New beginning A Hamptons-style home with a laid-back feel
A FAR CRY FROM ITS DATED ORIGINS, THIS FAMILY HOME HAS BEEN GIVEN A HAMPTONS-STYLE MAKEOVER THAT EMBRACES ITS OWNERS’ LAID-BACK LIFESTYLE
Gary and Carly had long admired the avenue of American maples and expansive grounds of the property across the road from Gary’s parents’ home in Sydney’s verdant north-west. The couple made it known that if the owners ever wanted to sell, to please let them know. When that time came, the owners invited Gary and Carly over for dinner, and a deal was struck over wine and cheese. “The lovely owners had built the home from scratch, raised their family in it and wanted to pass on a legacy,” explains Gary. “They didn’t want it demolished. They wanted the next generation to feel the joy of living with so much space.” A huge animal lover, Carly knew the property would be perfect for their children – Jack, now 10, and six-year-old Scarlett – and the family’s dogs, Gigi, Pixie and Ellie. The interiors, which featured terracotta tiles, a rainbow of coloured walls and an abundance of archways, were another story. “The house itself was a bit overwhelming,” recalls Carly. “It was grand and beautifully spacious, but the ground floor was a rabbit warren of rooms, and not many of them had natural light. I knew from the outset we would need help to transform it.” Enter Leanne Smeallie of Ampersand Interiors, who was engaged to help lighten and modernise the building. “We thought we just needed to update the interiors, but Leanne really helped us identify how we wanted to live in the home,” says Gary. “She opened our eyes to how we could connect the house to the garden.” Leanne’s advice was to reconfigure the ground floor and leave the formal rooms at the front of the house, but combine the five rooms at the rear into one airy open-plan kitchen and dining zone. She also suggested extending the roof over the back deck to create an all-weather outdoor room. “Gary and Carly’s inspiration images highlighted their preference for the Hamptons look,” says Leanne. “Thankfully, many of the original
features could be updated in this way.” A classic Hamptons palette of white and grey with blue accents unifies the ground floor. Formal rooms were transformed with Dulux Bearsuit and the high-use areas were painted in Dulux Natural White and Vanilla Quake. Original parquetry floorboards were stained a rich walnut and the archways were removed, except for one at the entry to the house. The grand proportions of the house might have been very welcome, but they did pose some challenges. “Our previous home was a cottage, so in the new space our furniture looked like it had come from a doll’s house,” explains Carly. “Leanne was our secret weapon in making it feel cosy.” The end result of the year-long renovation has been pure joy for all involved. “We knew we would love living here and we do,” says Gary. “But the icing on the cake came when we showed the previous owners. They were thrilled for us and couldn’t be happier with how we have transformed it.”
KITCHEN Light from the back deck floods the open-plan kitchen and dining area (below & opposite).For continuity, both areas have the same sandblasted marble tile on the floor, while the handmade cement gloss subway tile from Surface Gallery has been repeated as the feature for both the internal kitchen and external barbecue area. Classic wicker and cane furniture, from Lincoln Brooks, was selected for both spaces, with a woven basket from Style My Home sitting easily in the textural palette.
KITCHEN NOOK “‘Practical and beautiful’ was the mantra for the high traffic areas,” says interior designer Leanne, and this space off the kitchen, used by Gary and Scarlett (pictured below), fits the brief perfectly. Spills and marks easily wipe off the Herringbone outdoor fabric from Westbury Textiles that has been used on the kitchen banquette, while a glass top protects the timber table.