Luxe Parisian Meets Industrial

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Great design can unlock a world of potential within a small home, which is just what former The Block contestants Matt and Kim Di Costa achieved with their Mount Hawthorn, Perth, home.

Photography: Tarina Lyell  /  Styling + interior design: Matt and Kim Di Costa  /  Words: Jacqui Greig

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As former The Block competitors and regular TV personalities for Perth-based show Matt & Kim To The Rescue, it is little wonder that creative duo Matt and Kim Di Costa were so successful with the conversion of their home, in 2016.

With an eye for properties that have good bones, Matt and Kim bought their three-bedroom, one-bathroom house with the intention of deconstructing the existing space to enable an expansion. They then enlisted the help of RyanArc Architects, who assisted with the facade designs and planning.

“By reshaping the interior of the home – while keeping all exterior walls – we had more options to design with,” explains Matt. And by re-designing the existing second story add-on, the footprint of the house was doubled.

“It was a lot of work to add all the wainscoting, ceiling roses and plaster glass cornice throughout our home, but it produced a great result. To achieve a French-feeling interior, those kinds of details are required,” says Matt. Replica Lindsey Adelman ‘Bubble’ chandelier from Lucretia Lighting; ‘Bella’ dining chairs from GlobeWest; ‘Mila’ dining table from Nood Co.

“It was a lot of work to add all the wainscoting, ceiling roses and plaster glass cornice throughout our home, but it produced a great result. To achieve a French-feeling interior, those kinds of details are required,” says Matt. Replica Lindsey Adelman ‘Bubble’ chandelier from Lucretia Lighting; ‘Bella’ dining chairs from GlobeWest; ‘Mila’ dining table from Nood Co.

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The couple removed the entire inside of the second story, along with the roof, balcony, walls, and floors. “We then redesigned the front of the house to incorporate our new plan, which included four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a powder room and open plan. It also had to have a glass walkway, sunken lounge, and be orientated around the monster trees of our neighbours,” says Matt, who obviously thrives on a challenge.

As long-time fans of Jonathan Adler, the pair became interested in the concept of a ‘luxe injection’ four years ago, when they first started to see snippets of brass, marble and pastels being played with, in Europe. “Sketch restaurant in London was a breakthrough project, but I was determined not to plagiarise an idea. Rather, we set a design challenge that would hopefully produce a result that could stand on its own,” says Matt.

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Nood Co.’s trough sink vanity set and ‘Zia’ mirror, along with the Phoenix matte black tapware, bring a contemporary edge to this elegant space. Wall sconces were a lucky scrapyard find, costing only $5 each.

Nood Co.’s trough sink vanity set and ‘Zia’ mirror, along with the Phoenix matte black tapware, bring a contemporary edge to this elegant space. Wall sconces were a lucky scrapyard find, costing only $5 each.

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“We set the task of fusing the Haussmann-inspired, Parisian apartment aesthetic with industrial concrete, to see if we could get the blend just right. The Di Costa Residence was what followed. That, and an accidental furniture company.”

The Di Costas started Nood Co., Australia’s first concrete furniture and homewares company, encompassing a range of indoor and outdoor dining tables, sinks, vanity sets, coffee and side tables, café tables, stools and housewares.

Rethinking how concrete was perceived, Matt sat down to structure Nood Co. by writing an honest list of reasons why concrete hadn’t ‘officially’ joined the world of furniture. “It was bulky, heavy and nontransportable,” he recalls. “It wasn’t sealed effectively enough to match consumer expectations.”

“A lot of furniture was fake to look like concrete, but had no real quality of finish. No one had made it beautiful, affordable, functional and transportable. We changed all of that.”

In ensuite: ‘Box’ sink, ‘Courtney’ face-mounted mirror and ‘Kevin’ stool from Nood Co.

In ensuite: ‘Box’ sink, ‘Courtney’ face-mounted mirror and ‘Kevin’ stool from Nood Co.

Real concrete can be found in every room of the Di Costa home, in different ways – be it furniture, sinks, benchtops, walls or flooring. In fact, the custom-made concrete, chevron-patterned, parquetry floor is hands-down one of the standout design features. Overall, Matt recommends injecting as much of your own personality into a project as possible. He is an advocate of the Herman Melville quote, “It is better to have failed in originality than to succeed in imitation” – something he has delivered in spades, with both his home and furniture business.

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Want to see this home in print? You’ll find the full home tour in our Bliss edition, available in newsagents in Australia and through our online shop. Click here to buy.