Under The Tree by Arent&Pyke
The African ‘palaver tree’ is a place where ideas are shared, stories are told, and agreements are reached. Our South African expat clients had grown up observing this, and wanted to pay tribute to it by planting a large ficus at the centre of their renovated home in Annandale. It turned out to be an appropriate metaphor for what was an unusually organic project.
In the home stretch of their renovation designed by Welsh + Major architects, Arent&Pyke were engaged to complete the home with furniture, decorative lighting and art. “When something’s beautiful on the outside it should be beautiful on the inside too,” says the owner. “I wanted it to have warmth and interest, and I needed help working out the personality and soul of the house so we could be true to that.”
The space was “quite grey, quite hard” and so there were a lot of conversations about lighting. We wanted to bring softness and ambient glow into the spaces, introducing Noguchi light sculptures. Colours and textures were charged with the same task, so we selected earthy and warm hues from mustard and chartreuse to forest green, and chose abaca rugs, woollen blankets, boucle upholstery, Belgian linen and a smattering of cowhide – on the custom ottoman and Cassina LC4 chaise lounge.
The art selection wasn’t about filling the walls: the clients wanted to wait for the right pieces to come along, and the feeling was mutual. “It would have been such a mistake to choose everything off one page,” says the owner. “We built it up over a period of time in a much more thoughtful way. Arent&Pyke had so much patience!”
Photography by Anson Smart Architecture by Welsh + Major Styling by Claire Delmar Landscape by Sue Barnsley Design