71 GREENKNOWE REVEAL: THE LUXE FACTOR

Last year we were engaged to revive a dim inner-city apartment in Sydney’s Potts Point. A complete reinvention of the spaces has returned a sense of luxury and re-engaged the home with the spectacular views afforded by its enviable location.

Before anything, the apartment required some intense spatial reworking. The introduction of a second-floor living area doubled the size of the home, but the original lower level needed reconfiguring to relieve the apartment of its cramped rooms. We prioritised opening and brightening the home, exploring how the space could work harder for its inhabitants, while maintaining a feeling of warmth.

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We overhauled the original intricate floorplan, creating wider hallways and introducing curved walls to create the allusion of more space.

With the flow and positioning of the spaces resolved, we set out to create a real sense of inner-city glamour. The material palette is simple yet striking, comprising of light timber throughout both levels, grey marble, and a combination of brass, bronze and, aged iron accents. 

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Creative custom details such as the curved kitchen in brass and the coordinating brass handle joinery exude the allure of a luxury hotel. It’s a space designed to impress, dripping in gold.

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The brass screen, mounted on the kitchen island functions as the soul of the apartment, adding character, tactility and warmth.

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As well as dialling up the luxe factor, the combination of metals capture the city glow and the stunning views, bouncing the light around the apartment and transforming the space as the light shifts outside.

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In the bathroom and powder room, textural elements such as the mosaic tiles add drama and the sculptural shapes of the basins and sinks continue this theme. We kept the vanities open, placing storage elsewhere, to maximise the feeling of space in these smaller rooms.

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The finished space is rich in material beauty and detail. Essential to the interior design’s success are the bespoke elements where texture and shape are used to define each space and create visual interest.

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All images via ©Alexandra Kidd Design

WENTWORTH STREET REVEAL: TWO ERAS MEET IN HARMONY

When we first got our design hands on Wentworth Street, it was a tired federation cottage, bursting at the seams. More space to accommodate a young family of four was the top priority for our clients, which saw our studio take an architectural approach to the renovation.

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In a bid to better serve the family’s long-term needs, we introduced a first floor and restructured the floorplan, optimising the original living zones and providing plenty of room for retreat. Limited to strict council regulations that opposed a faux-federation addition, we opted for contemporary architecture in stark contrast to the original build.

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This serendipitous juxtaposition between federation and contemporary set the tone for the rest of the renovation. Embracing the narrative of old and new, we preserved the integrity of the original build by avoiding imitation, instead, introducing an assured modern aesthetic. One look at the heritage façade and you would hardly imagine the strong, clean-lined timber-screened haven at the rear.

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Inside the home, a thoroughly contemporary layout unfolds, exhibiting all the modern-day necessities, including a cleverly built-in office nook and generous kitchen island – the perfect stage for juggling family life with ease.

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Designed with long summer evenings in mind, the ground floor houses one sprawling, sun-soaked communal area, with the kitchen, dining and living area opening onto an expansive entertaining courtyard at the rear. It’s an idyllic social sanctuary, fit for hosting any manner of soiree or children’s party.

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Throughout, contemporary distinctions have been celebrated, evident in the clean lines and sleek finishes, all the while referencing what went before. Steel-framed windows and the geometric staircase are offset by dark-stained herringbone flooring and custom arched joinery, which pay homage to the traditional features of the original build.

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In the kitchen, panelled cabinetry, informed by the federation era, and a powdery white palette continue the careful dialogue between past and present.

Beyond the kitchen’s white oasis lies a more formal dining area, set for intimate, sit-down affairs. A hanging pendant by Melbourne-based designer Christopher Boots grounds the dining setting in the open-plan space, and commissioned artwork by celebrated Australian artist Kerry Armstrong further defines the area.

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The touches of luxury are undoubtedly impressive but given this is a home for a young family, our brief for a timeless interior that was not too serious or precious was our ultimate goal. Every design element is practical and has a purpose, and the result is a tangible sense of authenticity throughout.

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A contemporary sanctuary fit for a young family now resides behind the federation façade, affording a real sense of two eras meeting in harmony.

See the full Project Album
All images ©Alexandra Kidd Design

Q&A with Fiona Ericsson & Julia Levitt, Sticks & Stones Landscape Design

There’s a saying that goes something like: what you see in others is a reflection of ourselves. That’s what we felt the moment we met Fiona and Julia of Sticks & Stones, an award-winning landscape design studio.

Creatives after our own heart, Fiona and Julia run a dynamic team, create beautiful work and establish meaningful relationships with clients and collaborators. Perhaps what struck us most about this dynamic duo was their clear and pragmatic approach to design and communication; Fiona and Julia listen to a brief and deliver exactly what a client is looking for. Each and every one of their projects is diverse and original, and importantly for us, always the perfect complement to our interiors.

We love hearing stories of Fiona’s son playing bagpipes in the back yard - she makes creating beautiful gardens and juggling a busy family look as calm as can be.

This month, we reveal our Ada Avenue project, a home we worked on closely with Sticks & Stones. Opening the home’s tired 1970’s interior to the gorgeous greenery beyond it, with the help of Fiona and Julia, was the most rewarding partnership, and we’re excited for you to see the fruits of our joint labour here. In the meantime, get to know the green-fingered pair behind our Ada Avenue garden, as they talk family life, building a business and life lessons.

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WHICH THREE WORDS BEST DESCRIBE YOU?

F:  Creative, Curious & Inclusive

J: Vibrant, passionate, honest

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP?

F: An Artist

J: Flight attendant – so I could travel around the world

HOW DID YOU EARN YOUR FIRST PAY PACKET? 

F:  Kitchen hand – making fancy pants gourmet sandwiches!

J:   Working at a juice stand, Jamba Juice

WHAT IS THE BEST LIFE LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNT ALONG THE WAY?  

F:   Surround yourself with people who are positive and laugh at your jokes

J:  Be kind. It doesn’t cost you anything but can improve someone’s day and it will always come back to you.

AKD’s  Ada Avenue  project

AKD’s Ada Avenue project

WHAT'S YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT?

F:  Winning the Allan Corey Award for our contribution to our industry and community.

J: Sticks & Stones! Building our business from the ground up and watching it blossom into the successful studio it is today has been amazing. We have learned so much along the way, in particular skills that have nothing to do with our industry; marketing, web design, accounting.

WHO INSPIRES YOU?

F: Women who juggle family, work and life with a smile

J: My sisters. They are both extremely resilient, hardworking people who selflessly strive everyday to help improve the lives of people through their work.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST VICE?

F: Chocolate & books

J: Spritz!

The enviable view from our Ada Avenue master bedroom

The enviable view from our Ada Avenue master bedroom

DO YOU FOLLOW TRENDS OR ARE YOU A TRENDSETTER?

We are constantly searching for new and exciting plants and materials to use in our designs, but generally, try to avoid trends, aiming for a more timeless approach.

WHAT DREAM DO YOU STILL WANT TO FULFILL?

F: Live in New York.

J: Starting a family! I would also love the opportunity to be involved in an international landscape project.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH AKD?

The AKD vision is fresh. A collaborative approach and passion for creative solutions to all projects means working with them is an absolute joy!


The perfect relaxing spot at our Ada Avenue project

The perfect relaxing spot at our Ada Avenue project

Image 1 via Sticks and Stones / Images 2 - 4 via © Alexandra Kidd Design