Soft Touch
Belle Magazine Australia|June 2018

Juxtaposing the hardness of the exterior with softness in the interior was key to creating balance in this 19th-century home.

Stephen Todd

A 19th-century bluestone building and its contemporary extension sit confidently in the South Australian landscape. The challenge was to create an interior topography which instilled a sense of comfort as well as quiet authority. “The architectural materials are the solid fabric which create the character of The Old Dairy,” says Meryl Hare of interior design firm Hare+Klein, acknowledging the rustic industrial nature of the original structure. “Inside, we added softness and a layering of textures to juxtapose the hardness of the exterior.”

The designers were also charged with creating coherence between the old and new structures which had come to feel slightly disjointed. With four bedrooms, several sitting rooms, a billiard room, media centre, study and numerous dining options, it’s safe to call it sprawling.

As a first move, they reinstated architectural features such as bluestone hearths, plaster ceiling cornices and timber window architraves – these last in a robust Georgian style that feels particularly right for now. Secondly, mismatched flooring was replaced by broad, washed oak boards throughout to create a sense of unity and flow. Then a central volume which had formerly functioned as a transition zone – five doorways lead through it – was reinvigorated as a gallery/ formal dining room which effectively anchors the entire home.

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