Style re­vival

Restor­ing this charis­matic Fed­er­a­tion home pre­sented cer­tain chal­lenges, but the de­sign­ers dis­cov­ered they could in­cor­po­rate some of its 80s ren­o­va­tion quirks.

Belle - - Los Angeles Home -

While its spec­tac­u­lar view of Syd­ney’s ‘coathanger’ has re­mained solidly con­stant over the years, this im­pos­ing Fed­er­a­tion house, in brick with shin­gle-clad up­per lev­els, has not shared the same fate. When the own­ers rst laid eyes on it, a 1980s ren­o­va­tion had left its call­ing card, com­pro­mis­ing the won­der­ful her­itage our­ishes and adding dated touches of its own. The pal­ette, too, had a se­ri­ous case of the beiges.

Re­turn­ing from a stint in Sin­ga­pore, the pro­fes­sional cou­ple with two teenage chil­dren bought the three-and-a-half level home on the lower North Shore in 2017. Spell­bound by the quintessen­tially Syd­ney as­pect, they were also charmed by the home’s gen­er­ous pro­por­tions and pe­riod fea­tures, such as its lofty ceil­ings, cor­nices, and painted fres­coes on the din­ing-room doors. But the ren­o­va­tion had also left arched win­dows at odds with the orig­i­nal ar­chi­tec­ture, as well as raw brick­work, cream car­pets and faux stained glass that mim­icked the orig­i­nal win­dows else­where, all of which were de rigueur in the 1980s. Sim­i­larly, the coun­try-in­spired kitchen, with honey tim­bers and black gran­ite bench­tops, looked de­cid­edly un­der­cooked. On friends’ rec­om­men­da­tions, they hired in­te­rior de­sign­ers Sarah Mar­riott and Dani Hans of Sarah Jayne Stu­dios, to­gether with Laurie Liskowski of Liskowski Ar­chi­tects, to breathe new life into the home.

“This amaz­ing her­itage prop­erty was in need of up­dat­ing and added warmth,” says the owner. “We re­quired help to mod­ernise, yet we wanted to re­tain many of the orig­i­nal pe­riod fea­tures to make this beau­ti­ful and el­e­gant house a truly great fam­ily home.”

“We saw so much po­ten­tial,” adds Sarah. “We could have fun and play up the pro­por­tions and the quirky fea­tures. We also wanted to make each space its own spe­cial area, dis­tinct from all the oth­ers in the house.” The fam­ily, too, needed pri­vate spa­ces to re­treat to, as well as gath­er­ing places to share meals and re­lax.

Few changes were made to the oor­plan. With the re­moval of a door­way, a li­brary-cum-bar was cre­ated from a poky room at the end of the hall­way. The de­sign team ripped out the kitchen and re­placed it with one in mar­ble, while the bath­rooms with their faux pe­riod fea­tures were re­placed with mod­ern, clean and con­tem­po­rary nishes. Mean­while, the at­tic level was opened up for the own­ers’ teenage son, and in­cludes a sit­ting area and what Sarah calls a “fab­u­lously in­dul­gent” shoe and bag room.

On the en­try level are a for­mal din­ing room and liv­ing room, the li­brary, and new kitchen and in­for­mal din­ing be­hind the stairs. A study sits off the stair­way be­tween the ground and rst lev­els, hence the half oor, while four bed­rooms oc­cupy the rst oor. The top oor com­prises an at­tic bed­room and sit­ting room.

“For the in­te­ri­ors, we took in­spi­ra­tion from the house it­self,” says Sarah. “There is light and shade, tra­di­tional and more whim­si­cal el­e­ments, pay­ing homage to the ar­chi­tec­ture, but with magic mo­ments.” But rst, they pared back the house and “re­moved all the 80s beige”. Sarah and Dani laid new oak oor­ing on the ground oor and in the up­stairs main bed­room, while also restor­ing the tes­sel­lated hall­way to its for­mer grandeur. Us­ing crisp white, they played up fea­tures such as the cor­nices, skirt­ings, lead­lights, pan­elled doors and the stair­case. The lat­ter, jux­ta­posed with black-stained balustrades and ris­ers, ref­er­ences the black and white-tiled oor­ing, in a house that’s full of light and dark con­trasts. Pops of colour, echo­ing the gor­geous orig­i­nal stained glass in the front door, en­liven a pal­ette of tran­quil neu­trals and graphic black and white.

In­spi­ra­tion for the din­ing room came from the fres­coes on the doors and the ce­ladon-green side­board the clients brought back from Sin­ga­pore. “We wanted to keep it dra­matic and bold, with the grass­cloth teal walls which give a tex­tured, Asian feel,” says Sarah. The gen­er­ous mir­ror height­ens the drama.

Per­haps most dra­matic of all, in a mas­ter stroke of up­cy­cling, an arched win­dow in the main bed­room, once a stained-glass win­dow be­tween the sleep­ing area and en­suite, has resur­faced with steel-framed dou­ble doors as a the­atri­cal en­try to a brand-new en­suite from the walk-in. Sep­a­rat­ing the bed­room from the walk-in, Sarah has added low-level join­ery, its shelves boast­ing a rich ruby hue, echoed else­where in the room’s fur­ni­ture and partly in­spired by the home’s stained-glass win­dows.

“The her­itage de­tails and pro­por­tions of the orig­i­nal ar­chi­tec­ture were care­fully re­tained and re­stored,” says Sarah, “with small mo­ments of magic cre­ated in ev­ery room – from the din­ing room, with its deep teal wall­pa­per, to the li­brary with its rust-up­hol­stered arm­chairs.”

“I love the tiny li­brary,” adds Dani. “With the high ceil­ings and the rich­ness of the chairs, it’s so­phis­ti­cated, but also play­ful.” Much like the rest of the house. At ev­ery turn, its prove­nance is re­spected, but given a fresh and novel twist, in an homage that will en­sure it re­mains time­less – not un­like that iconic view that ini­tially wooed its own­ers. #

For more, go to sarah­jaynes­tu­dios.de­sign; liskowski.com.au.

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