2022 Australian Interior Design Awards: Premier Award for

Jury comment

Jury members unanimously agreed Stable and Cart House is the absolute standout project across all categories by clearly being an exemplary piece of work. What resonates most is the authenticity of the design and the way it has been conceived to be lived in not just looked at. The material palette not only reflects a sustainable approach to how people live, but also displays a responsive understanding of an Australian design language that supports the opportunity for the house to age gracefully.

It is not about opulence, but a sense of naturalness and comfort within an engaging space that has warmth and a welcoming feel to it. The jury applauded the designer for using the existing conditions to bring light into the void, unlocking the immense potential and possibility of the building itself. A bold use of colour and detail is neither ostentatious nor working too hard. It is sublime in every way.

Design statement

Stable and Cart House is a humble interior fitout that values the past, preserving it for the future for both its occupants and the context it sits within.

Having owned the warehouse for 25 years, the client retired and relocated from New South Wales. This move was the catalyst to undertake the conversion from commercial tenancy to home. Originally a stable and cart store designed by esteemed architect Harry Norris, the house had a rich history of varied tenants, including an ironworks, a salvage warehouse and a dressmaking atelier.

Defined by double-height perimeter walls, the existing stables present as an enclosed, singular volume, encumbered only by the original feed loft cutting through the central airspace. Industrial patina, aged timbers and rusted corrugated roofing were key historic characteristics to be retained and celebrated.

Built on the land of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin nation

Project credits

Design practice — Clare Cousins Architects

Project team — Clare Cousins, Oliver Duff, Elliot Lind

The Premier Award for Australian Interior Design is supported by Dulux. The Australian Interior Design Awards are presented by the Design Institute of Australia and Artichoke magazine. For more images of this project, see the Australian Interior Design Awards gallery.