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Grand old dame



Labassa’s colourful history

aus $9.95 (incl. GST)




68. Regulars




Beautiful products and services to inspire your next renovation




Your guide to every era of period architecture in Australia

114 Renovator’s Directory


Hit the road with us and discover the best places to stock up on unique vintage pieces, plus we get buying tips from an antique dealer



We demystify the rules and regulations surrounding heritage overlays, and take a peek at a renovation of an original Robin Boyd



Melbourne-born British Institute of Interior Design President Susie Rumbold takes us through an ambitious resoration of a Georgian palace in London

All the experts and services you need



Visit Labassa, a lavish 19th century mansion that was home to over 700 souls, from high society to boho royalty



From location scouting to interior design, meet the creative women helping to style and showcase homes of all shapes and sizes



Award-winning landscape gardener Ian Barker reveals how he creates spectacular gardens that complement period homes


Emma Clark Gratton heads to Mornington Peninsula to explore a historic stone house with two hectares of formal gardens, home to the iconic Diggers Club



137. 187.

Supplier’s Guide 118 Fences 121 Timber, Brick & Stone 125 Roofing 128 Exterior Decoration 137 Doors, Windows & Hardware 149 Walls & Ceilings 161 Floors 168 Fireplaces 173 Lighting 176 Bathrooms 183 Kitchens 187 Furniture




From the editor


hen it came to finding inspiration for this issue’s cover story, we broke out the big guns (‘Grand Old Dame’, page 20). Labassa is a 19th century mansion with ornate French Renaissance style interiors – from gilded wallpaper to a magnificent trompe l’oiel ceiling. It’s tucked away in a quiet Melbourne suburb and has been home to over 700 souls in its lifetime, as it transformed from boomtown mansion to rundown bohemian palace. Rescued from ruin by the National Trust, it now serves as a house museum, wedding venue and occasional set for the ABC TV series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. We get the inside story on Labassa’s colourful past from local historian Amber Evangelista. Hit the road with us and discover Australia’s best regional destinations for vintage and collectables shopping, and get tips on bagging a bargain from a third-generation antique dealer (‘Treasure Hunt’, page 30). Then meet the creative souls who help style and scout homes of all shapes and sizes for magazines, film and TV, or simply to live in (‘Profiles’, page 62). Award-winning interior designer Susie Rumbold takes us behind the scenes of an epic renovation project, restoring one of London’s Georgian palaces (‘Fit for Royalty’, page 52), and legendary landscaper Ian Barker guides us through his process for creating complementary gardens for period homes (‘A Timeless Oasis’, page 72). Emma Clark Gratton shares her experience of renovating a 1963 modernist masterpiece by Robin Boyd, along with advice on navigating the complex world of heritage overlays (‘House Rules’, page 42), and takes the family on a trip to Heronswood House & Gardens, home of the Diggers Club (‘Historic Heronswood’, page 80). Finally, dip into our Marketplace pages and comprehensive supplier guide to find products and tradespeople to help get you started on your own renovation – and let us know how it turns out!

publisher Ross Copeland Editor Cassy Polimeni SUB Editor Ross McGravie CONTRIBUTORS Emma Clark Gratton Manveen Maan Susie Rumbold DESIGNERS Kylie Mibus Eva Herzog Cathy Silvio National advertising MANAGER Sue Kallincos ADMINISTRATION & PRODUCTION Gina Copeland

CONTACT US publicity press ABN 31 005 490 068 1 Albert Street (PO Box 4331) Richmond VIC Australia 3121 Telephone (03) 9804 4700 Follow us on Pinterest All material in this issue is copyright © 2017 Publicity Press Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of the contents of this publication may be reproduced without the prior written consent of the publisher or editor. Articles represent the views of their authors and are not necessarily those of the publisher or editor. Contributions Pictorial and editorial contributions are welcome. Please contact us for guidelines:

Cassy Polimeni Editor

Advertising For a current ratecard and specifications, please contact Sue Kallincos on (03) 9804 4700 or email:


market Place Welcome to

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The AGA Total Control cooker QUALITY & CLASS

