Simplifying & Restoring: The Cambium by Carr.
Melbourne-based architecture and interiors studio Carr has completed The Cambium, a business retreat hidden in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. Set on a four-acre property in Red Hill, the Cambium offers 11 rooms and amenities for guests seeking a space for purposeful collaboration and creative thinking in a tranquil bush setting.
With three existing buildings on the site, Carr took a ‘light touch approach’ by refreshing and homogenising what was already there. Coming from a position of ‘less is more’, the design thinking sought to celebrate the imperfect.
“The Cambium has been more an exercise in reduction than addition. The existing structures and material were always there, though time had weighed them down and outdated the layers,” elaborates Chloé Walton, Associate at Carr. “Our task was to allow them to breathe again. In a way that is what Cambium offers—a place where you can leave behind the layers of life that weigh you down and create space to be and think authentically.”
This approach played out at every stage of the project, where the team creatively repurposed and restored the existing property. Externally, the building’s brickwork is rationalised by either retaining it as is or bagging in a soft grey.
The existing masonry arches signify the entrance to the main house and lead guests from the driveway through to the reception. Defined by powder coat metal doors, metal joinery and natural granite floor, the reception is completely transformed into a generous and welcoming space. In a want for a calming interior feel, a cohesive selection of materials and restrained colour palette is applied throughout the communal spaces, dining areas and sleeping quarters.
In the guest suites, Carr honed their skills in the minutiae. Timber joinery elements, such as the wardrobe cabinets are repainted, while details, such as the metal strap finger pulls, are celebrated through repetition. Neutral colours and soft furnishings are applied throughout and provide a calming room for respite and sleep. The ensuite’s feature off-white porcelain splash backs and bench tops, with brushed-nickel tap ware and blackbutt vanity cupboards.
In the business loft, an intimate and comfortable space with minimal additions, the room’s success is down to what has been removed. By decluttering the space, the room’s natural charm is found in the repainted bookshelves and restored loft ceilings.
With a focus on simplifying rather than adding, restoring rather than replacing, the design for The Cambium celebrates the existing. The resulting interior language gives the spaces an authentic and warm feel, providing the ideal environment for a nurturing retreat.
[Images courtesy of Carr. Photography by Tom Ross.]