When you enter the foyer of Peter Johnstone’s home in Toorak, you’d expect detailed perfection in design and craftsmanship. After all, as owner of Royale Construction, he’s built luxury, bespoke homes in Melbourne for over 30 years. And that’s exactly what you get. A grand foyer encased in beautiful wall panelling, complete with chandeliers and exquisite wall lights. And now Peter has pushed the bar sky high, adding a new “wow” factor in the form of a wine cellar.
Of course, it’s no ordinary wine cellar. A lover of wine and international travel, Peter has designed multiple cellars for his clients with the help of Tanya Johnston, interior designer Royale Construction, also his daughter. Each cellar they’ve designed, in conjunction with Salvation Wine Racks who makes the joinery, is complete with temperature control, double glazing glass, cedar joinery and high end finishes.
But, when it came to updating Peter’s cellar, the design was “taken up a notch,” Tanya says. Think a rustic, authentic look of 100 years old, that’s still new and shiny, with Antico Casale, Cotto, brick tiles on the vaulted ceiling, then laid in a striking herringbone pattern on the floor, along with cedar joinery, an imported French chandelier and table, and an inviting rug.
“We really wanted to push the boundaries a little bit in terms of what everyone was doing,” Tanya explains. After looking at images and putting ideas together, they knew exactly what they wanted: An overall finished look, so each finish complemented the other, as opposed to one thing standing out, including a new product for the floor and a new vaulted ceiling.
To source this new product, Robertson’s Building Product’s showroom was their first port of call. Once Peter and Tanya saw the Antico Casale Cotto brick tiles, they looked no further.
“We just thought ‘this is it’. There were a few colour options but it came down to the tonal look. We chose them for their classical look and their warm, earthy feel. They really took it up another notch, because every thing else in the design was similar,” Tanya remarks.
“We thought, ‘If we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it properly’ and that’s why we did the herringbone pattern on the floor because a lot of the old traditional cellars had that style of flooring. If it had been done in a plain style of brick pattern it wouldn’t have that same feel. It gave it a point of difference. And it won’t date. It’s more authentic and gives it that little point of interest,” Tanya continues.
And the response has been absolutely amazing. Peter’s wine cellar is a beautiful showpiece that’s now the benchmark for all future wine cellars designed by Royale Construction. “It’s absolutely perfect, there’s nothing about the room that we’d change. It has given a whole new look, dimension and feel to it and I don’t think we’ll be going back,” Tanya concludes. And their clients agree. “Every single client who has walked down there that we build for has gone, ‘Oh wow, I want one of these.’ We already had their cellars designed but they’ve all just said, ‘We want this - we want the flooring, we got the joinery but we want the overall look and feel.’ It’s the only way we’ll be going from now on.”
Designer and Builder: Royale Construction
Cellar maker: Salvation Wine Racks
Product: Antico Casale, Cotto, brick tiles
Photography: Courtesy Royale Construction