Project Sheet: Intimate Moments

ARTWORKS ARE CHERISHED REMINDERS OF TRAVELS, EXPERIENCES, FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN THIS PORTSEA HOUSE, REFURBISHED BY STUDIO ESTETA. REBECCA GROSS SPEAKS TO DESIGNER SARAH COSENTINO. PHOTOGRAPHY BY SEAN FENNESSY.

Fisherman’s Beach by Sally Joubert hangs in the first floor living room.

“Our collection is a very personal and much-loved part of our home, the interests we have, and our lifestyle,” say the homeowners of this Portsea house in Victoria. They engaged Studio Esteta to refurbish their clifftop residence, maintaining its mid-century undertones. Studio Esteta created a light-filled, fresh interior, with the clients’ evocative artworks, ceramics and vintage objects creating moments of intimacy – cherished reminders of travels, experiences, family and friends.

“The brief called for a deep appreciation of the past, from the perspective of the existing modernist house as well as that of the family,” says Sarah Cosentino, director of Studio Esteta. “We curated existing furniture pieces, artwork and ornaments alongside new and vintage pieces to create a home with a strong sense of nostalgia and soul.”

Sarah and her team looked to the mid-century architecture and coastal surroundings for the material palette, using crazy paving, bagged and white-washed rendered walls, warm timbers and natural stone. The materials provide warmth and texture, while the light colours offer a neutral backdrop for the artworks, ceramics and picturesque view. Sally Joubert’s painting Fisherman’s Beach resembles this view, featuring colourful bathing boxes, much like the brightly painted cottages on Weeroona Bay in front of the house. The painting formerly took pride of place in the clients’ beach house. Now it hangs in the living room – the heart of the family home.

The clients’ procured their extensive collection over many years, visiting galleries, art shows, street markets and auction rooms, both locally and around the world. A small painting the clients purchased from a young artist in a street market in Rome in 1996 sits above the buffet in the ground-floor dining area. It is accompanied by a collection of other treasures, including a speckled ceramic bowl, white sea urchin shell and two vases.

Intimate moments like this are also created in places of transition, with small-scale paintings by Harris Smith and Tanya Kingston at the entry and landing, both with organic flourishes of greenery. “These pieces have a relaxed and earthy feel and tie in beautifully with the warmth of the natural materials around them,” Sarah comments.

A painting by Waldemar Kolbusz is also earthy and vibrant and its colour palette unifies elements of the ground-floor living area, including the joinery, fireplace and stacked firewood. “The eye is guided through the orange accents, from the side table and cushion detailing to the explosion of colour in the painting,” says Sarah.

A series of intricate, expressive paintings hang in the bedrooms where their rich colour and textural qualities add depth and interest. Shay Docking’s mixed-media artwork takes centre stage above the master bed, and Emily Ferretti’s Shifting Landscapes is tucked away in the passageway of a walk-in-wardrobe. The hues of the paintings inspired the styling in each bedroom, creating cohesive, effortless and intimate spaces. “These artworks tell a story and evoke a memory or emotion for the clients. They bring ambience and joy to the house and foster a sense of calm,” Sarah says.

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