Desert song This cou­ple have cre­ated their own slice of Palm Springs

IN­SPIRED BY MOD­ERNIST AR­CHI­TEC­TURE, ONE COU­PLE HAVE CRE­ATED THEIR OWN SLICE OF PALM SPRINGS IN SYD­NEY

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“THE sand­stone WAS A HUGE JOB – THE STONE­MA­SON WAS HERE FOR ABOUT THREE MONTHS hand-cut­ting THE PIECES” ~ SHARMIN

Late on a sum­mer’s day, as the light be­gins to fade, Sharmin and John love to spend time pool­side at their fam­ily home. “The view is just magic from our ca­bana when it’s start­ing to get dark,” says John. At mo­ments such as this, the Syd­ney cou­ple, who have long shared a love for mid-cen­tury Cal­i­for­nian ar­chi­tec­ture, feel they could al­most be in Palm Springs. Ex­cept, notes per­sonal stylist Sharmin with a laugh, the pres­ence of the one thing you’d be un­likely to en­counter in the iconic desert re­sort town: “Our kids’ tram­po­line!” “John’s al­ways been into that whole Rat Pack era,” ex­plains Sharmin. “He loves the cock­tails-by-the-pool vibe, but he’s also such a fam­ily man, so he wanted our house to be a mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of that – a place where you al­ways have your fam­ily around you. And that’s what we have here.” Par­ents to sons Ike, 13, and Sonny, 10, the cou­ple knew they had dis­cov­ered ‘the one’ be­fore they even stepped over the prop­erty’s thresh­old, back in 2008. “I can re­mem­ber walk­ing down the drive­way and both of us pinch­ing each other go­ing, ‘Oh my God! It’s got palm trees!’” says Sharmin. “We both love [leg­endary Cal­i­for­nian ar­chi­tect] Richard Neu­tra and that sort of sprawl­ing, sin­gle-storey open liv­ing. When we first walked into this house, we were both like, ‘I think we can do that here.’ It had that bun­ga­low feel­ing al­ready and, of course, we kept al­most ev­ery palm tree that was on the prop­erty.” The house, as it stood, was al­most ready for a makeover. So, af­ter liv­ing in it as it was for a few years, the cou­ple called on the ex­per­tise of ar­chi­tect and friend An­drew Don­ald­son from An­drew Don­ald­son Ar­chi­tec­ture & De­sign. Pre­sent­ing their vi­sion, they were thrilled to dis­cover they were all in sync with their ideas about an ex­ten­sive remodel and ad­di­tion. “An­drew knows us well – our chil­dren have been friends since they were young – so he un­der­stood what it’s like to have kids and still be into de­sign and beau­ti­ful ar­chi­tec­ture,” says Sharmin. “He’s also been to Palm Springs a num­ber of times, so we struck a com­mon vein there straight away.” With An­drew’s help, the cou­ple brought their mod­ernist vi­sion to life, cre­at­ing a low-ly­ing, sin­gle-level home that em­braces nat­u­ral light, or­ganic ma­te­ri­als and zesty hues. “Ev­ery­thing is ori­en­tated to en­joy the sun as much as pos­si­ble,” says Sharmin. “But there is no air-con­di­tion­ing. It’s all pas­sive ther­mal mass with con­crete floors. John and I are both quite en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious. That’s also why we didn’t want to lose any of the trees.” The warmth and stun­ning tex­ture of Syd­ney sand­stone also plays a star­ring role, both in­side and out. “I just love the stone,” says John. “It’s so beau­ti­ful.” Adds Sharmin: “A stone­ma­son hand-cut all the pieces. We wanted to make sure there was noth­ing too sym­met­ri­cal about it. It’s a real fea­ture.” Yet per­haps the crown­ing glory is the abode’s easy con­nec­tion with the out­doors. “We feel like we’re al­ways on hol­i­days,” says Sharmin. In­deed, the cou­ple couldn’t be hap­pier with the re­al­i­sa­tion of their Palm Springs-in­spired dream. “We of­ten pinch our­selves, go­ing, ‘We did this – we cre­ated this!’ ” says Sharmin. “The vi­sion has be­come the re­al­ity.”

LIV­ING & DIN­ING ROOMS As stylish as it is func­tional, the prop­erty’s cus­tomised, three-sided, sand­stone-clad Real Flame fire­place de­fines the liv­ing and din­ing zones (above). When it came to fur­nish­ing their home, Sharmin and John adopted a ‘bit by bit’ ap­proach. An orig­i­nal mid-cen­tury Dan­ish rose­wood din­ing ta­ble – adorned with a run­ner from Lu­na­tiques and il­lu­mi­nated by a Poul Hen­ningsen ‘PH5’ pen­dant light from Liv­ing Edge – was bought by the cou­ple “be­fore we had even laid a brick”. Zingy pops of lime come cour­tesy of restored orig­i­nal ‘Kai #42’ by Kai Kris­tiansen din­ing chairs. In the liv­ing do­main, the ‘Nook’ sofa by Jar­dan, made even more invit­ing with cush­ions from Free­dom and a grey Sheri­dan throw, con­tin­ues the mid-cen­tury theme.

STORY KA­T­RINA O’BRIEN & JACKIE BRYGEL STYLING RACHEL PETERSPHO­TOG­RA­PHY CHRIS WARNES

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