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The AGA Total Control cooker has the same cast-iron good looks for which the classic AGA heat-storage cooker is famous. Its cast-iron ovens are gentle on food and lock in moisture, flavour, and texture. AGA State-of-the-art technology changes everything, offering flexibility and independence not seen in an Aga until now. Whatever the season – you can tailor your AGA Total Control to suit you and your family’s lifestyle. Aga Shop Australia 330 Malvern Road, Prahran, Victoria Tel: (03) 9521 4965

the WINCHESTER collection Traditional designs with a modern twist, the WINCHESTER collection fuses organic florals with multi-coloured stripes and geometrics, presenting a diverse collection that is unique and distinctive. This lustrous soft touch fabric adds effortless charm to interiors in a style statement that is sophisticated yet inherently fresh. Warwick Fabrics Tel: 1300 787 888 For more information, visit



marketPlace DESIGN & DÉCOR Established in 1964, Cromwell has been importing and wholesaling some of the world’s finest products to the Interior Design and Decoration industry. Their exquisite ranges include high quality furniture, overhead lighting, mirrors, lamp bases and interior accessories.
A family owned and operated company, Cromwell is passionate about providing the highest quality products, designs and service to the interior design trade Australia-wide. CROMWELL For more information, visit


LET THE RIGHT ONE IN After 10 years, Rustica Hardware has finally made its way to Australian shores, and it’s here to give life to doorways around the country. The brand’s motto “Live In Art” truly represents their take on craftsmanship. They offer interior and exterior door options in a myriad of different shapes and styles. Even the hardware system that the doors run on can be customised to suit individual dimensions. Select a door and then select the appropriate hardware and your entrance way will become a feature and talking point with guests for years to come. Doors start from RRP $989, and hardware starts from RRP $499. RUSTICA HARDWARE Available nationally, for more information, visit

DOWN TO THE WIRE Emu Wire Industries have been manufacturing Heritage Woven Wire and Gates since 1991. Their wire fencing and ornamental gates will suit homes of all architectural periods. They provide the best quality products and value for money, and have 16 vertical pickets per meter. Emu Wire use One Steel LifeMax wire and their scrolls are made from Stainless Steel. EMU WIRE Tel: (03) 9308 5599 Email: 8 |


Steptoe’s Renovation Supplies is one of Australia’s largest suppliers of original and manufactured period style renovation products. Its extensive range includes original period pieces such as double-hung windows, casement windows, door entries, fireplaces, marble surrounds and even the odd kitchen sink. Plus, find reproduction vanity units, bathroom ware, cast-iron claw-foot baths, window and door hardware, and a wide selection of ceramic fireplace tiles. You’ll also find over 100-year-old recycled Oregon timber beams, which Steptoe’s skilled tradesmen use to create windows, doors, entries, French door units and bifold doors to suit the customer’s individual needs. It offers a paint-stripping service for doors, assorted timber and metal products, and a restoration service for timber mantelpieces and cast-iron inserts. The stock is endlessly changing, so for that original period piece, Steptoe’s is where you’ll find what you need. STEPTOE’S RENOVATION SUPPLIES 112 Rokeby Street Collingwood, Victoria Tel: (03) 9419 9366

Cover Story

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Cover Story

OLD DAME One of Australia’s most striking nineteenth century mansions, Labassa is a mirror of Melbourne throughout the ages, from boomtown to bohemian paradise and beyond WORDS: CASSY POLIMENI photographs: jessica hood & anthony basheer



Cover Story

THIS PAGE: Labassa’s imposing internal staircase, watched over by seasonal figures in the French Renaissance-style leadlight, created in the 1870s. OPPOSITE: The former Billiard Room includes a very early example of an electric powerpoint.

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Cover Story


ome to over 700 souls in its lifetime, the lavish mansion now known as Labassa has led a colourful existence. From Melbourne’s boom years when it sprouted new rooms and increasingly opulent interiors in tune with the rise of Melbourne’s elite, to the roaring 20s when a rotating cast of bohemian characters were in residence, life at Labassa has never been dull. This grand Victorian harbours many secrets – and one or two ghosts – within its elegantly crumbling walls. Its story begins in 1862 when it was built for Melbourne lawyer Richard A. Billing and dubbed Sylliot Hill. The property expanded in proportion to Billing’s success as a barrister and Queen’s Counsel, growing from an eightroomed home to a twenty-roomed mansion where Billing resided until his death in 1882. By the 1880s, Melbourne had established itself as one of the wealthiest and most

