Au naturale. Tasmanian Oak stuns in its organic form in these Melbourne homes

Health. Balance. Harmony. Melbourne architect and interior designer, Melanie Beynon has grounded her practice in these principles, creating designs that bring a positive effect on her client’s health and wellbeing. Practicing as an interior designer in the UK and Melbourne for 20 years and as an architect for 10 years, Melanie Beynon’s designs encapsulate a holistic approach, fixing on the finest of details to support the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of a building’s inhabitants. To help bring these principles to life on her latest projects, Tasmanian Oak was specified for its natural tones, texture and beauty.

Built at the turn of the century, Northcote house needed to be rendered and extended to accommodate a family of six. The California bungalow style home was separated into two different zones to accommodate separate spaces for the adults and the children, with an adjoined living area in the middle.

Natural state

To create a layered effect in the home’s interior, timber was specified for the floors, walls and ceiling. Tasmanian Oak was then hand selected by the owner/builder to be used as an interior lining board for the home.

“The Tasmanian Oak chosen by the client was initially going to be painted but when they saw the timber in its natural state installed on the walls and ceiling, they fell in love with its natural beauty and decided to keep it in its raw form,” says Beynon.

Not only using timber on the interior of Northcote house, timber was also used as an exterior cladding, including Tasmanian Oak shiplap.

“Tasmanian Oak is a product that is cost effective, easy to work with and prepare and is readily available. It’s a consistent product and for Northcote house, its natural beauty really took over once installed,” says Beynon.

Toorak House

20 minutes from Northcote house sits Toorak house, another recently completed project by Melanie Beynon that required working with the home’s original footprint. With a playful material and colour palette, the clients wanted to stay true to the bones of the home while incorporating artisanal touches. Tasmanian Oak was also chosen as a material in this home renovation, but Beynon explains that the home owners had also initially chosen it- 70 years prior.

“When we pulled up the flooring in the Toorak house, we discovered wider Tasmanian Oak floorboards were underneath. We salvaged the boards from other rooms in the house to complete the kitchen and dining room with this original timber,” says Beynon.

To match the Tasmanian Oak floorboards in the mid-century style home, Tasmanian Oak veneer and lining was also used in the kitchen.

“Tas Oak is such a versatile timber. Its natural look and grain invigorate the product. Sometimes finishes on timber can call attention to the sheen, rather than the product itself. Tasmanian Oak is radiant in its natural form,” says Beynon.

While attracted to the aesthetic of Tasmanian Oak, Beynon also explains the provenance of materials is increasingly important for her practice.

“It’s responsible to use local materials. They’re not traveling nearly as far as imported products and they’re also generally more available and more cost efficient. We want to be supporting the local industry and the people that represent those industries because they’re the ones who understand the product well,” says Beynon.

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