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forest nest


The colour palette was derived from the site – from the surrounding bush lands near Lake Macquarie.

The client’s brief was to renovate the 1980s kitchen that was unfunctional and busting at the seams, and create a colourful, workable multifunctional space with a copper sink, to complement the home and its location by the nature reserve with views of Lake Macquarie NSW. The existing site was a dark U shape configuration with minimal storage. Functional spaces were required to be integrated into the kitchen zone to enable our clients to work from home at a hidden computer, and to iron while observing their three young children, in an area that could quickly be packed away. The clients also wanted a quick accessible toy storage area for kids to self-access their toys. With another on the way, the layout needed to ensure that the family could live, work and play in a connected way with children in plain sight. The timeline from design to construction was the remaining 7 months of the pregnancy.

Green and white kitchen

Designing coloured custom made multi-functional joinery was the fundamental design solution for this family home. Nine separate zones of joinery in a coordinating palette derived from the local reserve and natural surroundings were created within the kitchen and adjoining mudroom creating ample storage and provided full workability and relationship between the spaces.

Green and white kitchen and dining room

The once dark and foreboding kitchen was completely opened up to ensure a light filled open home with separate but connected spaces full of peaceful soft greens and neutrals for the activities of a busy family.

The Resene Peace mudroom at the home’s entrance was critical to set the scene and create a sense of arrival. This provided a plethora of storage that concealed video equipment, school bags, shoes, cricket bags and sporting equipment. The arched mirror on the Resene Nocturnal wall created depth and reflected the lounge room and view of the lake.

Green and white kitchen - inspired by the forest

A modern green and white kitchen

The client’s husband promised her a copper sink when they got married 10 years ago and it was time to make that dream come true. The colour palette was derived from the site – from the surrounding bush lands near Lake Macquarie with shaker style door mouldings in soft timeless sage green and white joinery in Resene Peace and SJW Blot coloured by Resene with rustic copper lighting, butlers sink, tap and architectural hardware and matt charcoal black seating solutions with natural timber veneer shelving. These were complemented with a white and copper toned Dekton waterfall island bench. This Entzo benchtop was then extended into the outdoor BBQ area behind the kitchen window.

Crisp white lounge

The clients wanted two, beautiful bathrooms that would serve their growing, young family well into the future. They wanted the previously sectioned off main bathroom to be one, large, functional space incorporating a free-standing bath, separate shower, concealed WC and double vanity. They also wanted to keep the existing laundry chute access to the laundry, which was built into the new vanity. Ergonomics was the key with family members from newborn to six foot seven in height, so baths, showers, vanity heights all accommodated for this. They particularly wanted a transformative experience in the ensuite to mirror the style of the main bathroom with the added glamour of a dressing room with custom joinery and elegant lighting.

Green and black home interior

Modern home furnishings

The clients wanted a bathing space that felt like they were in a hotel on a holiday and fell in love with Ezzari Australia’s Cocktail Tomahawk glass mosaic tile. This tile, which combines the brilliant hues of the home’s ‘Forest Nest’ style, mixed with textures of various glass mosaic ranges, set the scene for the bathroom. The versatility of this palette’s alignment with the painting scheme provided a perfect fusion of elegant lux, colour and style, enabling the luxury hotel look they desired in their home. The existing main bathroom was previously sectioned into three areas, WC, shower and bath. A vanity area was demolished entirely. All superfluous walls were removed to create one large open space, that still maintained privacy in the WC area with a feature mosaic wall.

Green and white home office space

White kitchen pantry

It was important to retain the existing laundry chute in the vanity joinery, and to ensure plenty of room so that parents could move around and watch over the children while being bathed. It was also important to conceal the WC, so a wall was constructed to ensure privacy upon entering the room.

The colour palette for the Forest Nest interior was derived from the site, and surrounding bush lands near Lake Macquarie with soft timeless sage green and white, rustic copper, blush ghost gum pinks, watery greys, solid matt charcoal black warm ochres and verde greens. Colours are deliberately pared-back in the interior to blend with the natural surrounding environment and assist to maintain a comfortable timeless palette.

Modern black home entryway

White home hallway

This colour palette was created by taking a photograph from the clients’ backyard and running it through the Resene colour palette generator to extract a site specific scheme for the interior. This resulted in a palette of Resene Peace, Resene Nocturnal, SJW Blot and SJW Military Grey – all referencing the natural reserve, ghost gums and local surroundings. Resene Zylone Sheen was used on most walls as an easy to maintain liveable solution for a growing family, which is also Environmental Choice approved paints Woodwork was finished in Resene Alabaster using Resene Lustacryl to create clean contemporary and durable finishes to old woodwork and new doors, with Resene Alabaster repeated on the ceiling throughout.

White window seat

Kitchen furnishings

Kitchen shelving

The Resene testpot colours were also sustainably reused in the actual painting of a commissioned artwork in the hallway by Catherine Whitting – creating a large abstract painting and a series of limited edition prints in the Resene colour palette from the site.

The biggest design challenge was providing the amount of storage required within the open plan space, while being able to maintain the view to the forest vista outside. This was overcome with the use of narrow joinery colour matched to the walls that essentially wrapped around the windows and provided multifunctional solutions that met the needs of the brief. Within the joinery the chaos of daily domestic life was concealed with a hidden computer office, concealed ironing board, four-station rubbish and recycling zone and built in toy boxes for each of the three children within a sunlit window seat, plus an area for nursing the new-born baby.

Designed for a growing family with a new-born on the way, Forest Nest is the embodiment of all that a home should be, a functional sanctuary to relax in, enjoy life, with a place for everything and everything in its place. It is a home where everything has its place and there is a place for everything. This provides sustainable storage and decluttering for a busy family.

Resene Peace

Architectural specifier: Kate St James and Catherine Whitting, St James Whitting
Building and painting contractor: G&C Builders
Client: Cameron and Zoe Bullus
Joinery: Tony De Leo, Zarella Kitchens
Photographer: Liz Kalaf
Project: Resene Total Colour Awards 2020

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