AN EVO­LU­TION­ARY TALE

Over eight years, the uber-tal­ented de­sign team Juli­ette Arent and Sarah-Jane Pyke have slowly but surely brought this Vic­to­rian-era ter­race house in Syd­ney to life.

VOGUE Living Australia - - Apartments - By Ver­ity Magdalino Pho­tographed by Felix For­est Por­trait pho­tographed by Hugh Ste­wart

For Juli­ette Arent and Sarah-Jane Pyke, prin­ci­pals of in­te­rior de­sign stu­dio Arent & Pyke, a Vic­to­rian-era ter­race in Syd­ney’s Eastern Sub­urbs has formed the ba­sis of an eight-year jour­ney that has wit­nessed the birth of a richly lay­ered, in­tu­itive de­sign ethos — and a won­der­ful friend­ship. When the own­ers — a pro­fes­sional cou­ple with two young chil­dren and a love of art — bought the four-bed­room ter­race in 2010, they were liv­ing around the cor­ner in a home that had be­come too small for their grow­ing fam­ily. “They looked at this house as the next phase in their lives,” says Pyke. “For them, the de­sign is all about longevity be­cause they want to stay in this home.” Arent and Pyke, along with their as­so­ciate, Do­minique Brammah, worked on var­i­ous smaller projects through­out the house over the years for the home­own­ers be­fore com­plet­ing this — the lat­est and fi­nal grand sweep. “I love that they’ve com­mit­ted to mak­ing it con­tin­u­ally work for them,” says Pyke. “That’s been nice to be a part of.” Here, Pyke de­scribes the joy of the col­lab­o­ra­tive process. The beau­ti­ful thing about this project is that it’s evo­lu­tion­ary. We started ev­ery­thing at a light level when the clients first moved in and their chil­dren were very small. It was more about cos­metic changes — a fresh paint scheme, fur­nish­ings for the main bed­room and front liv­ing spaces, and a mi­nor up­date to the kitchen. When each of the chil­dren turned five, they got a big bed and a new bed­room scheme. The son’s room is one of my favourite parts of the house — be­cause it’s so minute. It was like a lit­tle puz­zle to de­sign and it had to feel spe­cial. The cus­tom join­ery on the wall has 13 colours in it and at the end of the bed we made this lit­tle step with a small read­ing nook that the kids love. Ev­ery­thing we’ve done to date has been very prac­ti­cal, so for this fi­nal it­er­a­tion we said we’re just go­ing to have fun and en­joy it. The free­dom of this ap­proach had a lot to do with the trust we’d built up with the own­ers. There’s an ease around work­ing to­gether, which is how you can then start to do things that are a lit­tle more un­ex­pected, like the de Gour­nay wall­pa­per in the kitchen. We had this bare wall in the kitchen that didn’t have a stor­age el­e­ment, so it was an op­por­tu­nity to em­bel­lish the space. In­ter­est­ingly, when you’re in the room, as much as the wall­pa­per is ››

‹‹ a strong fea­ture, it doesn’t shout at you. It has this great sub­tlety. And be­cause it’s hand­painted pa­per, it’s pre­cious. The chil­dren love it. See­ing them the day it was in­stalled, look­ing at the dif­fer­ent birds — it’s such a lovely el­e­ment to have in the house. We painted the main bed­room blue in 2010 — it was our first blue bed­room. When we re­vis­ited it eight years later, the own­ers said they wanted to keep it. It’s by far the big­gest room in the house, so the darker colour pro­vides some sort of scale and a sense of privacy and com­fort. We’ve done quite a few darker rooms over the years but this was the first time we got to ex­er­cise our de­sire for strong, moody bed­rooms, which have since be­come a thread through our sub­se­quent work. It felt out­landish at the time and I was quite im­pressed with the clients for em­brac­ing it. The ter­race has a lot of moody light­ing. If you have a dark room, it’s not about pump­ing it full of light be­cause there’s noth­ing you can do to change that. For us, it’s about cre­at­ing mood and tex­ture in those spaces — en­rich­ing, en­liven­ing and em­bel­lish­ing with colour, tex­ture and art. We al­ways talk about nat­u­ral light, which of course is re­ally im­por­tant, but half the time when you’re in your home it’s the evening, so it’s all about the ar­ti­fi­cial light­ing and lay­ers of lamps — of which there are many in this home — and cre­at­ing mood with light. The home­own­ers travel to France ev­ery year and sug­gested a French farm­house feel to the kitchen. The orig­i­nal kitchen was white with a pale lime­stone floor and we wanted it to be stronger and bolder. We were in­spired by the kitchen in the Ilse Craw­ford-de­signed ho­tel Ett Hem in Stock­holm, which is a huge favourite of ours. Ilse’s bench from the De La Es­pada col­lec­tion was in the de­sign from the very be­gin­ning. We then in­tro­duced some leather via the Zan­otta Toni­etta chairs and went for a much stronger floor — a ter­razzo with a re­ally clas­sic black-and-white graphic — in ad­di­tion to hand­made Mo­roc­can tiles and a hand­made zinc range­hood, which is a nod to that French in­flu­ence. The great thing about work­ing with peo­ple over time is that they get to evolve with you. What felt dar­ing 10 years ago doesn’t feel dar­ing now and you can re­ally build on that. You both want to see some­thing un­ex­pected; you want to see some­thing that brings a smile to your face. It’s a nice jour­ney to be on with peo­ple. Visit ar­ent­pyke.com

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