Every picture tells a story French Chateaux style

House interior by Royston Wilson Design
This European-style house has an Italianate look at elevation, estate, facade, home, house, mansion, property, real estate, residential area, swimming pool, villa, window, white
This European-style house has an Italianate look at the rear. The terrace incorporates an outdoor kitchen, table and lounging chairs. The house was redesigned by Royston Wilson.

Taking over an incomplete project that has been languishing for several years is not the easiest way to plan for a new home. But for the new owners of this house, the French Chateau-style architecture appealed and they could see there was plenty of potential to make the project worthwhile.

Designer Royston Wilson was subsequently commissioned to take charge of the redesign and finishing of the house and interior.

"We embellished the exterior a little, so it would be more in keeping with the style," Wilson says. "For example, we added custom wrought iron balustrading and introduced new wooden doors and windows to the entry. The original plan had specified PVC doors and window frames throughout the house, but this was the only area where they hadn't yet been installed. The custom timber doors visually soften the entry and make it more inviting. We also narrowed the entry to enhance the sense of arrival on the inside it opens right up."

Grandeur is created by the large, split-level entry hall, which features a dramatic spiral staircase. The owners' contemporary sculpture collection reinforces the gallery-like feel.

"The owner said right from the start that every time he entered a space he wanted to feel as if he had been transported to a whole new place," says Wilson. "Every room needed to be different, yet visually connected.

"Originally, the staircase in the entry was to be enclosed, but opening it up meant we could make a sweeping, architectural statement. Another way we achieved this was by mixing the treads, using both timber and stone."

The formal lounge also has a gallery look. The designer likens it to a grand ballroom, complete with parquet flooring, grand piano and sculptural red velvet chaise. Classically inspired paintings and an oversized mirror reinforce the visual drama.

Every picture tells a story  French Chateaux ceiling, dining room, furniture, interior design, living room, property, real estate, room, table, white
Every picture tells a story French Chateaux styleHouse interior by Royston Wilson Design

"The pattern of the American oak parquet flooring is similar to the French parquet floors at Versailles," says Wilson. "Here, it was treated to give it a well-worn, textural look."

French doors were originally positioned on the outside wall of this room, but were replaced with shuttered windows.

"The doors opened to a small laneway with no view, so we felt it was better not to play up this aspect," the designer says.

In keeping with the imposing interior, the house has a large formal dining room, with a custom-built bar area. Wilson says this cabinetry helps to disguise a structural column that was exposed when a wall was removed to make the room larger. Furnishings in this room were chosen to complement the European ambience.

A gentleman's study also features wood cabinetry and the same parquet flooring as the formal lounge. Timber panelling on the walls keeps the look masculine.

Similarly, in the wine cellar off the garage on the lower level, timber features prominently. Here, wine is displayed in a variety of ways, just as it is in traditional cellars and wine stores.

Much of the living and entertaining takes place in the large, open-plan family living area, which comprises the kitchen, an informal dining space and an extra-large media room.

A custom mosaic tiled mural beside this indoor leisure, leisure centre, mural, property, swimming pool, white
A custom mosaic tiled mural beside this indoor lap pool features images of the owners racehorses set against a beach backdrop.

Wilson says the owners like to entertain, and the kitchen needed to be suitable for caterers. It was also essential to provide numerous cooking appliances and several high-end refrigerators and freezers. In addition, the design needed to accommodate a large structural column.

The designer introduced a honey onyx bar, which is anchored to the column. The onyx is lit from within, creating a warm golden glow.

"The bar creates a buffer zone between guests and the working area of the kitchen," says Wilson.

Further differentiation is provided by the more robust form of the large island, which incorporates a Victorian ash upstand that is curved on the inside edge. The timber was sandblasted to highlight the grain. An oblique angle at one end of the island also provides visual drama and reduces the apparent mass of the island. Cabinetry on the rear wall has a random pattern routed into the MDF for added interest.

The other key feature of the family living area is the custom shelving. Colourful stained wood panels interspersed with Japan black create eye-catching, symmetrical Mondrian-style display and storage cabinets.

The entertainment zone spills outdoors to a large terrace and pool, complete with outdoor kitchen. The piéce de resistance of this area is a large mosaic-tiled mural that runs alongside a lap pool. The mural captures the owners' racehorses against a dramatic beach backdrop, providing yet another talking point.

Oct 06, 2013
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