Interviews / Products / Projects / Talking Window Furnishings With Alex Lake (THEREFORE STUDIO)

Once in a while, a home renovation will come along and inspire you to completely rethink your own space. Question the colours, the fabrics, the façade – the lot. Melbourne’s Richmond House does exactly that. Redesigned in 2021 by Therefore Studio, the Brighton Street home has entered an elegant new era that lifts the lid on what’s possible with modern refurbishments.

We were proud to see SHADES play a part in the simple yet sophisticated revamp of this 1888 heritage home. Key to transforming many of these spaces was our very own custom window furnishings.

We recently had the pleasure of talking to Therefore architect, Alex Lake, about both his modern evolution of the heritage home and the part soft furnishings had to play in it.


‘Richmond House’ has spent nearly 150 years playing a historic role in the social fabric of Brighton Street, what was the inspiration behind its recent redesign?

The architecture of Richmond House was driven by two main concerns, the first being heritage and the second being site conditions.

The existing heritage building holds a prominent position in the streetscape; a two storey, double fronted, symmetrically composed façade is built hard-up to the footpath and completely covered in a mature Ficus pumila creeper. From the rear, the presence of the heritage building is equally impressive, with a two-storey red brick façade interfacing the new extension.


Obviously retaining the historic backbone of the site was important in its modern reincarnation, how does the new design pay homage to the home’s architectural past?

The new structure acknowledges the existing through considered proportions and also the predominant use of brickwork. Both express the interplay between the monolithic nature of two-storey brick walls, and the fine-grain tactility of brickwork. The new walls use an oversized local brick, randomly cut and stitched together by hand. Paired with in-situ concrete slabs, the new additions express a contemporary simplicity and craft in dialogue with the original.

This purity of materials allows for a flexibility in form which enables the design to be responsive to site conditions such as solar orientation, climate, aspect and neighbouring amenity.

With the omission of a traditional back yard and fencing, a courtyard plan catches light throughout the day. Additional light courts to the south open up apertures to nature and provide sympathetic setbacks to neighbouring buildings.


Colour famously has a huge influence on execution when it comes to both interiors and exteriors; what considerations where made when it came to colour palette and fabric selection?

The material palette favours honest and robust selections which emphasise the daily rituals of the inhabitants as well as the surrounding the architecture and landscape.


How do you believe the soft furnishings have altered the feel of the home?

The window furnishings provide a filtering of daylight and views both in and out of the spaces. The large curtains afford a vast range of adjustment, giving the occupants a dynamic space, which can be tailored to changeable weather conditions and the varied activities of family life.

The scale and translucency of the curtains provide an additional dimension of soft light to the home which is both evocative and calming.


When selecting window furnishings, what is the most important element considered by Therefore Studio?

For our studio, when selecting window furnishings, the most important factor is our ability to integrate their design into the architecture and interiors, rather than simply adding them at the end of the process.


Reimagine your own interiors with new window furnishings

Here at SHADES, we design and craft our own window treatments, giving you the luxury of choice when it comes to creating custom window furnishings that encompass your own style. Whether it’s a stunning linen look for your coastal abode, some sheer soft furnishings for your living room, or a pair of stonewash lined curtains for your bedroom, our fabric range can do your vision justice with the most premium materials available.


Every window treatment we create uses deluxe fabrics from the finest Australian and international fabric houses. Prioritising both beauty and functionality, they can be carefully matched to your personal aesthetic and colour palette. The result is a modern piece of luxury that not only gives you control over your home’s natural light, but empowers it with an element of elegance that’s exclusive to your own taste and style.


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If you’re ready elevate into your spaces with new window treatments, our expert designers are ready to provide a measure and quote.

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For our studio, when selecting window furnishings, the most important factor is our ability to integrate their design into the architecture and interiors, rather than simply adding them at the end of the process.