The clients were of Italian heritage with great style, and love to cook, so the house balances the grand and the relaxed – moments that are impressive and theatrical, and those that are about family, friends and food.

Rob Mills

Kenley Court is set on substantial land in the Melbourne suburb of Toorak and presents a façade of restrained grandeur and formality.

A colonnade of fruit trees relaxes the approach to the house through a gravel path and a mannered garden by landscaper Paul Bangay. There is also an extensive vegetable patch in the rear garden.

The extraordinary front door is pivotal to the project in terms of its heritage and proportion. Sourced by Rob Mills, from a prestigious antique dealer in Melbourne, the 19th-century Italian door sets the scene and the scale. Framed by columns, which form a deep loggia, it ensures that the sense of arrival feels complete.

While traditional in style, the floor plan of the house is contemporary in its flow and in providing access to light and the outdoors. Generous custom-designed, steel-framed windows and doors work in tandem with an interior of render and stone, executed by the best Italian craftsmen. The result is an elegant space for contemporary living in a design that reflects the client’s heritage and aspiration, and allows them to personalise with their own taste in furniture and art.

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