Rob Mills is no stranger to opulent, visually rich interiors. Pretty fitting then that his own family home in Armadale in Melbourne is a likely contender for his studio’s most magnificent, artistic, and opulent to date. Collecting a suite of architecture and interiors awards last year—including gold at both the San Francisco and New York editions of Driven x Design—Armadale Residence might be Rob Mills’ magnum opus: the breathtaking renovation of a former cardboard factory that Mills has called home for the last 10 or so years.
Rob’s decade-long relationship with the industrial building meant he was intimately aware of its volumes, rhythm, tricks, and architectural potential. And while it is a lush visual feast, the home is also an impressive concoction of innovative building technologies, sustainable design, and—interestingly too—home design specifically tailored to overall happiness and health and well-being.
Created to house three generations comfortably, the five-bedroom home features large private enclaves as well as relaxed communal spaces. Super precise acoustic engineering (via masonry walls, concrete slab, insulation, and engineered glazing) has created true quiet room to room, without cancelling out the natural echoes of the home’s neighbouring parklands. The ground floor features a self-contained apartment with private outdoor areas, which is completely isolated from the living areas above.
“With Armadale Residence we aimed to create a healthy building,” Rob says. “To achieve this we looked not only at fresh air and the proximity to the trees and the park but also at the use of organic and low-VOC paints and glues, indirect lighting, cross-ventilation and low-e glass.” Happy and healthy for Rob means a deeper connection to the natural environment. Natural light and fresh air flood the home, minimizing the need for artificial heating and cooling. A river-like water feature running from outside to inside is intended to add a little psychological calm.
The focal point of the home is undoubtedly the dramatic golden kitchen. The gleaming honey-coloured brass benchtop, tapware, and cabinetry are an anchor for further brass detail throughout—linings for doorframes, cupboards, furniture, lighting, and ornaments. Floors have been finished in grey-white Fior di Pesco Carnico marble, and an inkier midnight marble winds up a dramatic spiral staircase. Rob’s refuge space (called the ‘winter room’) features ashy timber panels, heavily recessed windows, and a fireplace.
Words by Sammy Preston.
[Images courtesy of Rob Mills.]
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