Budge Over Dover
Alteration + addition Sydney, NSW
Prior to designing this house, YSG principal Yasmine Saleh Ghoniem had worked with her client on Pacific Bondi, a 70-square-metre two-bedroom apartment (completed when Yasmine was a principal of interior design practice Amber Road). Newly engaged, with two kids and a third on the way, the owners purchased their next home in nearby Dover Heights and again engaged Yasmine for a renovation and refurbishment. Rather than a home that relied on tired tropes of coastal living, where muted “sand and sea” colour palettes reigned, they wanted one that would offer a vibrant but calm home for their growing family.
Perched on a hill, the boxy home was a rabbit warren of tiny dark rooms and hallways, a “soulless” house with “overzealous” travertine floors, explains Yasmine. YSG opened up the ground floor, demolishing several internal walls and raising the ceiling height to create a fluid living area that is connected to the outdoors. Outside, a northern courtyard, previously unused because it was too hot to stand in, is now enjoyed daily, linking to the kitchen and living areas via oversized bifold doors. Pavilion-like ceiling structures extend from the dining room to the courtyard to provide a shady, inviting entertaining area. The pool, which originally abutted the connecting door to the house, was reduced in size and resurfaced, affording more outdoor space for little ones to run around in.
These key structural changes have worked to support a highly nuanced interior that balances unexpected colour palettes and textural variations and depth. Sharp, square corners have been replaced by soft, sweeping curves, arched walkways give the home atmosphere and energy, and polished and raw surfaces interplay masterfully.
In the formal lounge and dining areas, what could have been a jarring colour combination – aubergine ceilings and pistachio walls – is surprisingly successful, united by a Marmorino polished finish. A hemp-rendered fireplace
acts as a seating edge to gather around, giving the formal space an easy approachability. At the clients’ recent engagement party, Yasmine delighted in seeing guests use the space as it was intended: wine bottles were propped up on the ledge while people perched on it and chatted.
In the kitchen, Black Panther marble and aged brass on the island bench mix unexpectedly with handmade terracotta tiles on the floor. Opposite, a banquette seat traces along a curved wall, creating an inviting breakfast nook.
On the first floor, the main bedrooms echo the downstairs palette, but with a deeper intensity – sage greens turn into deep eucalypts and soft eggplant purples become rich plums. Both main bedrooms look out to the South Pacific Ocean, the calming blues of ocean and sky looking particularly magnificent when underscored by the intentionally darkened interiors.
The eucalypt-toned ensuite is paired with black marble with caramel veining, while in the plum ensuite, black joinery walls and rose-shaded marble provide another vivid spatial experience. The travertine that overwhelmed the former home has been retained somewhat in these bathrooms, on walls and floors.
Art plays an important role in the house, at once telling the couple’s story and enriching the home’s spatial qualities. A piece by Stanislas Piechaczek, which hangs in the entry foyer, is the first artwork the clients purchased together and a reminder of an Easter holiday in Byron Bay. Another piece, by Kirsty Budge, was commissioned specially for the former Bondi pad (it is also the source of the home’s moniker, Budge Over Dover) but now sits above the fireplace, its colour and spiritedness integrating perfectly in the new family home.
Budge Over Dover has a confident, powerful energy, steeped in functionality and beauty. For Yasmine, craftsmanship plays an important role in achieving this – from the brushstrokes of the plaster walls and ceilings to the stonemason’s chiselled motions on the sandstone plinths and the handmade terracotta tiles. “We like to see the maker’s touch. All of our projects sport incredible craftsmanship. This attention to detail ensures that when people inhabit the space, they breathe it – not just watch it from afar, but become engulfed in all its beauty,” Yasmine says.
This craftsmanship and materiality has always been a signature part of Yasmine’s approach. When you visit the YSG website, a giant, animated slogan of sorts greets you: “The magnetism is in the mix.”
“It references the materiality of our work, and how varied that materiality is, and so the magnetism is in the variety of any of our palettes.
But it also references my heritage, which is also mixed, my mum being Australian and my father from Egypt,” Yasmine says.
For Yasmine, these origins, without doubt, inform her interiors. “Interiors were a big part of my growing up. I grew up in Kuwait and because it’s really hot there, you don’t spend a lot of time outside. Your interiors became your world. I was always really affected by them.”
The owners’ baby was born just one week after the family moved into their new home, and a few weeks before COVID-19 restrictions forced all Australians to self-isolate. For the children, growing up in an enriching, beguiling space like this one may well mean that interiors become an important part of their world, too.
Internal walls: Custom
Marmorino by Uprising Cement Renderers in ‘Sage Green’, ‘Toffee’ and ‘Blushing Aubergine’
Flooring: Bisanna terracotta tiles in ‘Maroc’
Lighting: Herman Miller Saucer Bubble pendant by George Nelson from Living Edge; Allied Maker Alabaster pendant; Douglas and Bec Line pendant; Soren pendant light by Pinch from Spence and Lyda; Temperature Design TW solid downlight cylinder in ‘Walnut’ Kitchen: Black Panther marble and oxidized brass kitchen island benchtop; stone benchtop and splashback from Mediterranean Marble in ‘Bianconi’
Bathroom: Astra Walker tapware in ‘Aged Brass’; Nood Co Pill basin in ‘Ivory’; custom stone vanity in ‘Rosso Portogallo’ from Euro Marble; Travertine floor and wall tiles
External elements: Trace armchair by Adam Goodrum from Tait; coffee table by Paola Lenti from Dedece; custom pool fence by Metrowelding
Other: E15 Houdini dining chairs; custom cushions designed by architect, fabricated by Rematerialised; vintage leather and chrome dining chairs from
The Vault Sydney; custom rug designed by architect, fabricated by Tappeti; custom brushed brass handrail by Architectural Metalworking Services; Tussah Linen curtains from Solis; custom dressing table designed by architect in ‘Juperana Bahia’ from Euro Marble, 2-pac finish tubular leg and custom bronze-finished brown cattle horn cabinet handles from Spark and Burnish