Home Tour | Garage House by Shareen Joel

  • Shareen Joel’s penchant for honest materials, classic proportions and exquisite craftsmanship is revealed in her Garage House project, a freestanding pavilion accompanying an existing holiday home.

    Thirty years in the Melbourne design scene has afforded Shareen Joel a reputation for design that’s “explorative while remaining steeped in longevity”. Shareen’s portfolio of retail and commercial projects is supplemented by an expanding portfolio of residential projects – some residing in the city, others on the coast. Her most recent residential project lies on the Mornington Peninsula and is equal parts elegant and casual. What started out as just a garage and pool to accompany the clients’ main house has turned into a pavilion-style home with living amenities and ample room to entertain.

    The pavilion opens up fully to the outdoors through operable glass doors and windows. In the open-plan living-dining-kitchen space, Fredericia J39 chairs surround the client’s vintage Knoll Tulip Saarinen dining table. An Artemide Aggregato Saliscendi Cono Piccolo pendant hangs above the dining table. A B&B Italia Tufty-Time sofa and Husk outdoor armchair rest upon a muted-grey rug, and custom-finished terracotta-tiled floors generate a raw, coastal feel. Artwork on kitchen shelving (left to right): Jake Walker, Bronte Leighton-Dore, unknown (vintage) and Clara Adolphs.

    Versatility and Simplicity

    “A lot of hard work went into making this home look simple,” Shareen says. “It can be utilised in so many different ways and never seems to look exactly the same; it’s full of surprises.”

    The design and layout are centred around family life. The open-plan living-dining-kitchen space means that furniture and objects can be easily re-arranged to cater for a vast range of activities. A clever use of said space, Shareen has opted for a single kitchenette-style bench that expands the entire length of the back wall, ensuring occupants are never closed off from one another.

    Utility and Robustness

    Shareen describes the home’s material palette as “utilitarian” and “robust”, where functionality takes precedence, followed closely by aesthetics. Being by the beach, hard-wearing, easy-to-clean floors were a requirement. Terracotta tiles met this criterion while blurring the line between inside and outside (an effect compounded by fully operable glass doors and windows). With this as her base, Shareen selected timber to soften, marble to refine and art to enliven.

    Artwork on back wall by Laura Jones.

    The hero of the entire project, the garage, is where the clients display their covetable cars. Custom-made automotive sheets line the floor underneath the cars to prevent damage to the terracotta-tiled floors. In the foreground, chairs (including the Fredericia Spanish chair and Cappellini Thinking Man’s chair) and HAY Mags Soft sofas see the space double as a casual sitting area. White artwork by Huseyin Sami; artwork on the cabinet by Richard Lewer.

    Garage House

    The client’s cars are in themselves a work of art, hence, the emphasis on the garage. The unconventional, integrated layout of the garage, whereby the furniture and cars sit side-by-side, is intended to isolate the cars from their functional purpose and represent them as ornamental objects designed to be admired from a close-up. Making the garage accessible from multiple points streamlines the entire experience.

    The only bedroom is fitted with walls clad in timber slats. The space features the Nemo Lampe De Marseille wall light, Moroso Net side table and Flos Piani table lamp.

    The bedroom opens into an ensuite with a shower clad in silver zellige tiles.

    Family activity can easily transition from indoors to outdoors, where a swimming pool is met by a spacious garden and ample spots to perch.

    During the summer, the family can bask in the sun at the outdoor table or sink into one of the butterfly chairs. The outdoor fireplace warms the terrace when the weather starts to cool down.

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