The brief for Doherty Design Studio in reconfiguring this stunning Beechworth farmhouse, was to create a rustic and refined space, that also reflected the owners’ affinity with Japanese design and culture. Director Mardi Doherty and interior design Sarah Conly explain that that modest scale of the family home reflects a ‘Japanese sensibility’, informed by one of the owners’ experience of living and working in Japan.

The external structure of the building is solid granite with a pitched roof, and has an almost picture-book quality, sitting gently in the landscape. Inside, the exposed rafters highlight the ‘simple and exposed nature of the artisanal joinery and construction techniques traditionally found in Japanese homes’ Mardi and Sarah explain.

Natural light is introduced into the home through skylights, creating a warm glow on the stone walls around the fire place. An amber-glass panel in the kitchen sliding door also brings a golden hue into the house, and Mardi and Sarah highlight how this idea ‘alludes to ranma panels used in Japanese interiors’ to create light and shadow effects.

Doherty Design Studio has pursued a strategy of refined, efficient and well-ordered design here, while still offering enticing layers of warmth and intrigue. The colour palette of grey, navy, while and mustard offers a background against which custom joinery, locally sourced granite, timber paneling, terrazzo floors, and tan leather harmoniously co-habit the space.

This home also demonstrates the power of design to improve the daily routines of inhabitants. The dining space (reminiscent of distinctive short-legged Japanese chabudai tables) and the washing nook, offer spatial encouragement for considered, rustic and refined living.


The Beechworth Residence – a two level, three bedroom home in country Victoria. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A pop of mustard in the rustic interior. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The exposed roof trusses and junctions are embellished by large, black fixings. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The colour palette of grey, navy, white and mustard pays homage to Japan. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Hand glazed tiles line the kitchen. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The rectangular amber-glass panel in the kitchen alludes to ranma panels used in Japanese interiors. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The dining nook reference Japanese chabudai tables. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A space for intimate dining with friends. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Detail of bathroom tiling. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The Japanese art of bathing. Photo – Derek Swalwell.


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