Living with Art

In this Melbourne home, a neutral backdrop is balanced by strong punches of colour, creating a vibrant yet harmonious feeling

Founded just four years ago, Flack Studio already has a team of eight and its own verb, coined by founder David Flack: ‘To “Flackify” something simply means that we help transform our clients’ vision into experiences,’ he explains. Based in Melbourne (also Flack’s hometown), the studio is now one of best known in Australia.

For this project in South Yarra, just outside of Melbourne’s central business district, Flack Studio undertook an extensive renovation of a three-storey terrace house. ‘The owners, a lovely couple with two cats — Dolce and Gabbana — led the brief and wanted a very classic home,’ says Flack. ‘On every project, we work together with our clients — not under them, not over them — to create something honest and unique. The process of designing an environment is a journey that we all have to go on together.’

Taking this approach, the team gave new life to the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home, all the while keeping the owners’ favoured style in mind. ‘The house was relatively dark, and the clients wanted to bring some brightness into it,’ Flack says.

At the entrance, a black, steel-frame door with clear Flutelite glass from Axess Glass creates an inviting facade. In the living room, a pair of black Utrecht armchairs by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld from Space Furniture sit on the Signorino terrazzo-tiled floor, in front of a fireplace in Silver Cloud granite from Corsi and Nicolai. The custom cherry rug from Halcyon Lake — Flack’s favourite piece in the house — stands out, adding an unexpected pop of bold colour. In front of the charming restored piano, the foot stool by Kelly Wearstler brings more texture to the space, also furnished with the ClassiCon Bell coffee table from Anibou and Edra sofa from Space Furniture. With large glass doors and windows on each side, the blue artwork Lines of Confluence [12] by Judith Wright (Sophie Gannon Gallery) complements the space’s eclectic aesthetic. Sharing the same area as the living room, the comfortable yet elegant dining room comprises Grace chairs and a Concorde table designed by Emmanuel Gallina, all from Poliform.

In the separate kitchen, Hi Pad stools designed by Jasper Morrison for Cappellini from Cult sit around the Silver Cloud granite island from Corsi and Nicolai. The arrangement complements cabinets in custom natural timber veneer and one in American oak timber veneer in black. The brass Can Wall Light from Anna Charlesworth adds a touch of sophistication while a bronze mirror gives a sense of depth.

‘This neutral palette allows our clients’ continuing rotation of art to be the hero,’ says Flack. ‘Their collection is very colourful so we wanted the interior architecture to feel more recessive.’

Covered in the same hue and material as the cherry rug in the living room, the staircase that leads to the private spaces on the upper floor creates visual coherence throughout the home. A green Numero armchair by Featherston adorns the bright landing area, contrasting with the white walls and red tone of the floor. On this level are the master bedroom with an en suite bathroom, the guest bedroom and a study, while the rooftop terrace, offering exceptional city views, with lounge chairs, dining area and barbecue is the icing on the cake.

Filled with light and art, this house has a strong personality that is subtly reflected through the design choices made collaboratively between designers and clients.

Text / Karine Monié
Images / Brooke Holm