glamourous cities in the British Empire, with high-rise buildings springing up across the city in increasing numbers and the construction of the Renaissance-styled Royal Exhibition Buildings. It was amid this climate of opulence and rising success that Cobb and Co. coach company owner Alexander William Robertson acquired the property and commissioned architect John A.B Koch to transform it into a thirty-five roomed palace, with gilt embossed wallpapers, ornate stained glass and a trompe l’oeil ceiling. It was renamed Ontario, a reference to Robertson’s Canadian Heritage. In 1904 it was mining millionaire John Boyd Watson’s turn. He called the property Labassa and carried out repair and redecoration works before the grand mansion was unceremoniously subdivided into flats in 1920, some years after Watson’s death. In the years that followed, Labassa was home to pop stars, socialities, post-war migrants fleeing Europe

and Australia’s first silent film star. The parties got wilder and more notorious as the building fell into disrepair, until the National Trust came to the rescue in 1980, sparing Labassa from demolition and undergoing extensive works to bring it back to its former glory. We spoke to historian Amber Evangelista about the National Trust’s role, and Labassa’s colourful history. Tell us about your involvement with Labassa. I am lucky enough to be the Operations and Public Programs Coordinator at both Labassa and Como House. Day to day, this means making sure the beautiful 19th century mansion is maintained and protected, as well as introducing it to members of the public who may never have seen it before. We host fun public programs such as afternoon teas, ghost tours and mini-exhibitions. The PERIOD HOME RENOVATOR |


Cover Story

Labassa has had many incarnations. What has survived from each of these eras, and what has been destroyed? Labassa still retains traces from all of its incarnations, which is part of what makes it so special and unique. Throughout the mansion there are hints of different eras in the design and decorating, as well as reminders of the people who lived there that played an important role in shaping the mansion physically and culturally. For instance, there are visible points on the walls and floor from partitions erected when Labassa was divided into flats. If you look carefully, you can see the original markings of where the subdivided rooms began and ended. 24 | The PERIOD HOME RENOVATOR

In the early 20th Century, allotments of Labassa’s grand grounds were auctioned off and new suburban streets were formed. This means that aspects of the original grounds are now located on other properties or have been lost. Labassa’s grand iron gates were re-located to Maddingley Park, Bacchus Marsh in 1922, and can still be seen today. But Labassa retains most of its features from the 1890s, like beautiful embossed wallpaper and ceiling murals that hark back to the golden era of Marvellous Melbourne in the late 19th Century. When did the National Trust get involved? In 1980 Labassa was scheduled for demolition despite community efforts to save it. Luckily, the

National Trust was able to purchase the property and maintain it for future generations. The Trust undertook significant work, demolishing a block of flats to reveal Labassa’s wonderful vista from the street. Completed in 1890, the house is an example of ornate French Renaissance architecture. Its major features were designed by famed architect John Augustus Bernard Koch in the 1870s. Koch drew on classical elements of design, including classical masks, foliated scrolls, lion heads and grotesques in the creation of Labassa’s façade, which features impressive pillars and arches. The most striking external features of the property are the two caryatids which support the entrance porch. Internally, Labassa has

Cover Story

some beautiful examples of ornate embossed wallpapers, pillars, mouldings and ceramic work, as well as parquetry floors and tile work. It is certainly one of Melbourne’s most lavish examples of a 19th Century mansion. What are some of the restoration projects the National Trust has undertaken since acquiring Labassa? Recently the National Trust undertook a special project to restore Labassa’s tower, which looms over Labassa’s impressive parapets and bay windows. The tower was designed as an addition to the local skyline and in theme with Labassa’s architecture, so it was vital that it be properly restored. It was originally intended as a viewing

platform, with views to Arthurs Seat, the You Yangs and the Dandenongs. Incredibly, the tower itself was one of the rooms leased as a flat throughout the 20th century! There were extensive repairs to the exterior render of the tower to match the original render, as well as works on the window carpentry and the old box gutters behind the parapet. Internally, the ceiling laths and the flooring in the tower were repaired, and the original paint scheme revealed and restored. We have a fabulous conservation architect who we work with, as well as some fantastic specialist contractors, who were given additional training and advice from experts specifically for this project.

