Grid Pattern
Belle Magazine Australia|October 2019

Rich timbers, rattans and furniture classics help realise the luxury look this 1940s modernist masterpiece always deserved.

Stephen Todd

Pettigrew House is a standout on three counts. Numero uno: it was the first completed residence of Melbourne modernist architect Robin Boyd, in tandem with Kevin Pethebridge, delivered in 1946 and now heritage listed. Second, it remained in the hands of the same owner until the widow Pettigrew relinquished it in 2015. Third, the new owners were visionary enough to engage a then little-known interior designer to reconfigure their family home. In the interim, David Flack has become one of Australia’s most renowned. “The exterior of the house is heritage listed but the inside isn’t,” says David, 34, founder and director of Flack Studio. “While I was very conscious of Boyd’s legacy and the new owners definitely wanted to celebrate the house’s history, we agreed the interior had to be moved forward.”

Moving forward meant clarifying the past, removing the layers that had accrued over time to arrive at a clear reading of the original intent. Designed when wartime restrictions on materials were still in place, the house was planned to grow in increments. The first stage was a simple brick rectangle oriented north-west; the second, in 1950, extended the living areas along the east-west axis and topped them with a second floor with a bank of timber-framed casement windows that extend to full length as they wrap around the western facade.

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