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

ADA AVENUE REVEAL: WHERE THE GRASS WAS ALWAYS GREENER

There’s no denying the appeal of country living – the wide open spaces dressed in rich gowns of green and bathed in natural light. But there’s also no denying the appeal of city living – easy access to cultural hubs, cutting the commute, and an endless calendar of diverse entertainment and events.

The best of both worlds is what makes our Ada Avenue project extra special – it occupies a rare slice of sprawling green landscape in Sydney’s upper North Shore, affording its’ inhabitants the joys of both a convenient city and charming country lifestyle.

Eager to take advantage of their enviable surroundings, our client approached us with an open mind, ready to also open up his original 1970s home to the indoor-outdoor way of living. The home’s traditional timber joinery, internal red brick walls and myriad vinyl flooring were long overdue a complete design overhaul.

In a bid to better connect the house with the rambling greenery beyond, we created large, French door openings so the living spaces could flow visually and practically to the outside. We also increased the veranda’s footprint outside the family room, and added a large skylight in the kitchen, letting in an abundance of much-needed light and rekindling the home’s relationship with its surrounding garden.

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The original, compartmentalised layout, which separated the kitchen from living and work spaces, was better suited to the lifestyle of another era, so we knocked down a few walls, opening up the cramped kitchen to be part of a larger, open-plan family space.

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To complete the vision of a home that was ready to celebrate the natural world around it, we took cues from the back doorstep and chose a material palette to echo the hues of the country garden. Soft furnishings in cool greys, blues and silver have been warmed with natural tan and rich chocolate accents, whilst velvet and leather accents add textural luxury.

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We introduced natural materials wherever we could, laying a solid timber floor throughout and selecting beautiful Ayfon Grey marble for the kitchen. The effect is a nurturing environment that effortlessly extends from the outside in.

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The original space was home to two beautiful arches and curved mouldings surrounding the doors which we loved, so we introduced two more arched openings and arched decorative mirrors to echo the sculptural shapes of the built elements, and extended the curve feature to include round rugs and tables. The effect is a soft and harmonious environment that welcomes anyone who steps inside.

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The kitchen nook is similarly a play on curves, with its round shape that embraces those who come to pull up a pew. The generous pendant light that hangs above adds a beautiful glow when the evening sun begins to sink behind the trees.

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The end result is a home that honours the tranquillity and privacy of those who live within its walls, whilst appreciating the stunning outdoor space that lies within reach.

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See the full Project Album
All images via © Alexandra Kidd Design

Q&A WITH SOPHIE VANDER OF CURATORIAL+CO

When it comes to championing unique and original artists, trust that Sophie Vander’s exceptional eye for beauty uncovers only the best pieces from each hidden corner of the globe.

We first started working with Sophie, the director of Curatorial+Co, on our beloved Jersey Road project. Sophie sourced many beautiful pieces for the project, so it’s probably no coincidence that Jersey Road ended up in the glossy pages of the March issue of Inside Out magazine.

Sophie’s aesthetic is very aligned to our own and we immediately felt a like-minded kinship during our first collaboration. We’ve fallen for her keen eye, the artists she represents, and now for her ambition and passion. 

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WHICH THREE WORDS BEST DESCRIBE YOU?

Thoughtful. Perfectionist. Resourceful. (Though my family told me to write Crazy Cat Lady.)

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP? 

I wanted to be an F-111 fighter pilot. That turned out well!

HOW DID YOU EARN YOUR FIRST PAY PACKET? 

I did the turn-down service at a Sydney hotel. Everyone should work in hospitality at least once – you learn a lot about human nature and how to treat people with respect.

 

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

My mother’s mantra to me growing up was ‘Say yes and work it out later.’ I still live by that and try to instil that in my four daughters. Give everything a go, you never know where it will take you.

WHAT'S YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT?

Starting Curatorial+Co. from scratch, with nothing but a domain name and a vague idea of what it would do, then working to build it organically, learning as I went along. But I think my proudest achievement is yet to come – there is still so much to do.

WHO INSPIRES YOU?  

My mother – she’s the hardest worker on the planet, with the biggest heart. My husband and four girls who inspire me to be a better person every day. Professionally, Betty Churcher was my idol growing up. And of course all the artists I work with – their passion makes me want to work super hard for them.

 

Our Jersey Road project, featuring ‘Wings’ by Susie Dureau, sourced by Curatorial+Co

Our Jersey Road project, featuring ‘Wings’ by Susie Dureau, sourced by Curatorial+Co

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST VICE?

I do like to shop – art, fashion, vintage homewares and big earrings!

DO YOU FOLLOW TRENDS OR ARE YOU A TRENDSETTER?

If it’s trend I do the exact opposite. That’s why I seek out artists who are doing what no one else is doing. I could easily get on the bandwagon of certain artistic styles (and probably make more money!) but it’s not about that for me. I love nothing more than finding an uncut gem.

Our Jersey Road project, featuring Gidon Bing’s brass sculpture, large print by Danuta Tojka and print by Leonie Barton, all sourced by Curatorial+Co

Our Jersey Road project, featuring Gidon Bing’s brass sculpture, large print by Danuta Tojka and print by Leonie Barton, all sourced by Curatorial+Co

WHAT DREAM DO YOU STILL WANT TO FULFILL? 

That’s a secret – watch this space!

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH AKD?

I love that AKD designs feel like home. The spaces are considered and warm, full of thought and character. The artworks we’ve placed in the team’s beautiful spaces are just the icing on top. I can’t wait to work on more projects with Alexandra and her incredible team!

Our Jersey Road project featuring mixed media work by Amanda Schunker, sourced by Curatorial+Co

Our Jersey Road project featuring mixed media work by Amanda Schunker, sourced by Curatorial+Co

Images 1 & 2 via Anne Graham / Images 3 - 5 via © Alexandra Kidd Design