MAIN IMAGE: Light flooding through the bay window accentuates a feast of ornamentation in the Drawing Room. THIS PAGE, FROM TOP: From the lightness of the Drawing Room, the doorway leads to a dramatic hallway; the simplicity of two chairs is enough to complement the intricate detail of the Drawing Room. The PERIOD HOME RENOVATOR |


TREASURE HUNT Whether you’re putting the finishing touches on a home decorating project or looking for inspiration to get started, these regional treasure troves will surprise and delight WORDS: CASSY POLIMENI

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Antiques & Collectables


here’s something magical about getting lost among unique antiques and vintage wares. Few are immune to the thrill of discovery that comes from sifting through one-of-a-kind finds in search of that perfect piece, and wondering about the journey it has been on before finding its way into your hands. While there are plenty of places to get your fix in the city, some of our favourite finds have been sourced in regional boutiques and emporiums. So where should you start? Third-generation antique dealer Peter Valentine says it’s important to do your homework. “If you’re just starting out, educate yourself first. Spend some time building a relationship with local experts who specialise in a specific area, whether that’s ceramics, art or furniture. “I always pick a dealer I trust and try buying more than one item. Usually if you’re buying several items they will treat you with a great price, throw in free delivery or connect you with exclusive offers they may run during the year. It can really pay off in the long run. “Finally, buy what you love, buy the best quality you can afford, and it will reward you for many years to come.”

“Buy what you love, buy the best quality you can afford, and it will reward you for many years to come.” Peter is the third-generation owner of Valentine’s Antique Gallery and jokes he didn’t have much choice when it came to joining the family business. His grandfather started the company in 1947 and his father took over in the 1960s, expanding the empire to include an antique auction room showrooms, and new and used furniture stores. Forty years later, it was Peter’s turn. “Although we deal in fine ceramics, art and jewellery, some of my top finds were in furniture. I purchased the original boardroom table, which originated from one of Melbourne’s highly noted hotels, Young & Jackson. “I also acquired a grand English oak 19th century bookcase with all the family crests carved into all the lower door panels. I traced it back to Samlesbury Hall estate in Lancashire in the United Kingdom. Sadly, when land taxes rapidly increased in the 1970s, many owners were forced to sell off the contents to make payment. Hence the bookcase was sold to an Australian collector and then purchased by us.” As well as running his antiques business, Peter is Victorian president of the Australian Antique & Art Dealers Association (AAADA) which runs fairs annually in Melbourne (May) and Sydney (September), where you can view and purchase some of the finest art and antiques in Australia, and meet fellow antique lovers ( Over the past few decades, changing lifestyles have influenced buying habits when it comes to antiques and collectables, the most significant being increasing numbers of people moving into townhouses and apartments. Peter says this has increased demand for high-quality, smaller pieces of furniture, artwork, jewellery and porcelain, and adds that antiques have broad appeal that extends beyond period homes. “One of the most common misconceptions I hear from customers is that you have to have an old home for antiques. For more than a decade I have been helping clients and interior decorators furnish new, contemporary townhouses and apartments. Antiques look amazing in these settings and to be able to show off family heirlooms in this way is incredibly rewarding. “Enjoy being custodians for the next generation.” The PERIOD HOME RENOVATOR |


NEW SOUTH WALES With a colonial history dating back to 1788, New South Wales is modern Australia’s oldest state and home to eclectic antique stores with pieces that pre-date European settlement. Just an hour from Sydney, at the foot of the Blue Mountains, Peachtree Antiques stocks quality antique, vintage and retro items, and can seek out pieces especially for you ( Hazelbrook Cottage Antique Centre specialises in rustic country furniture, bush-made items and vintage advertising (33 Railway Parade, Hazelbrook), while Macarthurs Arcade is filled with antiques and rare and retro items, including furniture and glassware (84 Katoomba Street, Katoomba). Faulconbridge Antiques houses quality Victorian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco items ( Afterwards, reward yourself with a brew at Bygone Beautys, before wandering through their incredible teapot museum (

Further north, Colonial Rarities brings together rare antiques, collectables and curiosities ( at Newcastle, while Morpeth Antique Centre houses multiple artisans and dealers along with a central tea room in a rainforest setting ( Quaint Bangalow, a short distance from Byron Bay, is an antique haven, and you’ll find most stores within easy reach of one another along the main drag, Byron Street. Discover quality furniture and industrial artifacts at Raw Vintage (, or give your home an Asian flair with Vintage Eastern ( If you’re after an antique rug, head to Milton Cater Oriental Carpets ( King’s Antiques and Collectables at Bathurst is home to an extensive range of genuine English antique furniture, ceramics and teawares (, while Millthorpe’s Bowerbird Old Wares buys and sells antiques and collectables (15 Victoria Street, Millthorpe). In Orange, the Second Chance Collectables range covers everything from furniture and glassware to antique clocks ( Darcy’s Old Wares in Lucknow has treasures large and small, from Art Deco lamps to vintage movie seats ( The state’s largest inland city, Wagga Wagga is home to several stores stocking old and rare finds. There are Uneke Antiques, Homewares and Gifts (, John Wigg Antiques (Shop 18 Nelson Arcade, 117 Baylis Street) and The Venice Villa (Shop 8, Australian Arcade, 56 Fitzmaurice Street). There’s also an antiques and collectables fair every year in May where a diverse range of dealers cater to all tastes and budgets, from an antique thimble, to a grand Victorian chest ( In Australia’s capital city, Canberra, start at Collectorium on Newcastle for clocks and watches, jewellery and furniture, erotic and fine art ( Down Memory Lane specialises in clothing, but also sells crystal, china and glassware (, while the Canberra Antiques Centre brings together more than a dozen professional dealers, including Ellavale Collectables (

