Tucked away in a cul-de-sac in Melbourne’s northern suburb of Northcote, Maxwell house is a high-tech eco-friendly home built for a young family of 5, plus their dog Otto, a miniature schnauzer. The Maxwell residence rethinks traditional suburban dwelling by allowing the occupants to indulge in a deeper connection with nature via Biophilic design. From internal courtyards to large windows, the well-balanced home centres around wellbeing and enriching the families’ health.
A collaborative effort between architectural practice Melbourne Design Studios, the clients and interiors by The Stylesmiths, the house is a contemporary triumph completed in 2020. Split over 2 levels and consisting of 4 bedrooms, 2 internal courtyards, pool, fireplace and large living areas, Maxwell home is the embodiment of healthy and sustainable living.
The Stylesmiths were handed a blank canvas, to create an interior that worked in harmony from where the architects left off, by respecting the original values and balancing robust materials such as polished concrete floors, American oak paneling, large windows and slate. Maxwell house, also known as Biophilia-Slate Home, won Best Sustainable Design in Australia, Design Matters Award and is an NABD winner, recognised widely for its sustainable and innovative design.
Building on the original brief – to create a family home that inspires, relaxes and calms busy minds, with beautifully crafted spaces, natural materials and an endless dialogue with nature. Each space offers intimate views and engagement with natural surroundings and vegetation, be it from courtyards, gardens, green roofs, or planters. Natural light, ventilation and direct sunlight gives a profound sense of seasonal rhythms, blurring the reality of the suburban setting.
With that, The Stylesmiths were set to embark on an interior design journey that was entered around “wellbeing”. Timber warms the spaces throughout creating contrasts against the dark stone, terrazzo, brickwork, marble and glazing. Texture played a vital role in enhancing the interior material palette. Through the use of soft furnishings, textures were selected based on their tactility – boucle fabrics, hand woven rugs, felt folded cushions, chunky weaves and wallpaper. Tactility helped form an emotional response to each room though-out the home.
Our clients were open to exploring new ideas – and were particularly keen to support local home-grown design, so many of the pieces throughout the home are sourced and manufactured locally. Lead designer Silvia Roldan (the Stylesmiths) believes that the use of colour which has been applied in every room is key to creating calming spaces that are warm and inviting. Thought the home the colour palette continues to develop as you move throughout the house allowing for unexpected surprises in every room.
Photographs – Fiona Susanto