St Martins | A Cultivated Terrace Transformation

June 14, 2022
From the narrow street in South Yarra, this three-storey Victorian terrace shows its traditional hallmarks – wrought-iron lace detailing on its verandah and leadlight above the front door.

            St Martins | A Cultivated Terrace Transformation

Adjacent to a bluestone lane, the side entrance functions as the main point of arrival. And while the original few rooms of the terrace have been retained, the new wing, in perforated faceted steel, is unashamedly contemporary. It sets the tone for the new Poliform kitchen – which owners Andrew O’Brien and Cathryn McArthur, who have two young daughters, worked with Alessandro Spina from Poliform and director of namesake studio Kestie Lane to bring to life.

The original formal dining and living areas are now the open plan kitchen and dining area, with French doors leading to a compact front garden designed by Eckersley Garden Architecture. And while the leadlight remains, there’s a new glass front door that increases the light. “We wanted a strong European feel to the kitchen, something you might find in London or Brussels, something quite moody and textured,” Andrew says, who enjoys cooking and entertaining family and friends with Cathryn.

Artex is the ultimate kitchen solution for the most exclusive settings. The appliance pantry cabinet was customised with double-pocket doors, LED lamps, a fixed steel shelf, and an extractable steel table. The joinery enables the design to ‘read’ as kitchen furniture.

As the three-storey terrace is only six metres in width, the kitchen joinery extends into the dining area, with Poliform’s timber-stained joinery concealing everything from the fridge at one end to the freezer at the other, the latter not used as frequently by the couple. And in the middle, the cupboards reveal a pull-out stainless-steel shelf that allows for food preparation with appliances nearby. These cupboards don’t extend to the ceiling to enable the kitchen joinery to ‘read’ as furniture.

Pivotal to the design is the island bench, finished in Quartzite stone from Artedomus, as are the diamond-shaped tiles used for the splashback and also at the base of the island bench. “The bench feels more like leather, and the colours pick up on the bronze hue of the glass cabinets, one to conceal the flue and the other to display glasses,” Kestie says, pointing out the bronze and copper flecks in the island benchtop. Its deep drawers and ease of opening also appealed to Andrew and Cathryn, as well as Kestie’s suggestion to go with Rakumba pendant light designed by Adam Goodrum. The Rakumba pendant light comprises a series of moveable lights along a steel frame offering flexible and targeted lighting where it’s needed. “It certainly creates a sense of being in a gallery,” Kestie says, pointing out the bagged white painted brick wall that is part of the original Victorian terrace.

When it came to appliances, it’s Miele for the two ovens concealed within the kitchen joinery together with a Miele cooktop and Sub Zero for the fridge and freezer. “Things can be functional and still beautiful to look at,” Andrew says, who likes the fact that their kitchen isn’t the usual offering – shiny white with a strong dose of marble. And when the meals are ready, what better way to enjoy them than sitting at the Poliform dining table, finished with bronze glass and framed by deep teal leather-covered chairs. On warmer days, the doors to the front courtyard are left open and the smell of the barbeque draws the family outside.

The story was first published on Est Living, Words by Stephen Crafti / Interior Design by Kestie Lane Studio / Photography by Timothy Kaye

The kitchen island conceals a fully integrated Miele dishwasher and various waste bins. It also features a large undermount sink and drawers to house cutlery and a knife rack. Poliform’s streamlined veneer joinery concealed all appliances, including the Sub-Zero Integrated fridge and freezer, and Miele flush-mounted induction cooktop, oven, steam combi oven and warming drawer.
Our Concorde table is a sleek contrast to the dining room’s textural palette. Pairing with the Grace chair, which is both an aesthetic element and a practical solution to everyday living and dining needs.
The bedroom features our Kelly bed with an upholstered, curved bedhead, and the Kelly bedside table delicate lines that reference those of the bed, which they complement naturally.
The Senzafine walk-in closet reinterprets the wardrobe system in a light and elegant way without sacrificing the sturdiness assured by the thicker side panels. This wardrobe features sheer glass doors for streamlined organisation. Polished surfaces, transparency and lightness characterise the walk-in-robe. Sensor LED lamps illuminate the Poliform wardrobe.