UNDER CONSTRUCTION: THE ONLY WAY IS UP

Remember that old joke ‘How do you fit a family of elephants into a Mini?’

Take the roof off!

We are currently trying to solve that riddle on our Greenknowe Avenue project and I can tell you, from personal experience, it’s no laughing matter!

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Once a dramatic one bedroom bachelor pad housing fabulous art, a concert grand Steinway piano and a wet bar for a kitchen, our apartment is transforming into a family home for four (well, six if you count the fur babies!). We had literally been bursting at the seams with the once-sleek interior becoming superimposed with Barbie dream homes and finger paintings.

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We absolutely loved everything about the apartment and its location, it simply wasn’t big enough. So we dreamt up the perfect family home in the sky, complete with a rooftop garden and plunge pool. The project would involve adding two levels to an existing apartment building in Sydney’s Potts Point.

But first to persuade neighbours, council and the structural engineer! 

After many, many years of planning and design we have finally commenced work on our dream home in the sky. And indeed, the roof did come off!

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Retaining the original mood and feeling from our much-loved apartment was paramount. The concept is to preserve the black interior for the lower level and introduce a white ribbon into the dark box, whilst inverting this combination upstairs with a white interior swathed by a black ribbon. The apartment enjoys beautiful views and an abundance of natural light. The biggest challenge has been how to best capture the views whilst allowing some privacy from urban eyes.    

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Knee deep in demolition rubble with no roof and severe weather forecasts looming on the horizon have been conjuring the most dramatic of emotions – stress, excitement, denial. Did I mention stress?! To all our clients, past and present, I feel your pain.  

Follow the dramatic images and #GreenknoweAvenue updates on Instagram.

Wish us luck and plenty of sunshine!

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All images via © Alexandra Kidd Design

TIMELESS LUXURY, 15 YEARS ON . . .

This project was my first large-scale commission after I launched the AKD studio in 2002. When my clients called me to invite me to revisit the home I had designed for them, I was beyond delighted!

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The new brief was to re-imagine their family home for the next phase of their life, which now includes a brood of gorgeous grandchildren. There was no need to start from scratch, instead we redesigned the spaces with respect and empathy for the renovation that had gone before.

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We modernised the home by injecting enough new style to ensure cohesion throughout, yet displayed a distinctive contemporary quality that would carry them through the next 15 years.

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We enjoyed exploring a tactile palette, retaining the travertine that we had installed 15 years earlier and using this as the platform and connective base finish throughout.

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To complement the travertine and reinforce the understated luxury, we changed applications and textures of this material whilst also adding a handmade quality to all finishes, such as handpainted wallpapers, brass detailed cabinetry, a new staircase created by artisans, figured sycamore veneer, leather, wool and silk. The home is a complete tactile journey.

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Our client loved the original paint colour of the home and was loathed to touch it, however, we felt strongly that a new paint colour would allow the freshness required to match the renovation.

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The reclaiming of an undercroft area allowed us to create a grandchildren’s oasis, including play room, performance stage, fancy dress wardrobe, ensuite and terrace completely dedicated to the love, fun and inspiration of this growing generation. The playroom has been brought to life with AKD custom-designed furniture and bespoke printed wallpaper and cushions.

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The result is a home full of timeless elegance and understated luxury. What an honour it has been to design two renovations for this wonderful family at different stages of their lives. I am certain that this design will see them through the next 15 years and beyond!

All images via ©Alexandra Kidd Design

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UNDER CONSTRUCTION: ITALIAN INSPIRED VILLA VIBES

We have been working with our lovely clients to realise their dream family home, an Italian-inspired villa by the beach. The project is currently under construction, evolving organically and being carefully executed in stages to ensure the project remains on time and on budget! The focus of the first stage is to complete the main living level and the upper bedrooms, with the lower master suite level and the swimming pool to be completed in phase two.

There is of course a looming deadline, as there is with every project. However, the intrinsically relaxing energy surrounding this family home, the combination of natural light, ocean air and a leafy green outlook, create a sense of calm.

  We could never tire of this view of the ocean from the comfort of the master suite!

We could never tire of this view of the ocean from the comfort of the master suite!

The brief is to create a luxurious yet welcoming space for the whole family to enjoy. Our approach is to focus on materiality with a pared back sophisticated palette that features lime washed timber, powdery white walls, brushed limestone and tadelakt bathrooms. This tonal and textural ‘blank canvas’ allows us to add considered layers of colour and pattern.

  Our finishes palette - a work in progress! 

Our finishes palette - a work in progress! 

Once the brief had been established with the client, we set about planning the spaces. Not only was the layout of the kitchen in question, the location was also to be determined! We played with a number of options; locating the kitchen at the front of the house closest to the sun-drenched courtyard, or to the rear mezzanine level with enviable views. Stay tuned for the big reveal to find out the final location of the kitchen!

  The stairs leading to the mezzanine level is currently accessed via a plank!

The stairs leading to the mezzanine level is currently accessed via a plank!

The existing living area once featured structural columns that interrupted the flow of the expansive space. With some careful engineering, we were able to overcome this design challenge by relocating the columns, opening up the space to its full capacity. The client’s beloved three metre long Max Alto sofa now has a place to call home.

  The structural columns have now been safely re-located

The structural columns have now been safely re-located

The new floor plan celebrated the sunlight, views and indoor-outdoor flow. The existing steel windows have been retained and re-used where possible, providing a layer of authenticity to the home. New high ribbon windows allow greenery into the home whilst still maintaining privacy. A new skylight that drenches the staircase in sunlight.

  Admiring the light filtering through the new skylight. 

Admiring the light filtering through the new skylight. 

We are so excited to be a part of the evolution of this beachside family home. With the spatial planning and construction now well underway, we are enjoying the decorative phase of the project. Our clients are lovers of all things Italian (as are we!) so we can't wait to play with Italian fabrics, lighting and furnishings to ensure that every day feels like a holiday.

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All images via ©Alexandra Kidd Design