Dou­ble the fun

Two apart­ments be­come one in a stylish ware­house con­ver­sion

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - Pic­tures John Fo­tiadis

It’s not every day that you walk into a beauty salon and walk out with a new in­te­rior de­signer. But that’s what hap­pened to Deanne Cas­tron­ini when she stepped into Ross Fairhurst’s busi­ness.

She and Peter Neave had bought two apart­ments off the plan in the his­toric Grif­fiths Teas build­ing in Surry Hills with the plan to turn them into one home. But they had no idea where to start.

While Deanne was at the salon, she ad­mired its in­te­rior renovations and asked who had done the work.

Af­ter dis­cov­er­ing owner Ross Fairhurst was re­spon­si­ble, Deanne in­vited him to take a look at their project.

Ross had an in­ter­est in in­te­rior de­sign and had some in­dus­try con­tacts but he read­ily ad­mits it wasn’t his area of ex­per­tise. Af­ter ac­cept­ing the chal­lenge, he made it a pri­or­ity to un­der­stand how the cou­ple lived.

“They were com­ing from a very large apart­ment in Cre­morne to a very in­ner city apart­ment that has no ex­ter­nal ar­eas,” Ross says. “I didn’t want the in­te­rior to com­pete with the views, and most im­por­tantly I wanted it to be peace­ful and calm.”

Op­ti­mis­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties

Ross says PopovBass Ar­chi­tects pro­vided a beau­ti­ful can­vas for the new Surry Hills apart­ments, with Euro­pean oak tim­ber floors and mar­ble bench­tops.

The circa 1915 build­ing had rus­tic bricks that were left ex­posed, beau­ti­ful large win­dows and stun­ning raked ceil­ings.

Ross says the north­east as­pect of Peter and Deanne’s sixth-floor apart­ment was a bonus, pro­vid­ing am­ple light and city views.

But he wanted to al­ter the two-bed­room floor­plan so he con­tacted the ar­chi­tects.

While Deanne and Peter’s floor­plan in­cluded an L-shaped liv­ing space, with slid­ing doors pro­vid­ing the op­por­tu­nity to close off part of the room, Ross was con­cerned.

“Deanne wanted a room where she could do her own pri­vate pi­lates work­outs on her own equip­ment,” Ross says.

“I con­vinced them to lose the doors and I cre­ated a wall with join­ery and the apart­ment be­came three bed­rooms, with one of those rooms ded­i­cated to pi­lates.”

Ross was also con­cerned about the kitchen, given Deanne and Peter are keen en­ter­tain­ers.

“I felt the kitchen was in­ad­e­quate for the de­mands that would be made on it for entertaining,” he says. “I re­designed as­pects of it and man­aged to in­clude a walk-in, 2m-wide pantry, a 900mm oven, a steam oven and I dou­bled the fridge space.

New York state of mind

Ross says he felt a re­spon­si­bil­ity when it came to the her­itage of the build­ing.

“I wanted to hon­our the build­ing — all those beau­ti­ful big white-washed beams, the cen­tral columns,” he says.

“When you’re in that build­ing, you get the sense you are truly in a New York-style ware­house be­cause even when you walk the hall­ways, there’s ref­er­ence to the way the Grif­fiths Teas build­ing was used in the past. It’s got in­dus­trial el­e­ments to it and that’s why I used quite a bit of metal, along with fab­rics like vel­vets and silks, ” he says. “It wasn’t about pre­tend­ing the build­ing didn’t ex­ist.”

Made to mea­sure

Ross had a num­ber of pieces cus­tom made, in­clud­ing the sofa, ot­toman, din­ing room table, towel rail in the bath­room, con­sole table and join­ery, with each piece made to the mil­lime­tre to fit per­fectly.

The din­ing table seats four on a daily ba­sis but can be ex­tended to seat 10, and a num­ber of the pieces in the apart­ment serve a dual purpose. The size of the lift meant the sofa had to be spe­cially made in two pieces.

The liv­ing room also wasn’t an easy shape to work with — it goes into a wedge on the north­east cor­ner — so fit­ting fur­ni­ture wasn’t straight­for­ward, plus the large win­dows meant there wasn’t a lot of wall space avail­able.

But by in­clud­ing the third bed­room for the pi­lates equip­ment, a wall was cre­ated which al­lowed for a large sec­tion of join­ery in the liv­ing room, and it now houses the pop-up tele­vi­sion and a floor-to-ceil­ing china cab­i­net.

The own­ers love their new home. While Ross is con­tin­u­ing with his salon work, now he’s also work­ing on new in­te­ri­ors projects.

Fe­bru­ary 24, 2018

Raked ceil­ings and ex­posed brick walls are a re­minder of the build­ing’s in­dus­trial past.

De­signer Ross Fairhurst got the job af­ter Deanne vis­ited his salon.

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