For gun designer Brem Perera of Brahman Perera, overlaying this home by architects Tim de Natris and Chloe Skurrie with a series of lighting, decor, fixtures and fittings was a chance to inject “curious moments of personality and intrigue” for its owners and their children.
One street back from the beach in the bayside Melbourne suburb of Brighton, the eye-catching exterior features a first-floor louvred facade with a sequence of vertical timber battens that act as privacy screens and can be open or closed depending on the seasonal light.
In contrast, the ground-floor base of the house was inspired by a modernist, Miesian pavilion with a transparent glass frame. “The broad, glazed perimeter presents a loose, gallery-like arrangement of spaces – and at the home’s entry, the sightline almost reaches the rear of the property. Inside, all the walls are intersected by crisp marble,” says Brem, whose objective was to create greater definitions within the volume.
Owner Luke Skurrie first met Brem on a job for his construction company Ironside, and engaged him for this personal project. As the structural elements and layout had already been resolved, Brem’s role was to review the finishes (including polished plaster and paint) and consult on the styling, furniture and art.
Together with Luke’s wife Alex, the three worked well with Brem as their guide. “To their credit, they were involved but very considered,” says Brem. “Things unfolded naturally when it came to making decisions, which is how I think it should be during this process. There weren’t many immediate purchases. We often saw pieces at the beginning of the project but they were bought only at the end, once they had thought about it and were sure.”
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Access to the home is via a glass door and into a foyer, with a sitting room to the right overlooking the front yard pool. A garden path running down the north side of the house is a bypass for wet bodies leaving the pool. Inside, a central passage runs from the entry to the rear. A laundry and powder room sit to the left, with light wells on either side. At the back is a dedicated kids’ rumpus room. In the right wing of the house, the kitchen, meals and living zones are positioned within one large space.
Anchored by a monolithic island bench in Arabescato Grigio marble, it was important the dining table was solid and hard-wearing. “We chose a table that was of similar scale to the island so it didn’t feel floating in space,” says Brem of a clean-cut ‘Ordinal’ rectangular table by Michael Anastassiades that has been softened with slip linen Gervasoni ‘Ghost’ chairs. “The proportions mimic the scale of the island, while the slender top and claret-toned tailored legs provide a playful sculptural counterbalance.” With no other meal areas, the concept was for it to serve as an “activity hub” – a place for everyday use and to host dinner parties.
Beyond, the living area is defined by the soft, cosy form of Arflex’s ‘Ben Ben’ sofa in a joyful deep blue that was chosen, says Brem, because it “offered a level of democracy … everyone can sit on it at the same time and be equal”. This familial context was key to the whole ground-level approach. “Luke and Alex have so many children that the idea of completely separate spaces down here just didn’t appeal to them,” says Brem. “They like being together and didn’t want to create areas exclusively for the adults. This meant that beautiful design got spread across the whole house.”
Upstairs, the master bedroom is accessible through a set of double doors. This elegant sense of arrival hints at the tranquil atmosphere to follow. Luke and Alex coveted a sense of privacy here and the space was designed with a hotel suite in mind. The joinery doesn’t reach full height and the wardrobe presents like a piece of furniture.
A mix of soft materials, an upholstered bed by Gervasoni and inky billowing curtains are both cocooning and calming. “The combination of fabrics in this room feels luxurious,” explains Brem. “We’ve crafted a retreat-like feel that’s important in such a busy home.”
While the project may be completed, Brem supports the home’s continuous evolution, encouraging Luke and Alex to add pieces over time. “There can be a temptation to overdo things in interior design,” he says. “The family were keen to begin their collection, so while the rooms may be fully resolved, they can always be enriched. The idea is that they will continue to purchase art and populate the walls as time goes on.” brahmanperera.com.au; denatris.com.au; ironside.com.au