Natural finishes and a warm heart

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INTERIOR designer Jayne Miller and her architect husband Kevin have created a quirky, cool home full of beautiful old furniture and repurposed treasures with a neutral backdrop of timber and clean lines that represents the two of them – even if their friends sometimes don’t understand their style.

“Some people don’t get it, and have asked if we’re going to leave the brick wall exposed or if we really intended the floor to be blue,” laughs Jayne.

The inner-north, 1954 duplex was renovated six years ago by the couple, while their two sons Henderson and Campbell were still small. They lived in the house for seven years before settling on a design they loved – adding a striking black wooden-clad double-storey extension to the front, designed by Kevin.

“If we had extended into the back we would have lost most of the yard, so it made sense to go out the front,” says Kevin.

“This also works well as the extension is oriented to the north, whereas the house isn’t.

“The black was inspired by Japanese architecture, and the way they burn and blacken their timber to make it impervious to water and insects.”

The couple say they have quite different styles, but that the home happily combines the two.

“I like clean lines and concealed, commercial style, which is why we chose warm timber ceilings and custom-built timber joinery as room dividers,” Jayne says. “The results are incredible, especially the huge pantry that divides the kitchen and the dining room.

“Kevin is an environmentalist and is keen to reduce and re-use wherever possible. He’s always bringing home odd bits and pieces like the planters out the front which are old washing machine drums.”

Kevin says: “We’ve used recycled timber on the kitchen bench, floors and windows.

“All the windows are double glazed, we’ve installed water tanks and we have ceiling fans instead of air-conditioning.”

With designer touches, such as an Eames lounge chair and ottoman, sitting alongside furniture from the ‘40s and ‘50s that was passed down by relatives, the home is eclectic, warm and inviting.

“We like the colours in the house to come from nature, the warmth from timber, the natural green of glass and a neutral palette of black, grey and white,” says Jayne.

“The natural finishes do need maintenance, but it’s not arduous and we quite enjoy it.”

It’s a sociable house, too, says Jayne, with a stunning kitchen in glass and timber forming the heart of the home.

“Whenever we have people over we always seem to congregate around the kitchen bench, which is an old workbench that came from a relative’s place in Mount Gambier,” she says.

“The removalists couldn’t believe we wanted it in the kitchen and kept checking it wasn’t meant to go in the shed!”

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Kathryn Vukovljak
Kathryn Vukovljak is a "CityNews" journalist with a particular interest in homes and gardens.

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