“I love contemporary design overlaid on a historical backdrop,” says retail designer David Cook-Doulton who, together with his partner Martin Shew, is responsible for the gorgeous overhaul of this grand 1880’s Victorian terrace recently, located in Ballarat. We just love its masculine, almost Gothic feel.
The original home, called Lyon House, was a result of the goldrush boom; a time that, rather incredibly, saw the city rival Melbourne in size. “The 1890’s was the peak of Ballarat. It had lofty ambitions and as such, the city itself has incredibly grand buildings,” says David who was lured to the city a few years ago and has since turned several heritage buildings into premium accommodation establishments.
“Our business is focused on renovating beautiful historic buildings without the, for want of a better term, ‘old lady’ interiors,” says David. Polished concrete/aggregate flooring, slabs of honed Nero Marquina marble, matte charcoal tiles and ribbed glass are just some of the home’s sumptuous parts that come together to create a rather irresistible whole.
“The house has a really masculine feel to it but there’s a real mix of light and dark,” says David. While the moody bathrooms have very little natural light, the upstairs bedrooms and the backyard are flooded with it. “The rooms in particular have big windows that let a lot of light in. You get a sense of different zones – there’s light and shade to the house, rather than everything being super white like many modern interiors,” says David.
And while the front of the home is steeped in history, the back extension is as modern as they come. A large kitchen and dining area, with bifold doors, overlooks a unique pool house; the structure was once home to a local blacksmith. “I love looking out to the pool house and all the shades of blue,” says David who explains that, when he purchased the home, one of the windows was intact while the other one had to be remade. “The amazing thing is that you can’t tell the old one from the new!”
While currently closed due to Melbourne’s strict lockdown measures, the home is set to open as soon as they lift.
Photography: Myles Formby