We chat to Mardi Doherty, director of Melbourne interior design practice Doherty Design Studio. Her house is, not surprisingly, full of interesting items, with some destined for the family home currently under renovation.
How did you first discover Leonard Joel?
I discovered Leonard Joel in my early 20s while studying Interior Design at university. My sister and I spent many nights at the auction house, and many nights squealing when we were the successful bidders. We would hurtle around in my yellow convertible Volkswagen picking up our purchases. I have a strong memory of collecting an art piece that was way too big for my car, with my sister in the back seat holding on to it for dear life, as it flapped around in the wind driving down Malvern Road!
One of our favourite projects of yours is the home by renowned Australian architect Peter McIntyre, can you tell us a bit more about your approach to this project? (And did you get to meet Peter?!)
Thank you, it’s one of our favourite projects also! Respecting the home’s 1980s architecture was paramount, and many of the original features were retained, expressed, and improved (to meet current Australian standards), including a large triangular glass atrium and a suspended bridge that connects the upper-level rooms. Part of our scope was to re-plan the internal spaces to suit our client’s needs. Being sympathetic to (and understanding) the original home’s influences also informed our approach to this renovation. We did speak to Peter McIntryre before construction started, and he was positive about the changes being made and the areas of the home that were being retained.
What is your favourite Leonard Joel acquisition?
Our B&B Italia Seven dining table designed by Jean-Marie Massaud, which we purchased during lockdown in 2020. I also love these large, coloured glass sculptures, retrieved from a Salvador Dalí perfume launch.
Where does your own home fit in with your aesthetics?
We are currently renovating a run-down Queen Anne/Federation brick home in Prahran, a real diamond in the rough. It has a beautiful tower and square multi-coloured stained-glass windows throughout, which have formed the seeds for the design. It will be one of our bolder projects, which I’m excited about. Lots of beautiful colours, reflective finishes, and a wallpapered living room ceiling await!
What advice would you give to someone embarking on their own decorating journey?
Start with what you love and allow yourself time for ideas to percolate. When we start a project, we often like to start, then step away, and take some time for ideas to generate before we launch back into it. Time away from your project is also a valuable time to open your mind, review what’s possible, and become brave!
Any exciting projects on the cards for 2022 that you can tell us about?
Yes, we are working on some great projects, ranging from a renovation to a large Arts & Crafts home in Toorak, built in 1908, to a playful renovation of a kooky 1950s home in Beaumaris. We are also looking forward to working on some retail and hospitality as the industry starts to re-open.
Banner Image: Malvern residence originally designed by Peter McIntrye, with interiors re-crafted by Doherty Design Studio