A contemporary take on an art deco classic
Haymes recently caught up with interior designer, Therese Carrodus about the fabulous restoration of her art deco home in South Yarra, how to put a contemporary spin on a timeless classic and her love of all things design-related.
Therese is a busy mum to Rosie (three-years old), baby Barnaby (now six-months old) and wife to husband Chris, while also juggling the launch of her latest project, interior design company Full of Grace Interiors.
How did you come about landing this charming cottage?
We had been living in London for a few years and decided we wanted to put down some roots in our home town of Melbourne. We came home for a short holiday in 2007, and looked at about six places in one day – and this house was one of them!
The house is a semi-detached, art deco cottage, built in 1925. Despite some of its obvious flaws, we instantly fell in love. We had to head back off overseas the next day, so we asked Chris’s dad to bid on the property for us. We were on the phone to him during the auction from the other side of the world and we couldn’t believe it when we heard the final call down the phone.
We then rented the cottage out for the next eight years, and I spent that whole time dreaming of what I was going to do with it when I returned home and got my hands on it.
What did your renovation look like?
When we bought the house it didn’t even have a toilet inside! It definitely needed some TLC. It was originally a two bedroom, one bathroom house and we renovated it into a three bedroom, two bathroom house, with an extension that allowed for a spacious open plan kitchen, living and dining area at the back.
During the build we basically gutted every room in the house to make the layout work for our growing family, but at the same time tried to maintain as much of the architectural detailing as possible.
When we first arrived, the floorboards had been stained a terrible colour. They were a dark brown that sapped the house of natural light, so we took them back to their original honey shade.
We also kept the lovely, simple panelled wooden doors throughout, as well as the original fireplace. The fireplace had been rendered in the 70s with a horrible textured render. When we stripped it back we found a lovely bricked arch at the top of the opening, so we then decided the fireplace was definitely staying!
How did you bring the original art deco style back to life?
I was really careful to balance a contemporary feel with the original period style and detailing. I thought about the look and feel of the home back in the 20s, and how I could bring my own style into the home in a relevant way.
With every fitting and fixture that I chose for the contemporary rear extension of the house, I made sure that those same fittings and fixtures could be used in the original part of the house. It was important to make sure that there was continuity through both the old and new parts of the house.
We retained the beautiful art deco ceiling roses, diamond sash windows and the original cornicing. Nearly all of the 20s features of the exterior such as the brickwork detailing were retained and we painted the exterior walls in Haymes Light Grey. To highlight the brickwork, and to stand out against the cool grey of the exterior walls, we used Haymes Iris White.
Tell us about the colour scheme for the property.
The peach door painted in Haymes Athena is one of the fundamental tones in the home’s colour palette. The interior white walls were painted in Haymes Iris White – thankfully this was quite an instant decision! We also used pops of Haymes Olympian Blue throughout the house.
Choosing colour can be really difficult. Different lights change the colour and can change the mood of a space very quickly. It was important to me not to follow short-lived trends of what is currently in fashion and instead, my priority was to make sure the colours and style sat harmoniously together. I was also really careful to keep the heritage of the house in mind when making my colour decisions.
Selecting the right blue was not a five minute task! I had to trial lots of different blue paint brush-outs before deciding on Olympian Blue. I used it in the entry hallway, and for the wall that forms the backdrop to the dining area. We also used the same Olympian Blue for the vanity units so that the dark blue flowed through to the rest of the house.
Where did you draw your inspiration from?
My very first spark of inspiration for the house came to me one day as I was walking along Portobello Road in Notting Hill. The road is lined with these beautiful pastel-coloured homes, and I remember spotting one that was a lovely peach colour and thinking to myself, ‘That is the colour I want for my house!’
I knew I didn’t want to paint the entire house peach though, so I decided the front door would be where the peach would feature. I searched around and salvaged a 1920s timber door on eBay, with a beautiful art deco lead glass panel. We shipped it home from London, and it became one of my main sources of inspiration for the renovation.
How would you describe your design style?
I always like an interior to have an elegance about it, but at the same time to still feel easy and relaxed. I also try to think long-term whenever I’m designing a space: it’s important to think about whether the space will stand the test of time, or whether it is just an ‘on trend fad’.
I love using blue because of the different moods it can create. A pale blue can be so lovely and soft in an interior, while a dark blue can really draw you in and be quite striking. I first came to love working with different shades of blue when I started as an interior designer at David Collins Studio in London.
What is your favourite part of the house?
I can’t go past the kitchen. It is definitely the place where we spend most of our time as a family and is always a hub when friends come over. There are full length, glass sliding doors next to the kitchen that open up to allow the breeze in, and the light grey colour of the kitchen cabinetry looks soft and calming as the sun pours in. My favourite place to hang out in the house is in the kitchen on a sunny day!
What are some of your favourite furniture pieces?
Two of my favourite furniture pieces were bought on eBay – these are our mid-century dining table and chairs, and our kitchen bar stools (also mid-century) that we had reupholstered. I also love flopping into our very comfortable Jardan bed at the end of a hectic day!
Tell us about your job as an interior designer.
Every project is different, and every client has specific needs and tastes. This is what I love about my job and keeps things interesting!
I think at the same time it is so important to find an aesthetic you can believe in. When a client comes to you as a designer they are coming to you because there is something about your aesthetic that resonates with them. I try to always stay true to who I am as a designer, but to also listen and work alongside my clients rather than pressuring them into any one direction.
My continual source of inspiration is interior designer Kelly Wearstler. Her style is totally mad and out there but I adore her quirky interiors. Her interiors are full of colours, patterns and textures that shouldn’t work together, but somehow they do! I have a handful of lovely books of her interiors and they inspire me every day in my work and at home.
Photography by Fiona Storey and styling by Simone Haag.