North Perth Townhouse Transformed With Colour by Simon Pendal | Yellowtrace

North Perth Townhouse Transformed With Colour by Simon Pendal | Yellowtrace

North Perth Townhouse Transformed With Colour by Simon Pendal | Yellowtrace

 

It’s all well and good you can deliver a knockout resi project when you have a substantial budget to work with. But what happens when cash is limited? And to top it off, the existing building is a bit of a 1990s development bastard? Well, some would give up from the outset, but not so for Perth-based architect Simon Pendal, who took on what was a bit of a design dud and attacked it with gusto.

At the end of a 1990s reproduction Georgian Mews, sat a tired and unremarkable townhouse. “The upper floor was a warren of rooms and dark corridors while the ground floor had no spatial presence. Its courtyard had diminished in importance and was filled with building services,” explains Pendal. “We were asked to re-phrase the townhouse as a cohesive whole.”

The architect’s approach was to consider the townhouse as a sequence of set pieces where daily life was intensified. He accepted and occasionally embellished the decorative parts of the original (reproduction) interior – such as the ornate skirtings, ceiling roses, cornices and plasterwork – and each one was treated as a ‘casting’. Also, he intensified these ‘cast’ spaces by using a single colour in each room, applied to all surfaces – floors, walls and ceilings. Bonkers.

 

North Perth Townhouse Transformed With Colour by Simon Pendal | Yellowtrace

North Perth Townhouse Transformed With Colour by Simon Pendal | Yellowtrace

 

The colour code for the rooms goes like this – white for the bedrooms, emerald green for the kitchen, black within niche spaces and the dressing room, and Prussian blue for the upper sitting room. The immersive experience of colour suspends people and objects in singular space, connecting a distinct atmosphere to its intended use.

Transitions between rooms are amplified by vivid colour change, orchestrating a powerful sequence from one to the next. “The Prussian blue room, in particular, arose from our interest in making spaces which possess the effect of Chiaroscuro paintings,” says Pendal.

To achieve set-like qualities, he looked for harmony between colour, its alignment and the use of artificial and natural light. Pendant lights correlate to overall room-tone. These either recede to amplify the effect of pooled light (a white fitting within the white kitchen niche, a black one within the dark blue room), or are highlighted to add to the overall composition (the white pendant held by a white circle within in the corner of the Prussian blue room).

Natural light intensifies luminous niches by day – the white kitchen and the white first-floor alcove – or acts as an axial termination in darkness – the black dressing room. Sheer linen curtains temper Perth’s intense light, and in certain rooms allow each to have a presence that is almost fog-like.

 

North Perth Townhouse Transformed With Colour by Simon Pendal | Yellowtrace

North Perth Townhouse Transformed With Colour by Simon Pendal | Yellowtrace

 

Outside this smart colour strategy, the design team has significantly improved the existing layout of the rooms – each one was reconfigured to be better proportioned and consequently feel more generous. Pendal also provided light where none previously existed, arising from the deceptively simple reordering of the plan.

All design decisions had to be measured against the available budget. Severe flaws in planning, natural light, building and compliance degradation required addressing. “The core spatial ideas and design actions arose directly and consciously from an acceptance of this difficult context,” says Pendal.

Paint and colour ultimately became a cost-effective spatial device where, on previous projects, the architects may have employed more expensive and labour-intensive surfaces. “The retention and manipulation of existing ornament was a direct result of accepting that stripping-out and starting again was not an option. We tried to find a sustaining and potent architecture from almost nothing,” concludes Pendal.

 

 


[Images courtesy of Simon Pendal. Photography by Rob Frith.]

 

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor
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Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

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