your tips on choosing a feature colour?
We usually choose a colour based on our clients personality, and what will work in their surroundings. A lot of clients are nervous about using colour but end up loving it when their project is completed. When choosing a feature colour we suggest selecting one that resonates with and conjures up good memories. For example – I don’t like pale mint green as it reminds me of the room I was sent to at boarding school for being disruptive in class!
We have to ask about the incredible island bench what was your inspiration?
Our inspiration for this was our client and the positioning of the bench in the space. Due to the re-orientation of the kitchen, the island bench is now visible from the hallway, so we aimed to create a lovely piece of joinery rather than a big block for the island bench. We considered the requirements, ideas, and idiosyncrasies of the client, and designed the bench to have a lovely combination of blackbutt, terrazzo tiles, brass edging and black steel.
Your favourite part of the finished project?
I really love the warm tones in this home, and in particular the amber glass to the window in the kitchen. It injects the most beautiful light into kitchen when the sun is shining in.
Working on a home originally designed by Roy Grounds must have been an honour. Who is an iconic architect who's homes you would love to work on?
It was an honour designing for a home designed by Roy Grounds, and I dream of working on a home by Holgar & Holgar, that would be amazing!
What are some projects you have on the horizon that we should keep an eye out for?
We’re currently working on a large renovation to a home originally designed by McGlashan Everist in Mt Eliza, and a spice shop in The Strand, Sydney.
Your Instagram account is full of trips to art galleries and small shops around Melbourne, are there any Australian or international artists and designers are you following at the moment?
We’re loving the photography of Meg Cowell, represented by Flinders Lane Gallery, her images are hauntingly beautiful. Internationally I can’t resist the work of Jeff Koons, and am planning to see his Retrospective exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in 2015.
If you weren't an interior designer you would be…
A retired national high jumper who just gets massages every day!
It's Open House in Melbourne this weekend, which building in Melbourne have you always been wanting to peek into?
There is an incredible Holgar & Holgar designed home in St Georges Road Toorak that I have admired since my 20’s (and I’ve taken many diversions to gaze at it). I was lucky enough to see inside it earlier this year – it literally took my breath away!
PHOTOGRAPHY: Armelle Habib