A vi­va­cious in­te­rior de­sign be­fits the clas­si­cally hand­some bones of this house.

Belle - - Belle Promotion - Pho­to­graphs MA­REE HOMER Words JAN­ICE JONES

A life-sized wis­te­ria wall­pa­per in­spired a colour pair­ing that proved in keep­ing with the glam­orous spirit of this grand home.

This page The De Gour­nay ‘Wis­te­ria’ hand­painted silk wall­pa­per wraps around the wall in the for­mal sit­ting room, fram­ing the view through to the din­ing room. Vin­tage chi­nois­erie stool. Oly Stu­dio ‘Ta­tum’ chairs ring a vin­tage mar­ble and chrome din­ing ta­ble. Vin­tage lucite banded pen­dant light. Op­po­site page The porte-cochère pro­vides a grand en­trance to the home. The garden was cre­ated by Richard Unsworth of Garden Life.

This page A mid-cen­tury Vene­tian chan­de­lier from Show­place NYC sparkles in the en­try. The stair run­ner was cus­tom made by White­clie Im­ports. ‘Cir­cles and Squares’ rug from Cadrys. Op­po­site page, top A pair of arched French doors con­nect the din­ing room to the garden. Be­low The sofa in the for­mal sit­ting room was re-up­hol­stered in Car­lucci di Chivasso pur­ple vel­vet. Scal­loped-edge brass coee ta­ble circa 1960. Mir­rored 1970s art­work by Greg Copeland.

Ap­ply­ing a pal­ette of punches of royal pur­ple spiced with com­ple­men­tary pops of or­ange might seem a dar­ing move, es­pe­cially in such a grand old house as this on Syd­ney’s North Shore. But in­te­rior de­signer Bren­dan Wong, en­listed by the own­ers to re­store and re­vamp the dis­tin­guished beauty, is known for his deft hand and his play­ful colour choices, and lay­ers of dec­o­ra­tive de­tail have re­sulted in a strik­ing home of rad­i­cal el­e­gance.

“My clients had lived in the house for sev­eral years af­ter pur­chas­ing it from the pre­vi­ous owner who had not made ma­jor im­prove­ments for 40 years,” says Bren­dan of the 1930s neo Ge­or­gian-style house with Span­ish in uences and art deco de­tails that was once part of a larger fam­ily es­tate. “They loved the gen­er­ous pro­por­tions of the house and sur­round­ing gar­dens but wanted a more con­sid­ered dec­o­rat­ing ap­proach and better con­nec­tiv­ity in the ca­sual liv­ing ar­eas.”

The own­ers had a strong in­ter­est in de­sign across a num­ber of dif­fer­ing pe­ri­ods, in­clud­ing art deco, mid-cen­tury Amer­i­can, and 1960s and 70s glam­our so Bren­dan de­vel­oped a con­cept that re­sponded ap­pro­pri­ately. “My ap­proach was to re­store the clas­si­cally hand­some bones of the house, then out t it with an el­e­gant yet vi­va­cious edge – so there are vis­ual con­trasts and ten­sions that are al­most cin­e­matic. It’s like an old movie script that has been brought to life by a care­fully se­lected group of new ac­tors.”

The two-storey home has four bed­rooms, three bath­rooms and var­i­ous liv­ing, li­brary and other rooms. Its large scale means there is a clear pur­pose for each room, be it re­lax­ing, read­ing or re­cre­ation, and Bren­dan’s de­sign re­sponds to that. “When you move from one room to the next there is a con­sis­tent ap­proach to the lay­er­ing of de­tail and the bold use of vi­brant colour. The colour of art­work in one room is a sub­tle link to fur­nish­ings in another. Much of the fur­ni­ture is vin­tage and was sourced glob­ally, now com­ing to­gether to con­trib­ute even fur­ther to a house that al­ready has so much his­tory.”

The de­signer took the time to seek out skilled crafts­peo­ple to re­store authen­tic el­e­ments of the grand house. He had some un­usual chal­lenges such as nd­ing some­one to re­store the orig­i­nal in­ter­nal bell sys­tem once used to sum­mon the ser­vants.

The orig­i­nal Solomonic columns and grand plas­ter­work were also re­stored and form a dra­matic dec­o­ra­tive arch at the start of the stairs in the en­try hall, which serves to con­nect the ground oor rooms. To lead the eye up the tim­ber stair­case, Bren­dan con­ceived a rich pur­ple run­ner fea­tur­ing a ne gold pin­stripe on one side as a nod to the un­con­ven­tional and “to hint at un­ex­pected in­te­rior el­e­ments within the tra­di­tional en­ve­lope”.

The de­signer was prompted by the own­ers to in­clude “some­thing hand­painted” in the for­mal sit­ting room and se­lected the del­i­cate De Gour­nay silk wall­pa­per for the walls. Its life-sized wis­te­ria pat­tern cas­cades from above and me­an­ders around the room, trail­ing up and over arch­ways bring­ing a soft touch to the in­te­ri­ors and serv­ing as a con­tin­u­a­tion of garden views.

