A new beginning A tired family abode is given a new lease of life
IT WAS A LONG TIME COMING, BUT THIS CHIC RENOVATION IN SYDNEY’S EASTERN SUBURBS HAS GIVEN A NEW LEASE OF LIFE TO ITS OWNERS
After living for more than 30 years in the home that Harry had built in Sydney’s eastern suburbs in the late 1970s, and with their three children grown up and moved out, it was time for Harry and his wife Elleni to consider their next move. Their blond/orange brick home had ’70s written all over it – carpet and green laminate in the kitchen, arches galore – and was in desperate need of repair. The couple, whom Harry describes as “full-time grandparents”, had begun thinking about their next step and were starting to visit open homes, albeit a little reluctantly. “We would go and see other homes, and as soon as we walked in, we noticed they were quite dark,” recalls Elleni. “And we’d come back home and it was so well-lit.” Still not sure what to do, the couple continued to contend with a leaking roof, and put off making any major decisions about their future. Then came the storm of Anzac Day, 2015. “That,” says Elleni, “was the storm that triggered the renovation. We had a waterfall coming in through the kitchen window!” With damage to the house they could no longer ignore, the couple (who had decided to stay), were forced to do the big job: putting in a new roof, rendering the home’s unattractive brick exterior, ripping out bathrooms and carpets, and entirely transforming the interiors. With the old fixtures gone, Elleni began the task of choosing new finishes, calling on the expertise of interior designer Victoria Waters, whose work embodied the classic look the couple desired. “Victoria was an amazing help,” says Elleni, who thoroughly enjoyed the decorating process. “As soon as we met, we clicked. We were on the same page.” Infused with a refined aesthetic, the home now features a calm palette of elegant greys and white, with touches of refreshing sea blues throughout. Luxe finishes including marble and crystal abound, with black accents adding drama and definition. “We wanted it to be timeless, but with a modern feel,” explains Elleni. With every piece of furniture from the home’s previous incarnation discarded – except for a console and mirror which have found their way into the couple’s daughter’s powder room – and the home designed exactly for the pair, the renovation has completely changed the way they live. “It’s comfortable, practical and functional,” says Elleni, who was particularly happy to let the kitchen carpet go. “It’s easy living.” The beautifully made-over home has its chic feet planted firmly in the future, and is set for plenty more joyous family times to come. “It’s also for the next generation, a home that we can enjoy with our children and grandchildren,” says Elleni.
“WE’RE FROM THE OLD SCHOOL WHERE THE lounge room WAS SEALED UP AND ONLY USED ON RARE occasions – WELL, THOSE DAYS ARE GONE!” ~ HARRY
The layout of the kitchen (above) was maintained in the renovation, although a 1970s signature archway was removed and the windows were widened. New cabinetry and appliances completed the major changes, with a benchtop in Caesarstone Clamshell complemented by a splashback in the same material, in Statuario Nuvo. “I love the new kitchen,” says Elleni.
A calming print by Dorryce Rock from Art2Muse picks up the greys and blues in the formal sitting room’s colourway (above right). “We decided on a grey colour palette,” says Elleni. “It’s calming, easy on the eye, and we’re delighted with the overall scheme.” Blue and white pieces – try Orient House for similar – are a nod to the home’s coastal location and perfectly suit the refined style.
“We enjoy sitting in the sunroom now and having a cup of coffee here,” says Elleni of the pretty space at the front of the home (right), featuring button-backed ‘Cardiff’ chairs and matching footstools from Pottery Barn. “It’s quite peaceful,” she adds. “It’s lovely with the curtains drawn and the sun streaming in.” Chandeliers here and in the adjoining TV room bring sparkle to the space; visit Chandelierium for a lovely selection.
“SOPHIA SAID TO ME ‘MUM, IF YOU’RE GOING TO RENOVATE, DO IT luxuriously’ – THAT WAS ALWAYS IN THE BACK OF MY MIND” ~ ELLENI
A cool aesthetic continues in the guest room (above left), with a quilt from Linen & Moore and a linen bedhead (for similar, try Interiors Online) providing captivating comfort. Gorgeous ‘Hampton Style’ carpet in colour Glen Cove, from Carpet Court, is the ultimate in underfoot luxury.
With its swathes of marble and touches of crystal, the bathroom (above right & opposite) has all the opulence of a five-star hotel. “I’ve always liked a classic white marble bathroom – it never dates,” says Elleni. “It really feels so much bigger than it was. It used to be yellow and brown – brown background with yellow flowers, very ’70s.” Adds Harry: “It will probably come back, by the way!” Large-format ‘Marvel’ Carrara floor tiles, framed by tiny mosaics (both from Beaumont Tiles), form a striking foundation, while dual inset basins in a Caesarstone Statuario Nuvo-topped vanity create a fine and functional statement. A sumptuous Victoria & Albert ‘Barcelona’ bath completes the glamorous fit-out.
Light greys and silver in the form of a unit from Max Sparrow and a metallic-framed ‘Imperial Geometric’ artwork from Designer Boys create a calming point of interest for guests as they enter Harry and Elleni’s lovely home (left).