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