1996-97 The Kew House / Sean Godsell

One of the things I like about many of the houses in the book is that they were not built with endless budgets. There is very much a sense that it is the ideas and their execution that count not the actual dollars spent. Sean Godsell’s own house is a case in point. ‘We were young and poor and it was built on the smell of an oily rag’, he says.

The house is very measured in its décor. Artworks are propped up against walls and the backs of sofas rather than hung and there is a sense that the objects that have been chosen have gone through a rigorous selection process. An Akari standing light by Noguchi and a sculpture by Pilar Rojas, flank a sofa designed by Godsell  – a tribute to Donald Judd.

Godsell does play with concepts from east and west in the house.  ‘The divided plan shows the influence of Asia on Australia’, he says. The living area has a sliding wall to separate the space and create two areas, just as in Japanese architecture a series of rooms is animated by operating screens. The house has no corridors and so has a continuous flow of space, which Godsell admits was easier when he son Jack was a small child rather than a teenager.


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