Designed by South African architects, this Sydney home is perfect for an indoor-outdoor lifestyle
Situated on the water’s edge in Double Bay, an upmarket suburb located along Sydney’s vast natural harbour, this two-storey family home was designed by South African architects SAOTA, and takes maximum advantage of the scenic views over the pristine beach and bay in front of the house. The homeowners’ brief to the architects was to ensure that the house balanced the requirements of family living with socialising and entertaining. And with the architectural layout and decor allowing for small family gatherings and big functions in equal measure, it’s safe to say that the design has certainly met the owners’ needs. The ground floor accommodates the kitchen and the main living and entertainment areas, while the upper level comprises five bedrooms and an additional intimate lounge for the family.
On entering the abode, a double-volume lobby immediately captures the eye – and the imagination – and reveals glimpses of the sophisticated interior design within, created by Cape Town-based studio ARRCC. The expansive two-storey wall in the entrance hall is grounded by a striking Okha Hits and Misses server, with the detailed metal base adding warmth to the space. Custom-made beaten brass discs, imagined by ARRCC and executed by Sydney craftsperson Andrew Earp, are spaced across the full expanse of the double-volume wall above the server. The changing light and shadows cast by this installation mimic the play of the reflections across the bay.
Shaped wooden slats frame the interior staircase, which is visible from the street outside and reveals itself further as you enter the abode. The wooden slats soften the architectural lines and add interest while also creating a private ‘core’ of the home that circles up to the first floor’s sleeping quarters.
In turn, the lobby opens up to an internal courtyard – which can also be used as an entertainment space – where a mirrored sculpture by Israeli artist and industrial designer Arik Levy serves as a focal point. On the opposite side of the courtyard, a large exterior white wall on the upper level doubles as a screen for outdoor movie nights.
On the ground floor, full-height glass doors and windows bring in the magnificent views, at the same time allowing the living and entertainment spaces to flow into one another. All these spaces on the lower level were conceptualised and furnished via close collaboration between the designers and the homeowners, and the result yielded a very special
On the ground f loor, full-height glass doors and windows bring in the magnificent views, at the same time allowing the living and entertainment spaces to f low into one another.
collection of international brands and South Africandesigned, custom-made pieces.
Various shades of blue – the homeowners’ favourite hue – are included in the house’s palette: selected furniture pieces and accessories, as well as bespoke handtufted rugs made of wool and bamboo silk, are used to bring these blue notes into the mostly neutral scheme to provide little bursts of colour that capture and reflect the tones of the waterfront.
Having an open design on the ground floor means that the vistas over the bay are visible from most areas, providing a beautiful backdrop for any social occasion. But the interior ‘views’ are exceptional, too. To add interest to the formal lounge, a variety of finishes were chosen: the oversized artwork above the fireplace, created by contemporary American artist Pae White, features images of foil woven together in cotton and polyester, which adds a textural dimension to the entertainment area as well as reprising the overall colour palette.
Outside, the furnishings in the entertainment areas continue the indoor colour theme, cementing the concept of seamless integration. Decor highlights here include an outdoor sofa and rug designed by Italian design firm Paola Lenti, as well as a gorgeous rough marble coffee table by Milan-based Italian interior designer Henry Timi. Ceramic stools in blue and silver from Italian furniture designer and manufacturer Gervasoni accentuate the deep colours of the pool, and are teamed with custom-made wooden stools to create a layered and textural feel.
In complete contrast with the transparency and openness of the ground floor, the upper level is clad in a variety of more ‘solid’ finishes, which create a sense of seclusion upstairs. This is where the family retreats to an intimate lounge that is an informal gathering space, and where all the bedrooms are situated.
Clean lines and large volumes using warm timber, white walls and travertine floors, integrating with the bay views beyond, combine to blur the boundaries between the inside and the outside – at the same time creating perfect balance between entertainment space, privacy and the needs of the family. saota.com, arrcc.com
Various shades of blue are included in the house’s palette: selected furniture pieces and accessories provide little bursts of colour that capture and reflect the tones of the waterfront.
T HIS SPR EA D, CLOCKWISE F ROM LEFTLocated on a raised level, the informal lounge features pops of sunshine yellow in the armchairs by Saintluc S.R.L (saintluc.fr), disrupting the neutral and blue palette seen throughout the ground floor. The owners’ existing artwork was incorporated into the room, and includes a sculpture by Yioryios on the left; in the main bedroom, the custommade bed is dressed in Quagliotti Italian linen, supplied by The Hall Collection (thehallcollection.co.za). Black Atollo table lamps by Oluce (oluce.com) add a striking modernist contrast, while the burnished bronze sidetable lends warmth to the cool tones of the space; apart from providing privacy, the metal mesh screen on the upper level of the house creates interesting texture; Enchanted Woods wallcovering in Moon Glow by Phillip Jeffries (phillipjeffries.com) wraps the guest bathroom walls, picking up on the brass finishes and the angular mirror imported from France.