Antiques & Collectables


Brick Lane Bazaar

VICTORIA Victoria’s goldfields once attracted legions of prospectors who were seeking their fortunes. Today this region harbours treasures of a different kind, with a high concentration of antiques and collectables to tempt modern-day seekers. At Brick Lane Bazaar in Daylesford you’ll find vintage clothing, collectables and more (, while Kyneton’s Kabinett has industrial furniture, soft furnishings, paintings and vintage bric-a-brac ( In Castlemaine, you can’t go past the seemingly endless offerings at Restorers’ Barn, from gates and doors to kitchenware and furniture (restorersbarn., or XXXX Antique Complex, where you’ll find six showrooms overflowing with everything from vintage glass to automobiles ( In nearby Maldon, Main Street is lined with photogenic vintage shopfronts, with Beehive Old Wares & Collectables a highlight (72 Main Street). Maldon Collectables is home to vintage hand tools and jewellery (, and don’t miss the Maldon Antique and Collectables Fair in February (maldon. Further north you’ll find Fusspots ( FusspotsAtInglewood). On the picturesque Mornington Peninsula, Tyabb Packing House has a handy cafe to keep up your energy levels as you wander from room to room (, and The Bottom Drawer Antique Centre brings together 40 dealers selling antiques, retro, industrial and collectables (

In Geelong, stock up on furniture at Brougham Street Markets (, or Geelong Vintage Market, where two huge warehouses are divided into furniture/homewares and vintage/industrial ( Nearby Renovators Warehouse Direct offers quality reclaimed building materials, from stained glass windows to timber doors and flooring (, and How Bazaar houses a diverse collection by one dealer, rather than many ( Melbourne institution Schots Home Emporium also has a home in Geelong ( With multiple sites, The Mill Markets are well worth a visit. The Geelong chapter is based at Newcomb and is spacious and well organised with a variety of styles and an onsite cafe. There are also sites in Daylesford and Ballarat ( And if you prefer to do your shopping from the comfort of your own home, Bendigo-based online salvage store Renovate Restore Recycle ships Australia-wide ( The PERIOD HOME RENOVATOR |


Antiques & Collectables

TASMANIA With its colonial history and passionate antique dealers, Australia’s southernmost state is a treasure trove, which goes beyond the interesting stores you will discover along Salamanca Place and historic Battery Point in Hobart. Located in the Derwent Valley, New Norfolk is considered Tasmania’s antiques capital. The region’s most extensive antique dealer, Willow Court, is housed in an old asylum ( The Drill Hall Emporium specialises in silver, glassware, and oak and pine furniture (, while New Norfolk Antiques stocks furniture, glass and pottery from the 19th century to the 1930s ( Launceston’s historic buildings and heritage are a drawcard for visitors, as are auction houses like Tullochs ( and Armitage ( Check their websites for auction times. 1842 Gallery is the place to go for handcrafted Art Deco pieces and antique furniture ( West of Hobart, Sorell Antiques is a co-operative of 12 independent dealers stocking antique and cottage furniture, china, glassware and collectables (15 Somerville Street, Sorell), and Wildes Antiques of Campbell Town in Tasmania’s north has a constantly changing array of quality antiques and unusual collectables (



