Design winner defies eras

The restoration of a grand heritage terrace gave design company SJB the top gong for residential design at the recent Australian Interior Design Awards.

With its project “A Private Residence”, SJB impressed the judges with its “thoughtful and sensitive approach in delivering an outcome that responds to the needs of a mature-aged client”.

The jury also noted that the design ‘eschews trends and instead celebrates the building’s grand heritage’. 

SJB said they aimed to optimise an existing simplicity of detail, returning to the elegant grandeur of the period without colonial or heritage thematics.

Instead, an emotionally responsive interior was created that reflects the vibrant and unique nature of the client.

Providing a foundational layer, existing blackbutt floors were returned to their former glory, while large Anatolian rugs in rich and muted tones create framed portions that contain dining and lounging areas while flowing seamlessly.

Furnished with opulent pieces in rich tones and textures, the interior decoration in these areas is intentionally sophisticated.

CURVE: Tiled floors and surfaces are secure, curved and without steps or edges. Stable surfaces suffice for hand-holds and cabinets are where they need to be.

CURVE: Tiled floors and surfaces are secure, curved and without steps or edges. Stable surfaces suffice for hand-holds and cabinets are where they need to be.

AIRY: The glass Italia coffee table echoes the green of the side table and allows the pattern of the rug room to breathe, while bringing a light mood to the whole place.

AIRY: The glass Italia coffee table echoes the green of the side table and allows the pattern of the rug room to breathe, while bringing a light mood to the whole place.

SJB said that they deliberately avoided what was fashionable and aimed to defy being linked to one era.

“The kitchen cabinets in burled maple, for example, transcends fashion in favour of a unique and opulent material that arguably was at its fashionable peak in the early 1900s.

“Also in the kitchen, a wall insert of glass bricks, within a larger wall portion of white tiles, becomes a splashback, while the freestanding bench provides a wholly contemporary centrepiece,” they said.

“Regardless of which era the material or furniture, or lighting design is associated with, each element has been selected as the ideal solution for the home.

“Moreover, it is designed to be reflective of the owner’s richly layered life and appreciation of an expansive aesthetic.

“Unique and timeless the inherent sustainability of the design lies in the fact of its having never been fashion driven, it will never become unfashionable.”

The design’s responds to the practical needs of aging clients.

For example, rejecting the notion that ambulatory requisites be met with clunky rails and ugly seats, the bathroom design is sensitive to accessibility.

“The aesthetics of the bathroom provide assurance that the client is in fact fabulous, rather than a constant reminder that they are perhaps less-firm than they once were,” SJB said.

The kitchen and informal dining design is based on a contemporary interpretation of a farmhouse kitchen.

The kitchen and informal dining design is based on a contemporary interpretation of a farmhouse kitchen.

Delivered through a partnership between the Design Institute of Australia and Architecture Media’s Artichoke magazine, the Australian Interior Design Awards is Australia’s foremost awards program for the sector.