Grayston remarked that the owners seemed to find inspiration
everywhere, but most frequently referenced a great book called The
Swedish Room by Lars Sjoberg. “She loved the soft palette of blues, greys
and whites and nostalgic images which contrasted the rough-hewn
furniture against neoclassical backdrops.”
The design team considered each area of the home individually and
it evolved over time. And the rules simply did not apply. “[ The owners]
wanted the house to feel like it had been standing for generations and
was filled with clues about the history of the people who lived there.
Nothing was to feel ‘new’ or modern—recessed ceiling lights, consid-
ered essential to most new builds, were banned; walls were purposely
plastered unevenly; at a random point in the new kitchen there is joint
running across the floor where the large concrete tiles of the sitting
room meet the kitchen’s ¾ inch by ¾ inch white marble mosaic because
this was where ‘they had added on the kitchen’ and it was done in a
time where they wouldn’t have worried about the floors matching!”
With everything in the design needing to look aged, considerable
care and attention was paid to the details—from weathering oversized
ceiling beams by leaving them outside in the elements for six months
before installation to the careful consideration of placement for the
numerous salvage items—both from overseas and their own backyard—
that the couple discovered during the construction process.
“I love junk yards and salvage/wrecking yards and came across the
mismatching cement pillars to hold up the fireplace in the kitchen,” said
the wife. “Because they’re carved, they soften the massive fireplace that’s
lined with old cobble stones.
“Under the island overhang in the kitchen I wanted something
whimsical as a pedestal… I thought of the idea of a branched crotch of
a tree. So patiently, Mr. Hocking helped me cut down a good-looking
part of a casuarina tree on our property.”
“The puzzled look from the countertop installer was an expected
response by that point in the project,” added Grayston.
Other salvaged elements included a pair of round wooden columns
with greyed, cracked paint that were used to help give an illusion of
privacy between the hallway and the formal living room; and textiles
used in the crow’s nest bedroom were discovered at a flea market.
Left: Each guest room was designed to
be completely unique. This one features
painted wood floors. Above: The sink in
the powder room features hand-made fish
scale tiles by Tabarka.
Left: A cedar-lined study was designed exclusively for the husband.
Above: The master bath