Written by: Verlag Light 12pt Phototgraphs by: Verlag Light 12pt

Freight medium Renovate Restore Recycle 5 minutes with Christian Bloomfield from

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SOUTH AUSTRALIA The rich heritage of South Australia is reflected in its antique offerings. Yankalilla Trading Store on the Fleurieu Peninsula sells second-hand furniture and goods from the eras, deco, retro and modern eras (87-89 Main Street, Yankalilla). The town and surrounding areas are worth exploring beyond Main Street, with a variety of thrift and second-hand stores inresidence. Heading inland, Antique Bazaar of Strathalbyn is South Australia’s premier country antique market, with 11 expert stallholders in its well-designed showroom ( In the Adelaide Hills, Magnolia at Oakbank has vintage furniture and mirrors and beautiful china and fabrics ( The Warehouse Woodside (51a Onkaparinga Valley Road, Woodside) specialises in tools and hardware, for lovers of industrial chic. In Hahndorf, Grass Roots Vintage is all about vintage rustic rural recycled industrial furniture and collectables (30 Mount Barker Road, Hahndorf), and Hugo’s has quirky, one-off pieces (Shop 1, 87 Main Road Hahndorf), while Cammies Antiques at Paringa has furniture, china, glassware, collectables and more (

Antiques & Collectables

WESTERN AUSTRALIA In Australia’s largest state, regional antique dealers are far-flung but worth the drive. Denmark Antiques, Books and Collectables is a Tudor-style shop boasting colonial furniture dating back to George IV, and books from as early as the 1600s ( For retro and rustic relics in Geraldton, including china, metalware, furniture and kitchenalia, head to GSB Antiques and Collectables ( Waroona’s Drakesbrook Antiques & Collectables specialises in china (, while Deco Downunder has a collection of vintage figurines ( In the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie there’s antique dealer and auction house Mills & Warner (139 Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie), and in picturesque Margaret River you can stock up on antique clocks, glassware, ceramics and sculptures at Margaret River Antiques, before bunking down for the night in its fully appointed antique guest suite (

QUEENSLAND House of Treasures at Rockhampton has antiques, estate furniture and jewellery, silverware and collectables (, while Flaxton Barn is a treasure trove of antiques and traditional homewares along with a cafe and unique gifts ( Geordie Lane Antiques and Tea Rooms is home to more than 5000 antique, vintage and retro collectables ( Bid on antique and second-hand items at Sunshine Coast Auctions (, or head to The Dayboro Shed in the scenic Dayboro Valley, where you’ll find antique and vintage furniture, glass, china, kitchenalia and “blokey gear” ( On the Gold Coast, discover vintage and antique collectables and jewellery at Sanctuary Antiques in Sanctuary Cove (, while Runaway Bay Antique and Arts Centre has paintings, sculptures, furniture, mirrors, ceramics and glassware ( Heading inland, Yesterdays Collectables at Ipswich buys and sells antiques, collectables, Australian pottery and bric-a-brac (, and Graham Lancaster Auctions in Toowoomba has all manner of memorabilia, from antique bottles and stoneware to rare clockwork toys ( PHR The PERIOD HOME RENOVATOR |


Interior DESIGN Fashions come and go, but true style is eternal. Find out how you can get a look that won’t date



with Justin Bishop

What are people looking for when they come to you? Guidance, reassurance, and experience. Interior design can be overwhelming when tackling it for the first time. My clients are looking for assistance in defining their own style and in creating a design scheme covering all their needs. This usually leads to the construction of a detailed renovation plan and guidance through an entire project from start to finish.


ew design trends are appearing all the time, and it can be tempting to succumb to the latest colours, styles and interior features. But trends fade, how do you get a look that will last? Melbourne based interior designer Justin Bishop is passionate about timeless style, and brings life experience and industry expertise to his work, resulting in an elegant, ageless quality. Justin was raised at historic ‘Pigeon Bank’, his family’s ancestral home in Melbourne’s Yarra Valley, where he joined his family in the passionate restoration of the property. During his childhood he developed an innate sense of period style and traditional craftsmanship, skills he has honed and perfected throughout his life. As a young adult he studied graphic design, theatre design and fine art, however it was the ‘hands on’ approach to design developed at ‘Pigeon Bank’ that inspired him the most. Throughout his design career, Justin has worked in a variety of creative fields, developing a passion for the creative process; and always demonstrating an absolute sense of style. Justin founded his interior design company over 10 years ago and has since designed an extensive number of versatile projects throughout the country, from the most elegant urban residences to casual weekend retreats and innovative commercial interiors. Based in Melbourne, Victoria, Justin turns out cool, calm, and collected spaces with a distinctive masculine edge and sophisticated yet evocative atmospheres. They are full of smart neutral fabrics, dark-wood furniture, soulful patinas and strong silhouettes. He uses eclectic accessories, often set against walls painted chalk-white to heighten the poetic effect. His aim has always been to offer classic, timeless design, with lasting beauty and elegance. “While I work in all styles of design, from traditional to contemporary, my work always demonstrates my signature design philosophy – a classic, sophisticated blend of different looks together, balanced with my client’s lifestyle, to create a truly individual style.”

how can our readers get an authentic heritage look when renovating? Every decision should be sympathetic to the period style they are trying to achieve. All elements of the design scheme should work as a whole to create a cohesive and harmonious sense of period authenticity. The style and era of their home should be identified early on in a project, taking every element into consideration. From the largest architectural features to the smallest interior design details.

