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A Light and Airy Nordic Inspired Renovation in Melbourne by norsu Design


Today I’m sharing a new project from norsu Interiors, the Melbourne-based retail boutique and interior design studio founded in 2013 by Nat Wheeler and Kristy Sadlier. Long-time friends of TDC, the business initially started as an online store but grew rapidly, opening its first physical store within a year. Well-loved for its Scandinavian-inspired homewares, furniture, and artwork, norsu’s mission is to help their community create a home that they love coming back to every day, along with simple and easy styling tips to transform the way we live. In 2017, after completing and sharing a renovation on Nat's family home, they established the norsu Design team of interior designers and decorators who now work on home projects across Australia. Their latest project, the Malvern Residence, is a gorgeous transformation of a Victorian home that exemplifies the light, bright and airy style norsu is known for.

The previous Victorian-style floor plan consisted of a small kitchen, one bathroom for the whole family, a living and dining area that the family had outgrown and a poorly designed and disjointed back living space add-on. “We knew the house needed to be re-stumped from the moment we bought it and that was going to be a big job, so we just waited until we knew what we wanted to do,” says owner Skye, who shares the home with her husband Andrew and their teenage children Henry and Lucy.

Skye engaged interior designer Lauren Bartlett-Bragg from norsu Design with a vision to create a modern, Scandinavian-inspired home, after seeing the transformation of norsu owner Nat Wheeler’s family home over Instagram several years ago. “As a first-time renovator I knew roughly the look and things I wanted but didn't have the confidence to put it all together - especially with the fixtures and finishes,” explains Skye.

The original colours of the home were dark, with deep blue carpets, yellow cream walls and orange-toned floorboards. When it came to her reno non-negotiables, Skye’s number one was a light, bright, open and airy house with plenty of clever storage solutions, separate living room spaces for the adults and children, and functionality without sacrificing beauty. The key renovation elements included an extension of the back of the home to create a large open-plan living, kitchen and dining area, a dual workspace study, a hardworking laundry zone with multiple drying cupboards, and the addition of a separate studio in the backyard.

For designer Lauren, one of the critical parts of designing this home was making sure she could get as much natural light into the home as possible. “Due to the orientation of the home and the configuration of a few of the front rooms that remained in their existing positions, we were limited to what side of the home the kitchen could be on (the north wall of the property), leaving limited light into this space”. The result is something Lauren describes as quintessentially Australian-Scandi with a signature norsu aesthetic, combining the perfect mix of natural finishes with a cool neutral palette while injecting warmth through timbers, sheer window furnishings, and cosy textural furnishings. The sheers are by Sheridan Window Furnishings and the flooring is by Scandinavian Floors.

On entry, the first thing you notice is the spacious hallway with fresh, cool-toned white walls (painted in Dulux Vivid White), soaring skylights and feature pendant lighting. Breathtaking white steel doors open to the formal lounge and contrast with the olive-painted walls (Dulux Spanish Olive) and custom cabinetry by Albedor Industries in a soft grey with oak shelving.

“The brief for the back extension revolved around function, opening up the space to create a central hub of the home” states Lauren. “With the abundance of windows, we added sheers throughout to soften the light, and added indoor-outdoor functionality to the kitchen by adding in a servery window and bench from the kitchen to the barbecue area”. For Skye, this area is her favourite. Calm and relaxing - whether cooking in the kitchen or reading on the sofa - she loves the size and feel of it, and the beautiful sunlight that streams through. The kitchen features benchtops by Quantum Quartz and CaesarStone paired with tapware from ABI Interiors.

Apart from the obvious addition of storage in every room of the home, Skye’s favourite feature is the hallway skylights. “We had one in the plans and added another as we were building and then made them both as big as possible. They draw your eyes up as soon as you walk in the front door and flood the hallway with light”.

When it comes to the designer’s favourite features of the home, Lauren references the custom white powder-coated glass steel doors which are both visually impactful and practical. The joinery throughout the home is also a grounding feature, especially the use of the linear V Groove lines in parts of the joinery that guides your eyes upwards, accentuating the already high ceilings. Lauren’s other favourite material choice in the home is the stunning linen sheers.“They make the biggest impact - softening and making it feel homely and calm. The sage sheers in the formal living space, against the olive walls, along with the creamy oak shelves, terrazzo speckled stone, leather handles...this has to be my favourite space in the home”.

The norsu Design team were engaged not only to help with the home’s interior design but also its decoration, which was a huge advantage to Skye to ensure her finished home maintained a consistent and cohesive flow throughout all elements of the renovation.

“It’s the finishing touches to the home like the furniture, artwork and decor that truly bring the look together. Our interior styling and decorating services consist of curated packages that make it incredibly easy to achieve a seamless and sophisticated feel throughout the home, as we’ve always got the end result in mind ” explains Lauren.

Feature items seen throughout the home include artworks by local artists Prudence Demarchi, Jen Sievers and Jai Vasicek, furniture by norsu, Ethnicraft and Globe West, and lighting by Danish design house Muuto. To see all of the products featured take a look here

There’s a seamless blend of style and comfortable functionality in this family home. A calm and neutral palette, paired with light-filled sophistication, timeless finishes and thoughtful entertaining options that are sure to stand the test of time.

Looking ahead, what does the future hold for norsu Design? The answer lies in their latest and perhaps most ambitious project yet: the extensive renovation of Nat Wheeler's personal residence, also known as norsuHOME 2. With the renovation currently underway, the end result will be a dream home for Nat and her family, with stunning features such as 4.9m cathedral ceilings, separate living areas for adults and children, and an effortless blend of indoor/outdoor living and dining options, and a stylish curved pool. I am eagerly anticipating the final outcome of this project! Follow along on the journey here.

Image Credits

Photography: Simon Shiff
Styling: Nat Wheeler, norsu Interiors, Lauren Bartlett-Bragg - norsu Design Senior Interior Designer, Georgia Nixon - norsu Design Interior Designer

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