Gallery space

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The owners of this grand residence wanted more than a place to live they built this home to hold their extensive art collection
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view of the cube shaped living room, , tables, stained timber cabinet, artwork, armchairs

An architect's brief for a new home would ordinarily include the number of bedrooms required and perhaps a request for a space for entertaining nothing too out of the ordinary. But how does an architect accommodate clients who want to build a new home which will house their extensive art collection yet still feel like a home, not just a gallery?

Andrew Boughton of Boughton Architecture was given a list of the art his British clients owned as the starting point for his design. Most of their collection was in storage overseas, so Boughton had to work with photographs and the dimensions of each piece.

His clients' new Perth residence had to be an airy, open-plan home with indoor and outdoor living, room for each piece of art, and plenty of space to entertain.

The site is on a standard, suburban block, and from the street the house is relatively unassuming. There are neighbours on all sides, yet Boughton's design gives a feeling of privacy. Visitors enter the property via an enclosed front paved garden. Upon rounding the corner into the central courtyard, the eye falls on a sculpture of two dancers in the middle of a pool. Beyond, the front door opens into the foyer, at the foot of a glass stair.

French doors opening out onto the courtyard fold back against long stone shutters. These hide the full extent of the collection from sight of an approaching guest.

"The house reveals its contents gradually," says Boughton. "Your attention is directed to one aspect before another, to avoid over-exposure. Inside, we have tried to give each piece a frame of its own. Each sculpture in the corridor, for example, sits within a window frame, so there is space to consider each piece individually."


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view of the open plan dining and kitchen area, tiled flooring, bifold doors

"The collection is diverse and fairly traditional," says Boughton. "We had to come up with a way of co-ordinating it all. The house had to be strong enough in its form to tie the collection together, but not so over the top that it overpowered the art."

Boughton took a contemporary design approach. The interior is fairly streamlined, with a neutral palette, but uses a diverse range of materials and textures.

"The architecture has a richness to it," he says. "The house looks just as good empty. You could have just two pieces in a room and it would still work."

The design process was unusual, in that the house was virtually furnished as it was designed. The drawing room, for example, had to be a cube shape with a double-height ceiling to allow so many paintings to be hung in one space.

A separate living room houses the many oriental pieces in the collection. A Chinese screen conceals all the AV gear. It splits into two halves and draws back on either side when the television is being used. The room overlooks a lap pool with a Balinese thatched pavilion and bamboo fencing. The lap pool is painted so that the water looks almost black, to match the two ornamental pools in the front and back courtyards.

The open-plan kitchen has a large island which does not include a sink or dishwasher, but is used for preparation and storage. The narrow window used in place of a splashback overlooks a small garden on the edge of the section. Limiting the height of the window avoids a view of the brick boundary wall.

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view of the artwork featuring various artworks and statues

Art works are also highlighted in the stairwell, where latticed stone carvings from Bali allow golden light to filter through in the late afternoon. They also screen out a neighbouring property. One square of the wall has been left as glass, and this frames a small sculpture.

A bridge at the top of the stairs leads to the master bedroom and gives another view of the art in the drawing room. On one side, a waved balustrade overlooks the drawing room. On the other, an open rail overlooks the central courtyard.

"The owners wanted to live with their collection, rather than hide it away," says Boughton.

The design successfully fulfils the need for hanging space, has room to entertain and is a comfortable place in which to live.

Nov 24, 2006

Credit list

Kitchen designer
Boughton Architecture
Shades and shutters
Modular
Tiling
Attica Stone by Bernini and Attica
Lighting
Inlite; Hi Lighting
Wall paint
Taubmans
Audiovisual
Surround Sounds
Kitchen and bathroom cabinets
House of Cabinets
Oven and dishwasher
Neff
Microwave
Panasonic
Bathroom sinks
Scarabeo by Rogerseller
Down lights
Inlite
Joinery
Supreme Windows
Drapes
Silhouette Blinds by Australian Window Furnishings
Flooring
Timber flooring stained by Painted Earth
Air conditioning
Allied Air
Bedroom furniture
Jar Roc
Speakers
B&W
Benchtops
Stone by Bernini
Ventilation
Quasair
Refrigerator
Fisher & Paykel
Bathroom taps
Dorf by Reece
Glass stair
Glass supplied by Walsh’s Glass; metalwork by Cado
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