My Pear Tree House Location: Armadale, Australia Size: 220 square meters approx 2,300 square feet Years lived in: 10 years, owned Walking through the front door into Jane's 110 year old home is impressive. The highest ceilings we've ever seen in a house, seriously wide architraves, skirting boards and window frames, not to mention the original stained glass windows in amazing condition. As we walked down the hallway through the house, we came out into an unexpected space — newly renovated kitchen, dining and lounge room complete with a sunken lounge you'd die for.
Mies Van Der Rohe's 'glass box' style of modernist architecture. Another house we love is Skywood House in the UK which has very minimalist glass and white walls. At a more local level, we lived for a while in a little box penthouse built on top of the George Hotel in St Kilda, and we have built something rather reminiscent of this at the back of our house. Favorite Element: I love the pit, as extravagant as it is. I can sit there, below ground level and look up at the sky and the trees. It is like being in a tree house. Biggest Challenge: Being patient. Ensuring there was enough storage (there still isn't). Dealing with a very slow builder. Trying to visualize drawings is hard if you are not in the industry. Dealing with change. For example due to the drought we had to drastically revisit our garden planning, hence the largely drought resistant front garden. What Friends Say: They can't believe no one has ever fallen into the conversation pit. (In fact, if the pit had been just a few millimeters deeper it would have required a balustrade!) Biggest Embarrassment: For many years (7 in fact) we had an unrenovated playroom with cork boards, half ripped up, yellow walls and 1960s brown cupboards. Last year we finally bit the bullet and put shelves in. I love this room with a passion now, just as well as we spend a lot of time in it working. The other embarrassment still exists — I have managed to pretty much ruin part of our floor boards with my stiletto heels!! No one told me they could do this much damage… Proudest DIY: Well we didn't do it ourselves but the best idea we had was to get a carpenter to very inexpensively cover the open carport with chip board and mirbau wood slats. We wanted the garage to look like a barn. Ultimately it was a much better solution than the very expensive demolition and rebuild job proposed by our architect. Biggest Indulgence: Definitely the conversation pit. We had to pour a slab and have couches custom designed. A couple of builders we spoke to were convinced we would tire of it and tried to talk us out of it. It was worth it though! Best advice: Not to renovate quickly. We had some silly and crazy ideas when we first moved about knocking walls through and changing the integrity of the older part of the house which we would have regretted. I think you need to live through the seasons and get a feel for your house before you dive into any major projects. Also — we sometimes take a long time to make up our minds. We thought for about a year, whilst we shivered on the hard tiles, about the right kind of rug for the pit and finally decided on a red shag pile. Dream source: Space Furniture in Richmond. Our built in sofas were based on a Space Design ('Harry'). Poliform in Richmond has amazing built in wardrobes All those fantastic online sources who don't ship to Australia.
Miele and are fantastic But even better is the concealed over oven fan which is Australian and very powerful (from Qasair) Furniture Most of our furniture is either from local antique dealers, given to us by family, or from local retailers like RG Madden. Also Kazari has excellent Japanese antiques. Lighting Starburst chandelier in front sitting room from Surround in St Kilda Red murano chandelier from Mondo Luce Lights near conversation pit from Hub Hallway shades from Vixen Paint Dulux Whisper White in back area Dulux Half magnolia everywhere else Dulux Flagstone on exterior Flooring Floorboards (ruined now by my high heels) in front of house (these are the original boards) Rugs and Carpets All rugs except in pit from Behruz Pit rug from Rugs by Design (sadly now out of business) Tiles and Stone Tiles in back area are reconstituted stone tiles from Sadler Tiles Window Treatments Blind in the back of the house is remote control. Very James Bond, and very necessary to block the light. These blinds are by Somfy Beds Our bed is from Poliform Artwork We have some watercolours and pastel work by me. We also have some works by Graham Fransella, George Raftopoulos and Nona Burden, all young(ish) Australian artists. I could happily cover all my walls with paintings.
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