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Gallery House, Morang Road

The Background

Gallery House was designed by architect Dale Jones-Evans. It was completed in 1989 and received the Robin Boyd Award for Outstanding Architecture in a New Residence. The architect designed the house for his mother and it has had two owners since, including the current owner who is an artist. There are magnificent artworks displayed throughout the house, allowing it to live up to its name. Some are by the current owner who exhibits at Deans Art in Lonsdale Street.

The Garden

The house can barely be seen from the street due to the large Peppercorn tree in the front garden. Once inside the front gate, it is a totally private space; an oasis from the street. Water features largely throughout the garden, mirroring the boat metaphor underlying the design of the house. To the left of the front garden is a serene pond containing 11 goldfish and numerous water lilies, with beautiful flowers that, sadly, once open, only last for a day. There are also some glorious maples in this part of the garden.

In the centre of the property is a pool and spa which provides a cool outlook from the house and is in a wonderfully private spot. Past the pool is a delightful courtyard with an oriental feel, in the centre of which is a fabulous 120 year old Mulberry tree. The courtyard is edged with plants including begonias, impatiens and nandinas. The troughs that border the courtyard were once filled with water and the copper pipes can still be seen. However, perhaps for safety reasons, they now contain plants. To the right of this courtyard, on the other side of the walkway, there is an almond tree.

The House

Downstairs

Gallery House is of brick construction, however wood and zinc cladding are used to add interest. Once inside, you are struck by the light that pervades the interior and also by the way the house has been designed to maximise the available space. The living area is large and airy. The olive green ceiling echoing the lush foliage outside and the textured effect on the walls providing a marvellous backdrop to the owners' collection of artworks. The Kauri floorboards have a sumptuous yet mellow feel and complement the Asian look of the built-in lacquered cabinets between the living and dining areas. If you look out the window towards the rear of the house, through the kitchen, you can see right to the back studio. This clever use of windows and light is also apparent in the dining room where windows at ground level mean that firstly, the dining area is not overlooked by the flats next door; secondly that ample light enters the room and thirdly, that the tranquility of the Japanese garden involving a stream running over 3 levels can be fully appreciated.

The current owner describes the kitchen as a 'true galley kitchen' and you certainly do feel as though you could be on a ship! There are numerous large cupboards built into the walls for storage and this kitchen is a highly functional space. Past the kitchen, travelling along the walkway, one can appreciate the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the pool and spa. Tucked away on the right is a powder room and surprisingly large laundry area. At the rear of the house a garage and designated studio can be found. The former owner was a photographer and the current one is an artist, so the area has been set up to provide optimum light. The tubes in the ceiling are daylight colour but the owner prefers to use the light from the western sun.

Upstairs

In the main bedroom to the front of the house, you feel as though you could almost be in a tree house due to the marvellous peppercorn tree outside. The birches and banana palms in the front garden are also evident. In the main window is a smaller window that can be opened to allow ventilation. To the right of the room is a door leading to a balcony providing views of Shakespeare Grove and beyond. In another wall, an ensuite and walk in wardrobe are cleverly concealed. Joining the front of the house to the middle and rear is a suspended walkway that again evokes feelings of being aboard a ship. Lining the walkway, you may notice some gorgeous framed embroideries from Hong Kong.

The next room is a study. In the floor are windows with views to the pool-that would make it hard to work on a hot day! At the very rear of the house is another bedroom with a curved wall. From the outside this area of the house is reminiscent of a large ship's funnel!

In summary, Gallery House demonstrates amazing use of light and space. The attention to detail and clever design features mean that you will constantly be surprised. The current owners have used Gallery House as a backdrop for their eclectic collection of artworks and furniture and have created a character-filled and inviting home in the process.