“The pur­ple and or­ange theme was in­spired by the wis­te­ria,” says Bren­dan, who was en­cour­aged by the own­ers to be bold with colour. “The pur­ple has a state­li­ness to it that be ts the ar­chi­tec­ture – a grandeur as colour ap­plied in a con­tem­po­rary way. Dur­ing the day, the room sings with hues of pur­ple and or­ange and, al­though the ar­range­ment of the fur­ni­ture is some­what for­mal, there is a gen­uine sense of com­fort in the room. In the even­ing, the ceil­ing comes alive with re ec­tions from the Mu­rano glass chan­de­lier, each leaf il­lu­mi­nat­ing the next.”

The brief called for better con­nec­tiv­ity in the ca­sual liv­ing ar­eas. “With the doors open and striped awn­ings low­ered, there is a great

“... The room sings with hues of pur­ple and or­ange ... In the even­ing, the ceil­ing comes alive with re­flec­tions from the Mu­rano chan­de­lier.”

These pages De Gour­nay ‘Wis­te­ria’ hand­painted silk wall­pa­per in the for­mal sit­ting room. On the vel­vet sofa are a pair of cus­tom cush­ions in Kelly Wearstler ‘Edo’ fab­ric. Barovier&Toso 1960s ‘Pal­mette’ chan­de­lier. ‘Milo’ up­hol­stered arm­chairs from Ja­son Mowen. Kelly Wearstler ‘Tribute’ mar­ble side ta­ble from Becker Minty. Pair of vin­tage 1970s stacked Mu­rano glass ta­ble lamps from Marché Malas­sis, Paris. Cus­tom silk rug by Bren­dan Wong De­sign.

sense of shel­tered con­nec­tion to the pool and garden.” From the din­ing room with its grand arched win­dows, dou­ble doors open into the li­brary where another set con­nects to the garden, re­vamped by Richard Unsworth of Garden Life.

In the li­brary, Bren­dan cre­ated cross­hatched book­shelves in glossy lucite and mir­ror to give a sense of con­tin­ued depth. “I re­ally en­joyed the cre­ation of the li­brary – there’s so much focus on tech­nol­ogy and tele­vi­sion these days that it’s a plea­sure to en­cour­age peo­ple to pick up a book and take the time to read and re­lax. Books laid out on a gen­er­ous cof­fee ta­ble and a com­fort­able sofa and foot­stool could be all the in­spi­ra­tion you need to spend an af­ter­noon read­ing,” he says.

The 1930s full-sized bil­liard ta­ble still blazes a vi­brant green in its orig­i­nal room un­der the French-pol­ished tim­ber beams but is now ac­com­pa­nied by a Cather­ine Martin geo­met­ric wall­pa­per, new vel­vet up­hol­stery and hand­some bronze light ttings.

Bren­dan also ex­er­cised his li­cence for colour in the main bed­room, pair­ing tex­tu­ral pink grass­cloth with a cus­tom pat­terned pur­ple car­pet, bold tim­ber grains and strong ac­cent colours. “My in­ten­tion was for the bed­room to be vis­ually up­lift­ing, with a fresh­ness that brings a smile to the face each morn­ing,” he ex­plains.

In the end not one square cen­time­tre was left un­touched as other as­pects of the house started to ma­te­ri­alise. “We went over it with a ne-toothed comb to bring out the glory that may have been masked,” says Bren­dan. “The own­ers were a joy to work with and were rapt with the re­sult. Hav­ing put a lot of trust in the con­cepts, es­pe­cially in re­gards to colour – much of them quite brave choices – they re­ally en­joyed see­ing the house nished and were de­lighted with its sense of vi­brancy and how we breathed new life into their home.”

This page The 1930s bil­liard ta­ble is in mint con­di­tion. ‘Me­trop­o­lis’ wall­pa­per by Cather­ine Martin. Op­po­site page, top An arm­chair up­hol­stered in vin­tage Schu­macher fab­ric in the li­brary. Be­low French doors were added to ow through to the li­brary with another set open­ing to the garden. Cus­tom lucite and mir­ror book­shelves by Bren­dan Wong De­sign. Art­work by Dale Frank. Jonathan Adler ‘Rider’ benches with cus­tom up­hol­stery.


» The own­ers of a grand 1930s neo-Ge­or­gian style house on Syd­ney’s North Shore en­gaged de­signer Bren­dan Wong to com­pletely trans­form the home’s in­te­ri­ors. » A mul­ti­tude of dec­o­ra­tive el­e­ments of the home such as the Solomonic columns and the plas­ter­work were care­fully re­stored to their orig­i­nal glory. » The ca­sual liv­ing ar­eas con­nect better and al­low an easy  ow through to the glam­orous pool area and the garden cre­ated by Richard Unsworth. » The de­signer se­lected a hand­painted silk wall­pa­per in a wis­te­ria pat­tern that in­spired the el­e­ments of rich royal pur­ple and or­ange ac­cents seen through­out the ground  oor rooms. This page Paul Evans 1970s con­sole in pewter, cop­per, bronze and slate in the en­try foyer. Art­work un­known. Op­po­site page, top Kelly Wearstler ‘Soue’ ruched leather chair in the main bed­room with a 1980s art­work by By­ron Gálvez hang­ing above. Be­low French doors were in­stalled to open up the house to the re­vamped pool­side en­terain­ing area. Wal­ter Knoll ‘Ber­toia’ chairs and ‘Petal’ ta­ble sit un­der a striped awning by Sim­ple Stu­dio.

“My in­ten­tion was for the bed­room to be vis­ually up­lift­ing, with a fresh­ness that brings a smile ...”

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