A gregarious Sydney family decided the time was right to transform their home from formal to easy and breezy.
Good architectural bones and harbour views have now reached their full potential.
‘The home had great bones with beautiful existing iron windows and a fabulous antique Spanish front door.’ Lynda Kerry, interior designer
Entertaining is the main activity at this sprawling three-storey home. Located in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs on a steeply sloping 1000m2 block that affords uninterrupted north-east harbour views, it’s a regular venue for the owners’ charity events and extended family’s weekly gatherings.
Built in the 1950s and infused with a modern Spanish flavour in the ’90s, the five-bedroom home was substantially renovated in 2014, a year after the current owners – a family of five with two sons and a daughter in their early 20s – moved in. They enlisted the help of interior designer Lynda Kerry, architect Michael Suttor and building firm GNC Quality to personalise the house.
“I was invited to view the home before they bought it, so you could say my role in the renovation started early on,” says Lynda. “The home had great bones with beautiful existing iron windows and a fabulous antique Spanish front door, but its formal wallpapers and silk curtains didn’t suit my clients’ lifestyle. My brief was to take the ‘modern’ out and make the home more traditional.”
But first, structural adjustments were called for. The original house had a great layout and space wasn’t an issue. Storage, however, was, so Michael added a butler’s
Good things come to those who wait, it’s often said, and in the case of this Brisbane home, that holds true. It took 14 years to transform the timber worker’s cottage into the elegant home it is today, but homeowners Leanne and Damian wouldn’t have it any other way. “If we’d had the budget, we would have finished the house years ago. But if we’d done it back then, it would have looked entirely different to how it does today,” says Leanne. “During those years, we travelled, saw beautiful things and stayed in wonderful places. Our tastes have evolved, and as a result the house is far more interesting.”
The couple had been on the hunt for something low-maintenance when the inner-city residence came on the market. “I had walked past this house regularly for years, as a good friend of mine lived just down the road,” says Leanne. “I could see that it had beautiful bones and the potential to be a very elegant home.” Despite having their minds set on something contemporary, a love affair had begun.
Having worked with Rowena Cornwell, interior designer at Brisbane firm Coop Creative, on their previous home, Leanne knew she’d be just the person to help bring their vision to life. “For me, it was a joyful process,” says Rowena. “We didn’t even need to communicate much of it; we had an unspoken understanding about where this house needed togo. Le anne loves colour, texture and beautiful things, and she wanted a home that was not just comfortable, but layered and polished.”
DINING ROOM The antique French dining table and chairs upholstered in a Pierre Frey fabric set up a comfortable dining zone. Iron chandelier, Imagine This. Oversized urn, Orient House. Mirror, Parterre. Sisal rug, International Floorcoverings. Vincent’s Garden deck chair, Cotswold Furniture Collection.
KITCHEN Thanks to the generous island bench the kitchen has been transformed into the home’s social centre. Benchtop in Giallo Antico marble, Artedomus. Polished nickel sink and taps, The English Tapware Company. Leather stools, Instyle. Ilve cooker.
Smart buy: Hundi pendant lights, from $450 each,
Côté Maison. For Where to Buy, see page 188.