Astay at El Fenn in Marrakech inspired the aesthetic of this fabulous home in Sydney’s east. The clients bought the relatively new build while living in London, then engaged designers Justine Hugh-Jones and Katrina Mackintosh, of recently relaunched studio HughJones Mackintosh, to freshen it up, introduce more light and create a stylish, contemporary home for their family of five.
While the bones of the detached, five-bedroom house were good and no structural work was needed, the look was dated, and the designers opted for a fresh white palette enlivened with green accents throughout. The courtyard at the front of the house is a showstopper, welcoming visitors, acting as an extension of the living space for entertaining or as a private sanctuary for relaxation, so attention was focused here to get it right.
Says Justine, “This was a really critical part of the design. We worked to bring the courtyard into the house – and the house into the courtyard – and make a really beautiful, rich statement.” They engaged Richard Unsworth of Garden Life to create a planting scheme that promotes a lush, cool environment, with palms and cactus, succulents and trailing creepers spilling from planter boxes and enveloping the high walls.
The clients had fallen in love with the deep-green zellige tiles in the Moroccan hotel and wished to feature them in the renovation. Luckily the designers had a contact in Marrakech who was able to track down the exact tiles which have been used to stunning effect to cover one wall of the courtyard. This dramatic feature is a masterstroke, a graphic and unique backdrop to the multifunctional space which is the pivot of the home.
Into this haven of green, the designers introduced layers of texture with Emu ‘Heaven’ black mesh chairs and built-in seating, »