LASTING IMPRESSION
Belle Magazine Australia|December/January 2022
Respected interior designer Michael Love’s home remains largely unchanged since 1986, a testament to his unerring eye for classic, understated style.
JUDY PASCOE

Refined, elegant, timeless, the Sydney home of interiors doyen Michael Love is the epitome of good taste and perfect composition, with a soupçon of intrigue thrown in for good measure.

This page, clockwise from top A cantilevered stone stair with a wrought-iron handrail still looks modern more than 30 years after the house was built. A 2ndcentury AD Roman stone funerary urn and a 19th-century Spanish fountain sit on a black-painted surveyor’s table in the hall. A 19th-century bookcase holds a Chinese bust. Shutters in the sitting room diffuse the Sydney sunlight. “They add instant glamour and make everything look fresh,” says Michael.

In the light-filled sitting room, an English screen with clear glass panels acts as a divider. Louis XV mahogany desk, English 1820s Regency chair, and contemporary lamps bought in St Tropez – “The lamps you have when you’re not having lamps as you can’t see the bases,” says Michael.

‘Stirred, not shaken’ – a twist on the catchphrase – would be an apt description for the cocktail of eclectic yet harmonious pieces he has assembled in his urbane abode that features in Melissa Penfold’s book, Living Well by Design. It is a home with a sophisticated allure that beguiles, whether by the soft glow of lamplight or bathed in bright, early morning sun.

This page At one end of the kitchen is a French fruitwood table with painted Louis XV chairs overlooking a lush planting of palms in the garden outside. Opposite page, from top The sitting room with a view into the dining room. A Guy Maestri expressionist painting hangs above a commode along with drawings by John Olsen. Painted Louis XV chairs. In the upstairs media room, a large 17th-century Flemish tapestry is positioned above a sofa.

Set in a harbourside enclave in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, the home is one of two houses reconfigured from a block of four flats by architect Susan Rothwell in 1986. Blessed with a felicitous position embracing water, trees and parks, copious birdlife, bobbing boats, benign neighbours and proximity to the city, the house is simplicity personified.

A dramatic black front door announces the entrance, leading immediately to a 1.6 metre-wide stone staircase that provides both connection and a spine for the interior. A large sitting room on the first level spans the entire width of the home and is an object lesson in proportion, finesse and good editing. Windows placed with mathematical precision are large and shuttered, and nubbly sisal covers the floor. French doors offer glimpses and access to other parts of the home.

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