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Interior Design: Sorrento House

April 20, 2011

Robert Mills Architect’s Sorrento House features a restrained palette of colour and materials, producing a crisp and refined beachside residence.

By their very nature, beach houses need to provide flexible accommodation. For that reason, this house is designed to provide separate living areas so that guests can stay with ease.

With no expansive views to capture, the first floor is dedicated to sleeping quarters. The ground floor is entirely living space, with an open-plan kitchen, dining and living area opening onto a north-facing terrace, completed with outdoor fireplace and kitchen edged with a solar-heated swimming pool. Designed as an entertainer’s house, the inside and outside are conceived as one space.

Exposed pre-formed concrete panel walls, honed basalt floors, pale grey ceilings and, upstairs, dove grey carpet create a calm, monochromatic interior. Any elements within the space, such as the living room fireplace, are simple geometric forms.

Concrete was used at the owner’s request, to create a dwelling that felt more durable and permanent than the usual timber beach house, yet still embodied a casual nature. The interior is completely unadorned and reasonably pure in form — a quality shared by traditional Japanese architecture and the ancient stone monastries of the south of France.

In the utility areas, Pietra Grigio and Stella Ivory marble is used for vanity benchtops and bath hobs, while in the kitchen, the basalt flooring gives way to wide French Oak floorboards which were hand-hewn to provide texture and then burnished with oil.

“Our work is very much about the landscape, the architecture, the interior and the artwork,” says Mills. “We believe that what makes a house a home is the furniture we place in it. This space is strong and masculine; what makes it work is the furniture and artwork.”

*Team* Artwork from Scott Livesey galleries, furnishings from Hub Furniture

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