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Elle Decor Italia

An artistic home inspired by a 17th century lithograph for an eclectic interior décor

A modern waterside home mixing art in a uniquely intriguing blend in Sidney

© Prue Ruscoe


In the beginning were fish. Five small fish with human faces depicted on a 17th century lithograph. A suggestive, unusual image exuding vitality and strength that prompted the owners to give their home a decidedly eclectic twist. How to convey the lithograph’s suspended, intriguing feeling to a whole dwelling place? That was the challenge Australian architects from Madeleine Blanchfield studio actually took up. From that starting point Clovelly House II was born: a bright, stark white home where art is not just something to display, nor something to be hung on the walls, either – but rather a place in which everything art related becomes a living matter to be employed in design, an architectural element, just as columns and beams.

Photo credits © Prue Ruscoe

Only the external structure was left of the original two-story 1950s building overlooking the sea. Madeleine Blanchfield studio decided to remove internal partitions, replacing them with windows and openings in order to let light and landscape flood the house. A pale blue, almost liquid light – just as in the original lithograph – is now free to invade the rooms. Spaces are like canvases to paint ideas and unfold creativity – just think of the sculptural staircase inspired by Alice in Wonderland, or the playful cactuses blossoming on the wallpaper. 

Photo credits © Prue Ruscoe

The heart of the house is the big, airy, welcoming kitchen dominated by an imposing 4m long table, made by employing a single tree trunk. The same handiwork skill is to be found in the concrete fireplaces, set both inside and outside the house. The outdoor swimming pool looks like an actual sea-glimpse. The inner courtyards spacing out the rooms have been conceived as boxes, or as many art caskets to customize and fill up at will. 

Photo credits © Prue Ruscoe

Each object in the house, from multi-colored cushions to articulated lamps, is ad hoc-made, displaying the eclectic, sophisticated taste of the owners. The overall feeling is that of a complex symphony including deftly combined, heterogeneous materials and styles. The wooden flooring perfectly matches the stark white concrete walls and is further embellished by marble and brass accents, while the neat, modern simplicity of the furnishings is spruced up by whimsical touches, combining a decidedly urban taste with the carefree tranquility of a holiday home. 

Photo credits © Prue Ruscoe

Everything is allowed except for monotony: then green light to charming small tables and rustic armchairs, framed by glass partitions unfolding like accordions, or arched openings recalling Mediterranean style villas. The home literally throbs with life, breathing at the rhythm of the nearby ocean, playing with art in order to get entranced and amaze guests. 

Photo credits © Prue Ruscoe


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