Game of two halves

There's a subtle transition from contemporary and traditional between the front of this home and the rear
Photography by: Kallan MacLeod courtyard contemporary and traditional
View of this bathroom bathroom, ceiling, floor, flooring, furniture, home, interior design, real estate, room, table, window, wood, brown
View of this bathroom

Traditional-style homes often lend themselves to formality in their decorative schemes. This was the challenge for interior designer Fiona Wilson, who wanted a relaxed, informal atmosphere in her 1920s house in a historical heritage neighbourhood.

"I have a passion for collecting modernist 20th-Century chairs, and a preference for a contemporary look, but I also enjoy mixing furnishings of various ages and styles," she says.

Wilson was also interested in creating a variety of multifunctional living spaces that could be interchanged as needed. With a good flow between the different rooms, she has given the house a casual, relaxed and informal feel.

To establish this ambience, the house has a fairly neutral shell, with white walls, ceilings, trims and doors. Keeping the original polished jarrah floorboards has provided a unifying element between most rooms.

View of the dining area ceiling, chair, dining room, floor, flooring, furniture, hardwood, home, house, interior design, living room, property, real estate, room, suite, table, window, wood flooring, orange, red
View of the dining area

The neutral colours also serve as a backdrop for the owners' collection of bold artwork and unusual or interesting items of furniture.

"A neutral palette for essential and more expensive furnishings gives greater flexibility for updating or freshening the space with cushions, artwork and accessories," says Wilson.

Throughout the house, she has kept to a simple selection of colours black, white, cream, grey and silver.

"This helps emphasise the flow between spaces. However, to avoid a feeling of sameness, different colours provide accents in each space," she says.

View of living areaView of a lounge area, ceiling, home, interior design, living room, property, real estate, room, white
View of living areaView of a lounge area, brown carpet, cream walls, artwork, white sofas, glimpse of a black leather seat, fireplace, lamp, ccandles, glass coffee table, accessories, rug, small home theatre unit.

So each part of the living space has its own feel, there's also a subtle change in the colour scheme from the front to the back of the house. White-on-white gives the main living rooms an expansive, contemporary look, while black and darker tones give the TV room a more intimate and traditional ambience.

Between the main living area and the TV room is the dining room. With its neutral walls and mix of contemporary white and antique timber furniture, it acts as a point of transition across the living spaces.

To ensure a successful mix of old and new, the designer has retained some features from the original house. Dark oak panelled walls and ceiling create a cosy, club-like feel for the TV room, while at the more casual, summery end of the house, a couple of old bleached pine doors have been reused as is, rather than painted white.

"A house can easily lose its personality where the finishes are too perfectly matched or too bland," says Wilson.

Dec 07, 2004

Credit list

Interior design
Fiona Wilson, Fibonacci Design
Flos, iGuzzini from ECC Lighting
Aalto Colour
Home Audio
Absolute Audio and Vision
Basin and toilet, taps and accessories
Ludlow Builders
Gary Cherrington
Bromhead Design; Backhouse Interiors; Matisse
Glass art
Avid; Kosta Boda
Thorndon New World
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