SWEET SANC­TU­ARY

A clas­si­cal French-style home in Syd­ney’s Belle­vue Hill gets an ex­otic Mediter­ranean makeover.

VOGUE Living Australia - - News - By ALEXAN­DRA GOR­DON Pho­tographed by AN­SON SMART

A clas­si­cal French-style home in Syd­ney’s Belle­vue Hill gets an ex­otic Mediter­ranean makeover

Romi Weinberg doesn’t have to travel far to get into the hol­i­day spirit; she has her own lit­tle piece of the Mediter­ranean right at home in Syd­ney. Shel­tered from view at the end of a long drive­way in Belle­vue Hill, the house it­self is like a hid­den oa­sis. “I thought it was so spe­cial be­cause it’s tucked away,” she says. “Most peo­ple don’t even know it ex­ists.” Ini­tially drawn to the se­cluded lo­ca­tion, Weinberg just needed to change the style of the house to bet­ter suit her life with her two daugh­ters, Bo, nine, and Ta­tum, four. With a back­ground in fash­ion and styling events, Weinberg was not short on ideas. Hav­ing never done any­thing on this scale be­fore, she en­gaged ar­chi­tec­ture fi­firm CM Stu­dio to help her turn her dreams into a re­al­ity. “They were very open and ex­cited about the project,” says Weinberg. “They learnt things along the way and used fifin­ishes they had never even heard of be­fore.” One such fin­ish used through­out the house is tade­lakt, a Moroc­can plas­ter ef­fect. “The one per­son in Syd­ney who does it [Peter Holmes at Tade­lakt Syd­ney] set up a tent and camped in my house and spent close to four months here,” she says. The rooms that fea­ture this ir­reg­u­lar sur­face, from the open kitchen to each of the four bath­rooms, were worked on one at a time and evolved as they were com­pleted by hand. “It was very much like art­work and I would say that’s the main per­son­al­ity of the house,” says Weinberg, clearly pleased with the re­sults. Apart from the kitchen, the lay­out re­mained in­tact. Weinberg is a keen cook and en­ter­tainer so it was im­por­tant for her to in­crease the size of the kitchen and im­prove its con­nec­tion with the rest of the house. “I es­sen­tially opened it up and made a brand new space,” she says of the gen­er­ous room, which in­cludes a com­mer­cial- grade bar­be­cue next to the large oven and walk-in scullery-cum- pantry be­hind an­tique shut­ters. The fifth bed­room also be­came ››

‹‹ a play­room for her girls, con­ve­niently ad­ja­cent to the more re­laxed lounge room and Weinberg’s of­fice. While the changes were mostly cos­metic, they have made a world of dif­fer­ence. “The house had quite a clas­si­cal French feel and I wanted to make it a lit­tle bit more modern Mediter­ranean,” says Weinberg of the eight-month ren­o­va­tion. The fin­ishes were sim­pli­fied from a patch­work of tiles, tim­ber and car­pet to white tim­ber floor­boards through­out, even up­stairs. “My par­ents said, ‘Don’t, it’s go­ing to be so noisy’, but I was adamant that I wanted that look and I love it,” says Weinberg, who placed rugs here and there to soften the floors. To stay in sync with the Mediter­ranean hol­i­day mood, rus­tic el­e­ments were added through­out. “I like things that are im­per­fect and dis­tressed so I tried to bring that into the house,” says Weinberg. “Be­fore it was a lot more pol­ished; now it’s re­laxed in keep­ing with my aes­thetic.” The front door has been stripped back and left raw at Weinberg’s re­quest, and she dressed up all ex­ist­ing and new join­ery with cup­board fronts made of re­cy­cled strips of tim­ber. “He just un­der­stood that I wanted all the knots and ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties,” says Weinberg of the joiner, who also built the in­ter­nal shut­ters. Lush and green, the sur­round­ing gardens play a vi­tal role in cre­at­ing a re­sort-like feel. The house al­ready had a well-es­tab­lished gar­den, but Weinberg col­lab­o­rated with Mar­cia Hosk­ing at The Hosk­ings Part­ner­ship to cre­ate out­door spa­ces that worked with the vi­sion she had for the house. The pair added cacti and suc­cu­lents to the seat­ing area and palms and white bougainvil­lea to the en­try, where vines were re­moved so the house could be painted in crisp white. Al­though there is a sense of the ex­otic about the prop­erty, Weinberg sourced al­most ev­ery­thing lo­cally. She lay­ered sec­ond­hand and ››

this page: an­other view of the liv­ing area, which opens onto an out­door space fur­nished with cus­tom out­door fur­ni­ture by MCM HOUSE; GER­VA­SONI ‘Ghost’ love seat; macrame wall hang­ing from ROUND NINE. op­po­site page: a rus­tic tim­ber awning was built above...

from left: in the kitchen, a sus­pended vin­tage lad­der from LU­NA­TIQUES is used as a dis­play rack; African stools from ORI­ENT HOUSE; ‘Pri­vate 0204’ hemp rug from BEACH­WOOD. Open tade­lakt shelves by PETER HOLMES at Tade­lakt Syd­ney.

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