The Loft

The Home Base blog

Matter of Trust

Handing over control to a design team worked wonders for this east coast build project


It’s not often a client trusts their designer enough to hand over the reins and let them work their magic but such was the case when property owners Steve and Lucy Cahill approached the team at Kate Walker Design for help to create the home of their dreams.

Picture: Armelle Habib

“So many clients have constraints but Steve and Lucy gave us carte blanche to create a design that would best suit the house and achieve the standard they wanted to achieve,” Kate Walker says.

“They took a leap of faith to engage us and we appreciated their mindset which is also ours: spend and invest now because it will definitely pay off. They spared no expense with finishes and they just trusted us. And in our profession, that’s really important because it gets the best result.”

The property was bought on a whim by owner-builder Steve, from the Cahill Building Group. He saw the home in passing one day and attended the auction at the last minute. Knowing it was a location that both he and wife Lucy loved, he placed a bid without either of them having been inside the house.

The couple was halfway through working on another property, so they rented this one out whilst they completed their other project, all the while formulating the ideal plan for their forever home.

“We knew this location deserved a beautiful home, so we demolished the existing house and started fresh,” Steve says. “I had been following Kate Walker and KWD’s work for some time and knew some of the builders they had worked with.

“Whilst we know our craftsmanship is first class, Lucy and I both decided we really needed some guidance on taking our home to a whole new level in terms of the interior design.”

Accustomed to building townhouses, the Cahill Building Group was pushed into a new market segment of luxury homes and the team at KWD encouraged them to reach for the stars.

Picture: Armelle Habib

Picture: Armelle Habib

Kate says that from a structural and design point of view, tall ceiling heights posed a real challenge.

“We had to use a bulkhead to bring the level of the joinery down slightly,” she says. “For me this was a challenge because I love taking joinery to the ceiling but it just became too overwhelming. And with the beautiful pendant lights from The Montauk Lighting Co., we had to have bespoke poles made because the ceiling heights were so high.”

The kitchen, a jaw-droppingly beautiful space layered with texture and stunning features with a European farmhouse aesthetic, takes centre stage.

Picture: The Montauk Lighting Co. / Styling: Kate Walker Design / Photo: Armelle Habib

“We wanted to emphasise the symmetry and the arches within the architectural design, and line up the kitchen detailing and rangehood with the lounge room detailing and the fireplace,” Kate says. “They are a mirror image of each other.”

“At KWD, we design so many kitchens every year that we just know what works for each individual space and this kitchen really is a workhorse and perfect for a family of five.”

Another part of the project’s success is the attention to lighting.

“Often there isn’t anything left in the budget for lighting but we explained to our clients how important beautiful lighting is, to add the jewellery to a space. It really does add that extra design element that is often forgotten but can really take a room to a whole new level,” Kate says.

Supplied by The Montauk Lighting Co., the home’s lights are the perfect example of functional artwork. Arches form part of the European farmhouse aesthetic that runs throughout the whole home.

Kate says the home was never designed to be on trend, rather it was designed with natural materials intended to age beautifully. The home’s connectivity from the living area and kitchen to the outdoor zone works perfectly, personifying the great Australian dream of seamless indoor-outdoor living.

Picture: Armelle Habib

Picture: Armelle Habib

Picture: Armelle Habib