Take a Closer Look
A large established Illawarra Flame Tree was in full bloom.With a desire to retain the house’s original footprint, Kim engaged architect Nadine of Nadine Nakache Design to draw up plans for the first-floor addition. Working in collaboration, Nadine and Kim set out to increase the living space and create a comfortable, natural atmosphere that was conducive to family life.
"My approach to additions is to create a deliberate contrast, rather than trying to make it look like it’s always been there."
Rather than opt for a traditional open plan, Kim wanted to add character and to create division in the space. It was here that Kim saw an opportunity to include a feature she’d always wanted in her home, a sunken lounge.“The sunken lounge gives the house a really quirky detail,” says Nadine. “We had a sofa custom made especially for the space and now looks like it’s always meant to be there.”
An open staircase and a blade wall further helped to divide the family area without losing the natural light and without enclosing the rooms.Having once been a chef, the kitchen was always going to be a prominent feature of Kim’s home. “It sounds crazy, but I saved for 20 years to have the appliances that I have this kitchen,” says Kim.“I always knew one day I’d have my double Gaggenau ovens and a Wolf cooktop. Having friends and family around me is really important, so being able to entertain a number of people at once was central to the design.
“Family friends who I spent a lot of time with growing up had a sunken lounge with a curved wall,” says Kim. “All my life, I had visualised I’d have something similar.” The block’s position on a floodplain meant dropping the rear of the house to the level of the backyard was a risky move. Not one to give up on an idea, Kim and Nadine decided to leave the raised floor level as is and worked out they could drop just the lounge area a few steps.
The aesthetics for the interior were greatly influenced by Kim’s travels to South East Asia and, in particular, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. It’s the simple design and earthy tones of the Balinese homes, that’s left a great impression.Throughout the interior, Kim managed to introduce some unique and playful elements, such as the doors from an old Indian temple which Kim found at Weylandts in Melbourne. “I always had a vision of ancient doors,” says Kim. “These are smaller than a standard door so our builder created a timber frame around them so that they could be used as a full-sized door.”Tying together these South East Asian influences is a palette of earthy tone, texture and neutral colours which have resulted in an industrial/beach creating an industrial/beachy ambiance.
Limestone, slate, Endicott, recycled and aged timbers, and concrete benchtops all work in harmony as part of Kim’s warm, minimalist aesthetic. “This is why the pool, bathroom, and front garden all use Eco’s products, as well as the outdoor furniture. Eco Outdoor aligns perfectly with our philosophy,” says Kim.Chalford limestone was used in the downstairs bathroom – a space which Kim describes as one of her absolute favourites. The heavily distressed finish adds a raw quality to the space, yet retains a level of luxury and warmth underfoot.This sense of luxury, comfort, and attention to detail continues outside in the backyard where the pool takes pride of place. Being on flood-prone land, the garden was all about finding solutions to challenges. Raising the pool to meet the floor level was one of those solutions.