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Warm-hearted

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Thoughtful renovation of this home sought not so much to achieve extra floor space, but rather to draw together disparate elements. Wall tones and choice of materials both played a harmonising part

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Re-inventing your home's interior needn't be a mad scramble for extra space and smart surfaces. An insightful renovation will make sure that the interior works well as a whole – in terms of function, aesthetics and heart.

While the home shown on these pages already had plenty of rooms and space, the brief for the renovation was to introduce a sense of connection and harmony, says interior designer Meryl Hare.

"The family wanted an eclectic interior, rich with tone and texture that would provide a warm welcome to family and visitors alike," Hare says.

To make the project trickier, it had to be completed in two stages – first, downstairs with the family living upstairs and then vice versa. The interior was stripped back and reinvented, with some structural elements realigned by architect Linda James.

"As part of a busy family home, the living room was a key element of the renovation," Hare says. "We sharpened the room's focus by walling-up one of two arched doorways. This made the space feel cosier and provided an additional area to introduce furnishings."

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The living room was broken into two conversation areas, which further tamed its proportions. A feature sandstone fireplace replaced a dowdier version and provided a focus for the smaller setting. Achieving two areas of intimacy within a greater space was achieved by choice of carpet, material tones and furniture groupings.

"Around the vicinity of the fireplace, dark furniture pieces and dark-toned furnishings and cushions were introduced," says Hare. "Across the room, closer to the windows, a dark couch off sets a general use of lighter tones that don't overshadow the view.

"The use of 17 or 18 fabrics in the room required a concerted effort to achieve harmony," says Hare. "We used a sample board to gather all the textures and tones in one place before commencing."

Colour provided a harmonising role throughout the home's interior. To achieve a warm, approachable atmosphere, a muted, off-yellow tone was chosen for all rooms, apart from an occasional feature wall. This colour both sets the informal tone, unifies the home and provides an ideal backdrop for the owners' ethnic art pieces and array of textured furnishings.

"The same tone carries through into the dining room and kitchen," says the designer. "Originally exposed timber, the kitchen ceiling was painted in a half-tone of the walls to retain a warm feel, lighten the space and increase its sense of roominess."

The finishes were hand-painted, with the brush-strokes still in evidence to contribute to a rustic feel. The approachable tone of the kitchen was augmented by the choice of a table-like kitchen island and customised cabinetry that was not overtly slick.

A similar eclectic yet harmonising décor was achieved upstairs. The owners even entrusted Hare to decrease the size of the main bedroom – with the aim of making it more functional in terms of people-flow and wardrobe space.

First published date: 22 January 2004

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Credit List

Interior designer Meryl Hare, Hare & Klein Interior Design
Architect Linda James
Living room carpet Belgium Biscuit Sisal from International Floorcovering Centre
Living room furniture Armchair, Kravet fabric from Mokum; ottoman, Beacon Hill Martinique fabric from Redelmands, both made by Aaron Upholstery; coffee table from Emac & Lawton
Living room curtains Jab Osaka hand-painted silk from Seneca; tracks, by Trakkattak, made by Laura Furnishings
Kitchen manufacturer Glavan Designer Kitchens
Island benchtop Verde Maritake granite
Benchtop and splashback Stainless steel
Cabinetry Rubbed back paint effects
Cabinetry handles Brionne from Mother of Pearl
Kitchen chairs Morphee from Grange
Bedcover fabrics Baldassare by Dedar from South Pacific Fabrics, made by Contract Curtains and Bedspeads
Bedroom screen Antique Chinese screen from Orient House
Guest bedroom sofa fabric Lake Heron from South Pacific Fabrics
Guest bedroom curtains Ricardi from Unique Fabrics
Living room painting Jacqueline Crewe-Brown