Talk to anyone associated with creating Margaret Halabura’s light-infused urban retreat in Fairfield and they’ll immediately start raving about the work of the other collaborators involved and the easy flow of ideas. From Halabura to architect Peter de Hoog to contractor Stewart Story, and interior designer Sandy Nygaard, the design execution was so seamless the house appears to be the creation of a single visionary.
Halabura put her complete trust in the expertise of her team. Her wish list was simple: privacy, lots of natural light, and volumes of concrete. The finished house is a stunning monument to the cooperation involved. “I keep clamouring on about it,” she says. “I feel fortunate to have had the privilege of working with the best of the best here in Victoria.”
Outside, an inviting curved stairway leads visitors to the main door. Towering exterior stone walls echo the stonework of the dramatic floating fireplace found inside. Panels in the wood-framed front windows give the illusion of a single large window but hide the divide between the floors.
Throughout the house, three main colours are repeated in the tones of the materials and décor: the warmth of the maple, the muted grey of the concrete and stone, and the soft white of the walls. The flow of these elements in every part of the home, and the simple way they complement each other, adds to the minimalist appeal of the space.
A unique architectural feature is found in the raised windows that wrap the perimeter of many of the rooms. A nod to original modern design of the 1930s, they ensure plenty of privacy, while giving a sense of openness and allowing lots of natural light to flood in.
High ceilings, simple lines, and great light make the house a perfect showroom for Halabura’s extensive art collection, giving the space a gallery-like vibe.
“I’m drawn to art pieces that have colours that appeal to me or invoke a particular feeling or memory,” she says. “… I don’t worry too much if a particular piece will fit in with the décor or not.“ And that’s the beauty of a home like this: its lines are so simple, its bones so strong, that it acts as the ideal setting for art, never overwhelming the pieces and never detracting from the most important art of all — the art of living beautifully.
Design Specialist: Iván Meade
Photographed by Cathie Ferguson
Architecture: de Hoog and Kierulf Architects/ Peter De Hoog, Charles Kierulf, Selena Kwok, James Irwin, and Gigi An
Interior Design: Sandy Nygaard Interiors
Contractor: Story Construction/Stewart Story
Structural Engineering: Steve Hoel at JSH Engineering Ltd.
Millwork: Glasgow Precision Woodworks
Bathroom Fixtures: Victoria Specialty Hardware & Plumbing Ltd.
Plumbing: Specialized Plumbing & Gas Works
Painting: Cantex Painting
Windows: Dynamic Windows & Doors
Flooring: Island Floor Centre
Masonry: Pacheco Landscaping & Stonework
Concrete: CDN Forming