- Article by Natalie Mortimer
Kerry Phelan and Stephen Javens lead Melbourne-based interior design and architecture studio K.P.D.O. (Kerry Phelan Design Office). Preferring to stay a little quieter among the frenetic noise and pace of the design profession, Phelan and Javens work to create beautifully considered spaces for their clients. inside co-editor Jan Henderson visits them At Home to discover the private world they share.
inside: How long have you lived here and what drew you to the property?
Kerry Phelan and Stephen Javens: We’ve lived here for three years. Jolimont is a beautiful pocket of East Melbourne, super quiet, and the parks are a delight.
When did you produce this design?
I think it’s a lifetime of training the eye. And we’re happy nothing is really set in stone; if we see a better opportunity we’re happy to move everything around again. It’s good to refresh.
What was the thinking behind the design?
It’s really just a gradual curation of pieces we’ve collected over the years. The house has high ceilings and the windows overlook parks on both sides, so the light quality is amazing. So really, it’s a matter of arranging objects to suit the volume and light.
Are you a good client?
Yes, we are!
Which is your favourite room and what makes it special?
We love the dining room. The dining tables are so flexible, perfect for dinners for two or 12 friends! And at other times we lay out our current books and magazines, with glass vases and flowers. We especially love lighting the fire here.
Tell us a bit about working with your art collection?
We’re lucky the house has wall space and high ceilings. Even though we’re modernists, there’s a lot to be said for Victorian architecture.
Which is your favourite piece of furniture and why?
The dining tables are high on the list! Beautiful objects in themselves, they work so well for entertaining or as display surfaces. We also love the red/pink/orange glossy cupboard, the Privata tables, the green vase…
Does being in the design industry, where you’re constantly looking at new design, make it difficult to choose products for your own home?
No, not at all. We’re lucky to have access to beautiful products.
Are there any loose elements that you change frequently and, if so, what are they?
Beyond keeping the function of the rooms consistent, everything else is set for rearranging as new objects arrive. We like a lively environment, but not clutter, so we retire some objects to storage for a rest.
Photography by Dianna Snape