Sam & Emma Coverdale
Sam and Emma Coverdale found the perfect home to launch their wine business on the Mornington Peninsula. As an experienced winemaker, Sam has gained a strong sense of wine from working in Australia, Spain, Italy and France. In 2006, Sam and Emma established Polperro by Even Keel, with the view of creating drinkable, balanced and elegant wines that continue to interest beyond the first glass.
The story behind the design
“I’d always loved the Mornington Peninsula,” says Emma, who even before she met winemaker Sam, had visions of one day owning a restaurant and vineyard in Red Hill. When the pair began the journey of moving states, Emma had the perfect spot in mind. “I said to Sam, ‘I’ve got the answer. There’s the most beautiful region in a cool climate, it’s on the surf and it’s an hour from the most stylish city in the country. You’re going to love it’.” The next challenge the couple faced was transforming a run-down restaurant into an interior that welcomed guests and reflected their personality and brand.
Hecker Guthrie are so beautiful, classy and stylish, yet understated in the way they execute.
Sam and Emma began a thorough search for a reputable creative team to undertake the design. It was at this point they discovered Hecker Guthrie. “I loved Hecker Guthrie’s style and I really loved their reputation,” explains Emma. After the initial meeting, Emma knew she had to work with the Melbourne-based team due to their connection and alignment of styles. “They were comfortable with the experience we were looking to create and they are so beautiful, classy and stylish, yet understated in the way they execute, which was exactly what we wanted.”
Hecker Guthrie’s initial design concept presented to Sam and Emma consisted of silvery blues and light greys reflective of the established eucalypts on the property. While beautiful, Sam and Emma had a moody and rich palette in mind, given Red Hill’s climate where it can be dark and misty one day and lush and green the next. “I had a vision for a space with real warmth and earthy tones inside, so it was an equally beautiful and appealing environment in the winter and let the ground speak for itself in summer,” says Emma. After agreeing on the mood and feel the couple envisaged for the space, the design team’s attention quickly moved to Sam’s Polperro wine label. The textures and tones that were coming through became the starting point for the palette. It was at this point that Hecker Guthrie introduced Emma to Melbourne artist Rebekah Stuart.
Signature Element - Rebekah Stuart Landscapes
As an admirer of her work, Hamish Guthrie had been waiting for the opportunity to work with Melbourne artist Rebekah Stewart. “Not only are her artworks integrated into the design of the space, but they played an integral role in informing tone and colour palette direction for the project. They have a beautiful dark and romantic quality of abstracted landscape which we believe responded well to the site,” he says.
The tones & moodiness of Rebekah’s work is bang-on Sam’s wine label & our brief for how we wanted the space to feel.
The glazed walls on three sides of the restaurant dictated the layout to some extent. Hamish says the dining room’s rear wall became an important fixed element. Finished in a dark-stained timber, “the wall was sectioned into a kind of Arts and Crafts unit” and houses the restaurant bar clad in Eco Outdoor Antico Arrotato Cotto tiles. “We wanted it to have a handmade quality, an earthiness,” says Hamish. Layering textures was one way the design team were able to achieve that aesthetic. Terracotta, charcoal timber panelling, tan leather, linen, sheepskin and delicate ceramic objects played their role in enriching the palette. The attention to detail was first-class, challenging the local trades and the budget. “Justifying the enormous costs for some finishes was a challenge,” says Emma, however she knew the result it would create would be unrivalled.