Through his business ‘Justin Bishop Style & Design’ he offers a range of services. From simple makeovers to extensions, renovations and new properties, he works in both commercial and residential sectors. From floor plans and colour choices to furniture, lighting, accessories and garden, Justin offers style tips and advice or full-scale project management.


0419 669 949

What are your favorite or signature products to use? I love using natural products in my design projects, leather, timber, wool, linen and silk, for example. Of course, technology has brought us some amazing faux products as well, and these do sometimes sneak into my schemes. Engineered oak flooring has come a long way and features in a lot of my homes. What trends do you forecast for the year ahead? In 2017 we will see a more minimal approach to design. As much as I love my signature ‘controlled clutter’, a simple edited design scheme can, at times, be a breath of fresh air. Homes featuring well selected signature pieces, rather than overwhelming collections of items, will be the thing. Best piece of advice for renovators? Take your time to research everything thoroughly before you begin. A good renovation doesn’t happen overnight. Arm yourself with the best advice and don’t be afraid to call a professional to guide you through the process. It will save you time and help you avoid making costly mistakes.



THIS PAGE: Overlooking Hyde Park, the principal drawing room is located on the first floor and features 19th century panelling and a faithfully recreated plaster ceiling. OPPOSITE: English oak parquet flooring connects reception rooms with Hyde Park beyond.




One of London’s great Georgian palaces has been resurrected over a three-year period in a stunning restoration masterminded by British Institute of Interior Design President Susie Rumbold. She shares the inside story



tanding by Marble Arch, on a prominent corner overlooking Hyde Park, is one of London’s last great town palaces. It has a floor area of 1500 square metres, 10 bedrooms all with en suite bathrooms, three principal reception rooms, two family reception rooms, a morning room, a magnificent oak-panelled library, four kitchens, a 12-seat cinema, indoor swimming pool, wine cellar, spa and gym. Originally built in the 1830s and decorated in an austere Georgian style, the house was bought and renovated in the 1890s by a wealthy young couple (he went on to found NatWest Bank) in the French Rococo style. The surviving interior, retaining elements from both these phases of development, ended up an eclectic but lovely mix of the classical and the frou frou. It was used as a hospital by the Canadian Red Cross during World War 1, turned into flats in the 1930s, and then hit by a flying bomb in the London Blitz during World War 2. As if that wasn’t ill treatment enough, a lift shaft was driven through the middle of the stone cantilevered staircase when the building was unsympathetically turned into offices in the 1970s. When I first saw the property, it was in a very sorry state. It had been standing empty for a decade, there was no electricity, the roof was failing and the English rain was coming in. Despite being trashed, as a historic building it was hugely protected, so the first thing we had to do before any restoration work could begin, was get permission to turn it back into a single house, and then get further consents for all the detailed renovation and reinstatement works. Absolutely everything – from the cornices and the parquet floors, to the The PERIOD HOME RENOVATOR |



“When I first saw the property, it was in a very sorry state. It had been standing empty for a decade, there was no electricity, the roof was failing and the English rain was coming in.” mantlepieces – had to be historically correct for each room and be pre-approved by the planners. In all we submitted more than 30 complex applications to Westminster City Council and discharged dozens of planning conditions over a two-year period. Most houses of this age and size are what we describe as “top heavy”. That is, they have too many bedrooms for the amount of living space needed by a modern family. Typically, this is why everyone builds ground-floor rear extensions onto old buildings, but in an urban landlocked site, this was not an option, so we decided instead to dig out a basement under 54 | The PERIOD HOME RENOVATOR

the whole footprint of the property and create a palatial leisure floor below the house. This was a difficult exercise involving engineers and piling specialists, and took a whole year to complete, but the resulting space houses a 10m x 4m swimming pool, a gym, massage room, changing rooms, steam room, Jacuzzi, wet bar, spiral wine cellar and cinema. One of the biggest structural issues with the dig was our proximity to the London Underground. The central line runs under the road directly in front of the house, which meant that trains could be clearly heard rattling past from inside the cinema.

