James Fairfax Residence
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James Fairfax Residence

Freedman Rembel
George Freedman
Sharrin Rees

It's been his parkfront city residence in the prized Edward Street cul-de-sac since 1992.

The north-facing architectural gem with two bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms was custom-fitted internally by the internationally acclaimed George Freedman in the mid-1990s.

It fills with northerly light and parkland views from its compact 234 square metre holding.

The house itself has a simple structure - basically two rooms up and two down, with a corridor connecting the front and back rooms on both levels and the service rooms off the corridor.

On the ground floor we reprogrammed the rear of the house, so that what was formerly a dining area became the entrance hall with a secondary function as a formal dining room. Bathrooms and kitchen are in substantially the same places, enabling us to leave the vertical services where they were.

The principal rooms on both levels - the sitting room on the ground floor and the master bedroom above - had service areas intruding into them, making them an awkward L-shape, and we regularized that.

The windows were very small, and it was necessary to rearrange all fenestration, using large areas of glass, with some panes of obscure glass so that light is distributed evenly throughout the rooms.

In keeping with the minimalism of the concept, there is a concentration on four materials: white painted plaster walls on the staircase, which has been designed as a solid block that you walk up. Timber also provides colour and variety in the upper rooms. The master bedroom has a wall of olive walnut panels and the study has fittings of French ribbon ash.

The carpet in the upstairs rooms is our design, white stripes on a black background. As it's a strong pattern, we relieved it by laying an apron of timber flooring at the top of the stairs between the carpeted areas. In the upstairs rooms, walls and ceilings are continuous forms with deep curve connecting them - almost a kind of vaulting. So gradual is the transition that you are not conscious of the size of the room, only the proportions. It was inspired by a similar feature in the library of an Italian monastery, La Certosa di Padula, and the technique was perfect for this particular situation.

Some of the new furniture is our design - an ebony table and sideboard for the formal dining room, a sitting room cabinet in white lacquer and black glass, and the bedroom credenza and desk. The designs have been beautifully executed by a local firm, The Designing Pair.

It's only in the kitchen and bathrooms that we have departed from our basic four materials, using different finishes - the master Bathroom, for instance, has colour back glass, mirrors and marble mosaic tiles. But even in these areas, simplicity has been the key.

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Arne Jacobsen

KV1 One-handle mixer with ceramic disc technology, 360 degree double swivel spout with water saving aerator. Available with the option of 25 mm, 55 mm (M) or 100 mm (L) lever. Available in p...

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