Powerful sandstone foundations, a perfectly proportioned loggia with triple arches, and vast gardens, “Villa Nostalgia” is an elegant and gracefully aged villa located in Woollahra’s “consular belt”.
In what was quite an interesting match, the young heiress of the house who originally approached Luigi Rosselli Architects to update the property, and the aging 1930s villa were quite at opposite ends of the spectrum. Occasionally, this kind of disconnect between clients and their homes can create beautiful tension and inspire elegant designs; a moment where past and present meet without collapsing, creating a loop where the end is the beginning. However, the heiress could not bear the nostalgic weight of the memories perspiring from the villa’s walls, and so she sold it to a family appreciative of the intrinsic beauty of the house and its vast grounds. They also appreciated the plans that Luigi Rosselli Architects developed and completed the project accordingly.
The subtle changes required by the brief had no need to offend the property’s original character. But such “Nostalgia” is to be handled with care, as such wistful sentimental yearning for the return to irrecoverable conditions can end up being nothing but theatrical scenery. It was through sensible, well thought out alterations & additions that the architects aimed to retain the original aesthetics & character.
The interiors are filled with life, merging modern steel windows with the original arches of the loggia and sliding doors by Enviro Window Designs. With a simple slide motion the loggia can become an outdoor dining area surrounded by the original arches of the villa.
With some effort, a new elliptical stair replaced a cramped afterthought of a stair. The compartmented living, dining and kitchen areas were opened up, with new glass doors opening onto a fine and light steel balcony (inspired remotely by Karl Freidrich Schinkel’s Charlottenburg Pavilion in Berlin).
One thing has yet to return to the villa, the gentle softening of time, the return of a patina, a touch of decay. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, the grand old lady will once again be true to her age. By the way, we recommend reading Nobel prize winning author, Patrick Modiano’s novel: Villa Triste.
Location: Woollahra, NSW
Design Architect: Luigi Rosselli
Project Architects: Simon Hassall, Sean Johnson & Maya Ferriere
Interior Designers: Suzanne Green & Emma Rees-Raaijmakers
Builder: Lachlan Lynch Constructions
Stair: Edward Brown Staircases
Landscape Contractor: KMD Outdoor Construction
Windows: Enviro Window Designs
Photography: Prue Ruscoe & Tom Ferguson