In reimagining the interiors of this residence in Sorrento, Fiona Lynch used the calm, coastal surrounds to inform her design. Taking the bones of this two-storey Merchant Builder-style home (originally constructed in the 1980s) and treating them to an extensive re-fitting, not only did the lauded designer create a sumptuous retreat to fit the client’s brief of pared-back, private sophistication, but she delivered a masterclass in modern minimalism.
Seeking to change the feel of the existing space without altering much of its structure, Fiona Lynch ensured the home was fit for the needs of its residents by removing a dated former renovation and making small changes via clever spatial planning and expert material layering. Proving how a little can go a long way, the designer’s use of textural wall treatments, organic and porous materials and impactful artworks in key positions created tranquil spaces that feel strong and inviting, all while evoking a sense of sumptuous luxury.
In the kitchen, for instance, a central island with a mottled limestone top and stoic travertine base is positioned to allow those enjoying a morning coffee to take in the view through the large window opposite. Careful not to sacrifice form to function, the designer conceived the kitchen as a space both befitting of family time and socialising as well as somewhere that would be practical for everyday pursuits. Here, polished brass joinery is used to deliver a golden warmth that one can only imagine would come to life when bathed in natural sunlight.
Elsewhere, the living areas present as the perfect places to spend days reclined on a lounge or curled in a favourite chair, where softly-draped, open-weave linen curtains diffuse the daytime light and offer privacy and warmth, while furnishings like Ligne Roset’s Togo (upholstered in an earthy green that reflects the natural exterior landscape) invite rest and relaxation. Original details like raking ceiling beams and a fireplace have been retained and given new life; the former a coat of fresh paint, the latter ensconced in stone and polished plaster.
In fact, polished plaster is one of the materials that Fiona Lynch uses generously to lend depth and dimension throughout this home, an effect that is only bolstered when combined with woven wicker screens, pale timber, textured raffia wallpaper and a palette of calming pebble hues, sandy tones and chalky greens. In the bedrooms and bathrooms these tones and textures are used to calming effect, where subtle design statements are the ideal foundations against which injections of art and key furniture are showcased. And despite there being an overall sense of luxury, nothing feels ostentatious or attention-grabbing, which is what makes this residence so appealing.
Fiona Lynch has done an exceptional job at marrying hard materials with soft finishes, offsetting angular, sharp lines with rounded walls and using elements like solid timber and natural stone in an understated way. The Sorrento House is, as a result, an alluring example of restrained design. It embodies modern minimalism because it is warm and simple; layered but ultimately pared back. And while it’s a hard line to walk, Fiona Lynch does so with an expert hand and clever eye, creating a home on the coast to covet.