While the digging was going on, we were busy upstairs carefully stripping out all the unsympathetic later additions, so that we could assess what we were actually dealing with. By looking carefully at the old paintwork we were able to find ghosted shapes of the original mouldings, which allowed us to accurately replicate the profiles of architraves and dado rails. I get a real kick out of doing this sort of building detective work, and it’s really satisfying when you can faithfully reinstate those vanished decorative features. It was during this phase that we began to discover some of the terrible repairs that had


MAIN IMAGE: The 18th century French oak panelling in the ground-floor library has been painstakingly restored. THIS PAGE FROM TOP: The library as it looked before its restoration; an authentic period feel is preserved with clever storage solutions for modern conveniences, like this marble-topped, faux antique cabinet which conceals an air conditioning unit; Rococo plaster and panelling details.





Meet Jo Johnson, the woman behind photographic location company, Photoloco


ave you ever wondered if the picture-perfect home in a magazine advertisement, or the quirky pad where your favourite TV characters congregate is real? Chances are, it is. It might even be a place you walk past every day. Location companies are always on the hunt for homes to star in everything from product shoots to feature films, and all homes, styles and periods are welcome. We caught up with Jo Johnson, the owner of location management company Photoloco, to hear the story behind the scenes. The decision to run Photoloco was an easy one. It’s a perfect mix of my love of interiors, architecture, meeting interesting people and taking on new challenges on a daily basis. Like a lot of women my age I am a full-time working mother, and my girls – Olivia and Sophie – are my motivator. I consider myself

very lucky to have a balance between home, family, friends and work. My background is in magazine publishing, and I later moved into marketing. I was introduced to [location] scouting while working for a boutique production agency, and I instantly fell in love with all aspects of the job. I love finding interesting spaces and meeting the people who have designed and built them, or who simply get to live in and enjoy them. Photoloco was founded by Gabrielle Patterson, a mother who saw an opportunity and jumped on it. She started out by dropping scouting cards in letterboxes as she pushed the pram around her neighbourhood. Photoloco quickly grew a database of diverse and interesting homes. New locations are in constant demand among agencies, photographers and stylists, so it didn’t take long for Photoloco to be

the number one locations company in Australia. Six years on, myself and my then business partner Jane Reid were offered the option to buy Photoloco and grow it. It’s the best business decision I have ever made. We now have staff and have tripled our listings as well as our client base – and there are still so many beautiful homes, big and small, to discover. Location scouting is about finding the perfect location for a client and their brief. We make it as easy as possible for everyone, and we all try to have a lot of fun along the way. Our homes mostly appear in print – whether that is paper or magazines – plus window fronts, digital and more. Our client list is diverse, ranging from consumables to fashion and homewares. Our first listed home came through a friend of a friend. Referrals are our main vehicle for finding homes, however given my passion for

“Location scouting is ... a perfect mix of my love of interiors, architecture, meeting interesting people and taking on new challenges daily.” The PERIOD HOME RENOVATOR |


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architecture and great design I am always on the look out for new homes to add to my listing. We follow so many beautiful locations through architectural websites and social media and I sometimes get that “we must have it!” feeling. If I find one I’m not shy to knock on that door and introduce the owner to Photoloco. Quite often, when we reach out and share how easy the entire process is we get positive outcomes. We never forget that a person’s house is their home and we always ensure that our clients who hire the space are very respectful of that. When Photoloco is referred on we take this as a huge compliment on how we conduct our work. We receive new briefs every day and every brief is different. It all comes down to what the client is looking for. It’s not always the most beautiful, modern, vintage or grand home that

wins the job. The client might be looking for a gorgeous family garden, a balcony with sea views or even a functional laundry. We consider all types of properties and locations in an effort to always be able to meet the brief.Once we’ve found a home we want to list, it’s all about maintaining good communication with the home owner. We are very thorough, so we can guarantee no surprises for the home owner on the day of the shoot. It never ceases to surprise me how welcoming people are when we visit their homes. It is absolutely tremendous and meeting such lovely people on a daily basis is one of the reasons I love this job. PHR If you are interested in listing your property, contact Jo on 0448 107 007 or visit

this page and opposite: Some of the homes represented by Photoloco. “We consider all types of properties. It’s not always the most beautiful, modern, vintage or grand home that wins the job,” says owner Jo Johnson. The PERIOD HOME RENOVATOR |


The Period Home Renovator 2017 Edition  

For over a quarter of a century, The Period Home Renovator has been a bible for owners and renovators of period homes. With real-life renova...

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