It seems that what we've now come to expect as 'English country charm' or 'Parisian glamour' or even the multi-patterned tile/layered floor carpets/ vivid-hued wall riad of the 'Morocco/Casbah style' could be the inventiveness of an observant writer or two, sympathetic critics, an ambitious editor, savvy business-types, dreamy creative types, gullible patrons, and presto--fast forward to a style/movement/genre/of the school of . . . . Happens all the time in art, design, architecture, cinema, literature and fashion. It was a bit of a surprise that a purview of homes and buildings around the world show a lot of similarity, a lack of individuality, and reveal a format that could be seen throughout many of the 'triumphs' featured in Moscow, London, or Brazil. Image upon image have pressed themselves upon my roving eyes, and many without leaving a fragment worth remembering. Blank walls, expansive floors, modular furniture meant to convey the 'hip' or 'cool' factor, the requisite decorator object (lone tree-branch, a branch of coral, a sheep, sheep-skin rug or throw, a bust, a ball, a circle (painting by Hirst), a squeegeed formation by Nares, soup-cans, Brillo-boxes, and the play-book seems to have been studied and re-studied (all around the world!).
You may search in vain for clues of 'aussie' within this sitting room, as I have done repeatedly. Perhaps it required an Aboriginal dream painting above the fireplace or a couple of didgeridoos placed in the corner; maybe a photo of the famed Opera House (with its distinctive roofs evocative of ship sails) 'casually' leaning against the wall, or better yet, a bronzed Bondi Beach lifeguard in red swimming-briefs plopped on the velvet tufted settee. Then there would be ambiguity, for we'd immediately realize that we're in the land down under, 'where the women glow and men plunder.' I personally cannot vouch for either, but after twice watching Rabbit-proof Fence, I may have to agree with the latter claim*.
After first seeing this image, I returned three days later and delved further. Today's visual treat (by Australian design firm Hecker Phelan & Guthrie, www.heckerguthrie.com) is a Victorian mansion located in Melbourne. The Alma Road house project involved stripping down the interiors, yet retaining original moldings, mantels, and other fixtures. A complete review of the project can be viewed at www.yatzer.com/thealmahouse. In their handling of the project, the design firm has been lauded for their sensitivity to the character of the home and a very balanced and nuanced approach to the furnishings. Of the many projects that they have completed (both large and small), I found this one particularly beautiful and warm; as well as welcoming. Desirable characteristics of homes anywhere (in the world).
PS: Tonight's soundtrack is Bent's Cyclons In Love (programmed to love).
*courtesy of Men At Work