The art of conversational living – Mornington Peninsula

Creative people yearn for environments that inspire, sparking conversations that lead to inspiration. Such was the brief for Paul’s Place; a home that welcomes both work and play, blurring the line that divides them and facilitating the creation of art.
The originally up-cycled and relocated 1950s house has been completely renovated to its present utilitarian form, with features that hint to the accomplished script writer and producer residing there. Hidden among the coastal tea trees and banksias of Rye, a seaside town on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia, known for its rugged coastline and calming bay.
The house still maintains its weatherboard facade that plays tribute to its roots. Although a long way from the original dark box-like layout, interior designer Nicole Rutherford from The Stylesmiths, “has been able to retain and incorporate elements of the past in a completely modern way,” says Paul, the proud owner.
A desire to harness childhood nostalgia of constant dinner parties and friends, meant the new configuration called for an open plan design. Uninterrupted flow between areas of congregation was a must for Paul as he recalls, “our family home was the social hub for our community and I wanted to create a space that could be the same.” Hence, the kitchen was shifted to create more room and the third bedroom was repurposed to achieve a conversational living area that continues onto the backyard deck which straddles the grassy, treed knoll. A sense of identity is preserved in each space, but with no adherence to any one style, colour or texture, the home encourages visitors to discover everything on offer.
By purposefully facing furniture inwards and dismissing the need for a television, the lounge room becomes a comfortable place to relax and catch up. Centered around a wood fire and surrounded by piles of books, one can only but feel a sense of calm. The instantaneous gratitude associated with tech and screens, is replaced with the steady movement and intricate composition of nature viewed through large, north-east facing windows.
It would be impossible not to mention here, the golden hue chosen for the living room walls that is every bit as bold as the art layered on top. Like a warm hug that wraps itself around the heart of Paul’s inspiration corner, the rich amber walls elevate the space and delineate the living zones.
The house is a physical manifestation of Paul’s love to observe, write and entertain, the combination of materials perfectly balanced to create a versatility that suits any audience. Vibrant green velvet and grey plush upholstery invite cosy dialogue, contrasted with wooden picnic-style benches that tastefully bring outside, in. The kitchen, bathed in natural light takes its inspiration from the local terrain in both materiality and colour palette, which is a bold choice, yet at one with its setting.
The hero for our client Paul is the inside/outside breakfast bar. Overcoming a slightly restricted kitchen space, the hydraulic awning window opens to the outside porch with stools on both sides. This is where Paul starts every morning, gravitating to enjoy the sunshine and endless connection with nature.
Paul’s Place was completed the beginning of 2020, perfect for COVID lockdown – An ideal time to adore and revel in his new home, moulded to be “distinctly mine, shoes off and feet up, ready to relax, entertain or be creative.”

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