Buying a house that you have never seen, in another hemisphere, during the middle of the night is not how you would expect to find your family home. Living in London’s Regent Park at the time, Kim and Peter De Winter and their three children relied upon family in Melbourne to give the seal of approval for the Toorak house that they now call home some 5 years later.
PHOTOGRAPHY Toby Scott
WORDS & STYLING Sian MacPherson
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Living in the home for 18 months after their return to Melbourne helped to ‘get a feel’ for how they wanted to use the space before enlisting the help of designer Shareen Joel with the renovations. Charged with the brief of opening the home up and tying in the modern renovation with the old Georgian style building, Joel took her design cues from the streets of Milan. Referencing the older style buildings with their smaller windows and rendered walls on the upper levels and the contemporary steel framed large panels of glass on street level, Joel successfully melded the old with the new.
Arguably the most stunning aspect to Joel’s design is the installation of the full height arch steel framed window that immediately draws the eye upon entering the home. Opening on a centre pivot and leading out to the back garden, the window effectively creates a feeling of light, space and modernity to the interior. Joel designed a space that hides all the machinations of a working kitchen behind floor to ceiling cupboards whilst the 4 metre long island bench made of black steel with a granite insert, successfully anchors the room and mimics the dark tiled pool that lies beyond the glass walls.
Avid art collectors, the De Winters have built an extensive collection of works and European furniture that have travelled the world and have their own stories to share. The red Nelson Coconut chair and Abby McCulloch artwork pack a colourful punch to the kitchen and living area’s bright interior. In stark contrast to this bright space, the formal living room with charcoal painted walls and silver curtains coupled with a black velvet Edra sofa and Patricia Urquiola Fat Fat tables creates a warm, smouldering space that welcomes intimate conversation.
As an interior designer Kim knew how she wanted the home to look and feel and has successfully created a home that caters to the needs of a busy family. A successful combination of modern Italian designer pieces with antiques, modern art and a mix of textures and patterns ensures that this home is the sum of its owners unique experiences of the world.