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2023 Australian Interior Design Awards Celebrate Australia's Best in Design


I’m delighted to share the winners of the 2023 Australian Interior Design Awards. The prestigious Award for Residential Design was presented to the acclaimed Madeleine Blanchfield Architects for Nine-Square Bondi. The jury celebrated its embodiment of local Australian design, remarking that “it has a soul and a real sense of home.” 

Madeleine Blanchfield Architects for Nine-Square Bondi (Award for Residential Design, Commendation for Residential Decoration and Best of State Award for Residential Design) / Photography: Anson Smart

Nine-Square Bondi was also awarded the Best of State for Residential Design (NSW) and a Commendation for Residential Decoration.  A stunning home with soul and intimacy, the jury acknowledged the impressive resolve of complex spatial issues, stating “it displays an elegant spatial resolution, clarity in its expression and sophisticated curation of objects and furnishing that take the home to another level.”

The Award for Residential Decoration went to JCHQ’s compelling Piccolo Palazzo, with the jurors labelling it a project that outshines the constraints of its plan to “display innovation and a strong sense of emotion”, balancing contemporary design with vintage influences to capture the individuality of the client.

jcHQ for Piccolo Palazzo (Award for Residential Decoration) / Photography: Sean Fennessy

Amongst other notable accolades, Breathe’s Nightingale Skye House received a Commendation for the Sustainability Advancement Award, a Commendation for Residential Design, and Best of State for Residential Design (VIC).

Breathe for Nightingale Skye House (Commendation for the Sustainability Advancement Award, Commendation for Residential Design, and Best of State for Residential Design (VIC)) / Photography: Tom Ross

Fiona Lynch Office for Melbourne Penthouse (Commendation for Residential Design and Commendation for Residential Decoration) / Photography: Sharyn Cairns

Nüüd Studio for Monty Sibbel (Commendation Residential Design) / Photography: Tom Ross

Simone Haag for The Whiskey Room (Commendation Residential Decoration) / Photography: Timothy Kaye

For the full list of 2023 award winners, take a look here. 

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A Renovation in Montreal Combining Elegance and Architectural Heritage


The Montpellier Residence, designed by Vives St-Laurent, is nestled in the charming setting of Saint-Bruno on the South Shore of Montreal. With its winding streets and mature trees, this architectural gem was built in the late 1960s by a local architect. Today, it proudly holds a place in the cultural heritage repertoire, celebrated as an iconic representation of Mid-Century aesthetics in Quebec.

Described by the Vives St-Laurent team as characteristic of North American bungalows, this modern residence stands out with its interplay of volumes and clean lines. Comprised of three separate single-story volumes, connected by a glass corridor, the house is completely clad in brick, and the interior is deliberately pared back allowing the expressive nature of the materials to take centre stage. 

The main challenge for the design team was to achieve a significant transformation while preserving the architectural aesthetic established by the original architect. While the initial brief focused on renovating the living areas including the vestibule, kitchen, dining room, lounges, and powder room, various interventions were also carried out to improve comfort, such as opening up the kitchen to provide a view of the courtyard and maximise natural light.

Wanting a space that would reflect their timeless and unique identity, the clients requested that the Vives St-Laurent team spend a few days in the house to better understand its atmosphere, lighting, and functionality. Beginning in the vestibule, which connects the front and rear courtyards and serves as a transition between the day and night areas, the design pays careful attention to detail. The front door, with its oversized pivot-mounted structure and circular handle, stands out as a design element that echoes the style found in the kitchen cabinetry.

The natural and timeless texture of the slate flooring has been carefully restored to retain its original beauty. In addition, the staircase railing leading to the basement has been repainted in a light shade, seamlessly blending with the contemporary updates in other parts of the space. Further preservation of the skylight and the dark wood ceiling cladding pay homage to the original finishes and add to the overall character of the design.

