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Home Tour | Terrace House by Jolson

The kitchen features a hand-cut mix of bush-hammered and honed limestone laid in different formats and slab sizes.

An inner-city terrace home evolves to create a tangible connection to light and nature through a seamless dialogue between architecture, interiors and landscape.

A client’s aspiration to downsize and find a home that mediated between contemporary design and their eclectic sensibility began when they were captivated by an old Victorian terrace’s sanctuary-like garden described as a ‘wonderland’.

The response by Jolson Architecture and Interiors has resulted in a dwelling that melds the organic and linear, focusing purely on natural light while connecting with nature. This creates a place of solitude and security within a dense urban environment.

The open cook’s kitchen is anchored by an AGA stove, creating a dialogue between modern and traditional.

Cassina 412 Cab Chair

The adjoining open dining area features Cassina 412 Cab dining chairs.

When designing Terrace House, the experiential element for their client was a priority for Jolson and manifests in details throughout the home. The walls either chamfer or curve, celebrating the way natural light moves about the house and interacts with it, creating shadows.

From street level, a three-storey sheet of glass reveals a polished plaster staircase that creates a sculptural gesture as it spirals its way through the home and around the lift. Jolson increased the height of the balustrade, creating a seamless mix of privacy and natural light while enabling the owners to have visibility and engage with the plane trees outside.

The house revolves around a giant sculptural fig tree. The ground floor kitchen and living room are built around it, while views of the beautifully formed trunk are permitted from the lower levels. The open cook’s kitchen is anchored by an AGA stove, creating a dialogue between modern and traditional, where a hand-cut mix of bush-hammered and honed limestone has been laid in different formats and slab sizes, creating a datum where join lines line up with the windows, crafting a careful interplay of geometry through the home. “There’s a contemporary dialogue in this home, focussing around the client’s brief with a contemporary, meticulous attention to detail,” Jolson principal Stephen Jolson says.

Concealed screens printed with large-scale artwork by Italian photographer Massimo Listri enable the kitchen to be closed off from the adjoining living room, creating flexible spaces that open to a large terrace  ‘suspended’ in the garden. Seasonal landscape colours are reflected in interiors through materiality, joinery, fabric and furnishing colours pulled from outside to in. “We designed the garden ourselves,” Stephen says. “It’s all about transparency of light, changing seasons and pops of colour and how the living garden influences the interior feeling of a space.”

A study for each of the couple features on the lower level. A glass oculus in the terrace above allows light into the study below, where a polished plaster ceiling curves up into it. At the same time, octagonal-sided windows and surrounding green foliage give the room a terrarium-like effect. Jolson also designed and built a stream that wraps around the room with a fish-filled pond at either end, refracting light at night as it reflects on the ceiling, creating a ‘kinetic’ feel. “It’s sensory and meditative, using water to calm the senses,” Stephen says. 

Gervasoni Ghost 05 Armchair

Seasonal landscape colours are reflected in the interiors, including the Gervasoni Loll sofa, Ghost armchairs and Brick side tables, and the Henge coffee tables.

Paola Lenti Bistrò Parasol

The living room opens to a large terrace that is ‘suspended’ in the garden. The space features the Ego Paris Extrados dining table and Paola Lenti Bistrò parasol.

The other study offers a feminine counter-balance, overlooking the garden, with doors opening to a terrace where a playful swing is suspended from the branches of the giant fig tree.  Guest bedrooms, a gym and a TV and library nook for the couple to enjoy are also on this level, along with a home cinema and wide, gallery-like hallways for art. 

On the top floor, in the master bedroom and bathroom, Jolson conceptualised a private space with floor-to-ceiling glass and a surrounding 1.7-metre wall outside the window line with hanging gardens and a terrace, enhancing the residents’ connection to nature. 

“This house will evolve as the landscape forms part of the dialogue between architecture, interiors and landscape over the coming years,” Stephen says. “For us, it’s important to understand where the work sits in that sense of time.”

Herman Miller Eames Time Life Executive Chair
Edra Standard Sofa

An oculus in the terrace above allows light into the study below, containing the Cassina Ventaglio table, Herman Miller Eames Executive chair, Edra Standard sofa and Henge S-R coffee table. Octagonal-sided windows and surrounding green foliage give the room a terrarium-like effect.

The polished plaster staircase creates a sculptural gesture as it spirals its way through the home, winding around the lift.

Maxalto Crono Swivel Armchair

On the top floor, the master bedroom that opens to a private terrace contains the Poltrona Frau Esedra ottoman, Maxalto Crono armchair and Glas Italia Hub Bistrot table.

Jolson conceptualised a private space for the master suite with floor-to-ceiling glass and a surrounding seven-metre wall outside the window line with hanging gardens and terrace, enhancing the residents’ connection to nature.

From street level, a three-storey sheet of glass reveals the polished plaster staircase that creates a sculptural gesture as it spirals its way through the home.

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