FEELING GRAND
Belle Magazine Australia|December/January 2022
Built to impress by the power elite, this imposing heritage home reveals a softer side as a comfortable family dwelling that’s contemporary, stylish and approachable.
STEPHEN CRAFTI

These pages, from left A custom-mixed Dulux blend matches the original colours trimming the exterior of the heritage bluestone house. Landscaping by Eckersley Garden Architecture. Haymes ‘Modesty White’ adds a crisp edge to the entry with its decorative plasterwork on arches, columns and the ceiling, from which hangs an Intueri ‘Bullarum SI-4’ light from In Good Company. Custom ‘Sencillo’ rug in Plum from The Rug Establishment over original floorboards which were re-finished. Artwork by Alma Figuerola, a previous resident of d’Estaville, from Leonard Joel.

‘Stamp’ console from Grazia&Co with ‘Basin’ vase in Cobalt Blue from Urban Eden, Arita Japan flower plate from Well Placed and New Volumes ‘Hemera’ desk lamp by Ross Gardam from Cult. Large artwork above is Le Vol by Valerie Sparks from Fletcher Arts.

This page, clockwise from top left Le Vol by Valerie Sparks from Fletcher Arts. ‘Stamp’ console from Grazia&Co with ‘Basin’ vase from Urban Eden, Arita Japan plate from Well Placed and New Volumes ‘Hemera’ desk lamp by Ross Gardam from Cult. Intueri ‘Bullarum SI-4’ pendant light from In Good Company. ‘Sencillo’ rug in Plum from The Rug Establishment. The front door sports a smack of Dulux ‘Symphony’ red. An oversized mirror from West Elm hangs above the fireplace surround on which sit ‘De Crecy’ beeswax candles from Tow and Line.

Stretching out over several street frontages and still occupying an impressive plot of 2600 square metres (once more than 13 hectares), this imposing bluestone mansion in Kew is one of Melbourne’s most significant homes. D’Estaville was originally built in 1859 in the Classical Revival style for Victoria’s first attorney-general, Sir William Stawell. Designed by Knight & Kerr, the architects responsible for Victoria’s Parliament House, it’s the only private home built by the eminent practice. And what a truly extraordinary property it is.

“I recall being told that if you were serious about entering parliament, the first step was to live in a great house, giving you credibility,” says architect Brett Nixon, director of NTF Architecture, who worked closely with the practice’s project architect Ben Ellul, interior designer Tess McKinlay and heritage consultant Miles Lewis. Others such as Richard Hall & Son added touches with some of the furnishings and Eckersley Garden Architecture (EGA) put its indelible stamp on the verdant garden, both now and prior to the recent owners purchasing it.

Opposite page On a Kundan Collection wool and silk rug from Loom, Italian mid-century sofa from Geoffrey Hatty Applied Arts reupholstered in Pollack ‘Solo’ velvet in Butternut with yellow velvet cushion from House of Orange. ClassiCon ‘Bell’ coffee table by Sebastian Herkner from Anibou with large resin ‘Pebble’ vase from Dinosaur Designs and a vintage round amber glass ball. Cut-glass vases by Brian Tunks on the owner’s pedestal table. Curtains in ‘Laconia Air’ linen from Mokum. Gubi ‘Semi’ pendant light from In Good Company.

Brett and his team were mindful of the home’s importance even before they were given the commission to create a family home for a couple with two children, three dogs and a cat. There were obviously the home’s fine bones, with its impressive stately rooms and exquisite embellishments, many of which can be traced back to the early 20th century, when d’Estaville was renovated in the Art Nouveau style. So, while the exterior has quite a sombre feel, the more formal rooms at the front of the home are sumptuously appointed with intricate plaster ceilings featuring floral motifs, wide skirting boards and embellished over-mantles, each one different to the next. Rather than simple doors separating spaces, there are arched enfilades edged with decorative columns.

The northern wing was opened up with a series of arches to loosely delineate the more informal zone.

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