From the vestibule, there are two openings leading to the main living areas. The first entrance reveals a cosy seating area and dining room, while the second access leads to a comfortable living room and an informal workspace. In the heart of the home, the kitchen features an elegant Taj Mahal stone island that serves as the focal point. With its sleek and cantilevered design, the monolithic counter makes a bold statement. The unpolished stone surface in brown and beige hues adds a distinctive charm that blends seamlessly with the carefully chosen materials, including the dark stained oak and lacquered cabinets.

The interior features a considered curation of furniture and lighting by Danish design brands Menu, Frama, Nor11 and &Tradtion, alongside locally sourced pieces from élément de baseGR Shop and A-N-D

Lime wash plaster in a custom neutral tone contrasts beautifully with the surrounding brick and infuses the main living areas with texture. The restoration process involved a meticulous collaboration between the client and the contractor to find the perfect mortar shade ensuring a coherent integration with the surrounding elements. Furthermore, the sanitary block, covered in dark oak, pays homage to the original wood-clad ceiling of the entrance, preserving the historical charm and adding a touch of sophistication.

Throughout the home, the use of natural oak flooring by Unik Parquet and a palette of soft beige tones create cohesion between different areas while striking the perfect balance between elegance and modernity.

Carefully tailored for a family of four, the renovation seamlessly preserves the home’s charm and mid-century style, while thoughtfully opened partitions elevate the living experience, creating a functional and harmonious environment.


Project manager: Léa Courtadon
Contractor: Habitations Renaud
Photography: Alex Lesage

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Alto by Jolson


Alto by Jolson Architecture and Interiors embodies a conscientious response to the theme of blending modern and traditional elements frequently observed in Melbourne's inner suburbs. The concept of a fold was employed to go beyond the boundaries of a conventional brick house, curving to fit the site's unique footprint. This architectural approach allowed for the creation of new spaces that purposefully interact with the period features of the original building while meeting the needs of a modern family.

The significant renovation retains the features which bind it to its neighbours, though, beyond the familiar red brick, an irregular play of window forms and verdant garden is a layering of texture and modernisation subtly gradated throughout the home. Inside this threshold, the arrival space is full of light. Jolson’s double-height void has been crafted to allow a moment of harmony between new and old where the spiral stair is a simple gesture to complement the original windows, intentionally positioned away from the walls to establish a meaningful interaction through its separation. A subtle shift is felt between the natural light entering through the windows and that emanating from the newly installed fixtures, strategically placed to bounce off the walls and seamlessly blend with the existing light, resulting in an indistinguishable integration.

While the interiors are pared back relative to the ornate architectural features, a different style of detailing is layered through a textured palette of finishes and furnishings. Generous swathes of linen pool on the floorboards, their fluidity contrasting the angular splayed lines of the dining table leg. Subdued tones provide a soft backdrop to highlight the fine detail of finishes, such as the hand-sanded veneer in the Ceccotti credenza.

The strength of Alto’s character is best felt in the kitchen and living area where the seemingly soft palette is crafted from robust materials to provide functional family spaces. The kitchen bench follows the bend in the architecture, the shared turning point creating a moment which anchors every theme of the house. This bend allows the kitchen to be simultaneously oriented toward the dining and living family spaces. In the living, a red daybed blends with its backdrop as autumn turns the leaves, then remains as a moment of delight as the colour pops against hues of green.

While the entry stair represents the formal language, a second stair acts as the counterpoint to allow the flow of daily life to circulate, direct and unimpeded. This route takes us up to the family’s retreat. Here the kids’ rooms are identifiable by their favourite colours and personally curated with rugs and furnishings.

From the sculpted firewood tray to the waxed plaster walls, the play of texture is discernible purely through visual connection. As you wander further into the house, it is the feeling of pure silk underfoot in the Behruz rug, the cool steel guide of the handrail, or the brush of skin against a bush-hammered bench that makes you feel one with this home. Alto celebrates the nuance of architectural renovation, stitched together with a deft hand to blend its interior spaces with grace.


Interior Design: Jolson 
Photography: Lucas Allen

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