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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All images via © Alexandra Kidd Design

THE REVEAL: FROM BEIGE TO BELLE

We worked with our lovely client on her previous home several years ago, however now that she had entered a new phase in her life, we reconnected to work together once again on a new beachfront home; a smaller and simpler space, yet no less sophisticated.

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And a sea change it was! The apartment is just a stone’s throw from the sparkling water and smooth sand of Manly Beach in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Dedicating her way of life and new home to the Danish way of living known as hygge, our brief was to create a comforting home that was an extension of this newly embraced philosophy.

Our North Steyne materials palette

Our North Steyne materials palette

We set out to design a stylish and sophisticated beach-side home that avoided clichéd beach themes (except perhaps just one piece of coral that survived the transition)! Everything was to bring quiet joy and a special feeling throughout, from the soft fabric selections to the detailed joinery design, the charming terrace landscaping and everything in between.

 The biggest challenge was space!

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Our client cleverly negotiated the purchase of an adjoining 3 x 3m common space from the Owners Corporation, allowing us to increase the kitchen, add a study and include a built-in bar for entertaining. Even so, the apartment is compact. 

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Clever design and detailing enabled us to include a separate dining space with banquette seating and storage, and ensure the kitchen was fully functional and included all the bells and whistles.

Our client had been running to and from a storage unit and her garage to manage her seasonal wardrobe! A long-term solution was imperative, so a redesign of the master bedroom and living space allowed for the required additional robe space and negated the need for storage units in the future.

The colour palette throughout the home was formerly varying shades of cream and beige. We wanted to achieve a visually crisper palette, and create a contemporary contrast of light and dark. To achieve this contrast, we stained the existing timber floors a deep, walnut shade, and coated the walls and joinery in a fresh, powdery white.

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With abundant natural light the space wasn’t in need of any design trickery! We enveloped all the windows with delicately sheer linen curtains, and to add layers of texture and warmth, we laid braided rugs in both the bedroom and living room.

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In the bedroom, we included a pop of calming, cornflower blue, which subtly evokes the nearby ocean. To create an illusion of space in the bedroom, we continued the robe door detail along the entire elevation, hiding the ensuite behind a camouflaged door, and laid insets of shagreen wallpaper by Ralph Lauren to create a subtle touch of luxe.

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The apartment may be small, but now it’s a perfectly formed beach retreat. We were thrilled to discover that our friends over at Belle think so too! We were delighted to spot our cosy North Steyne project in the pages of Belle magazine. It’s been quite the transformation from beige beginnings, but now our client can write her new chapter in this perfect home.

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Images 1 - 11 via © Alexandra Kidd Design / Images 12 - 13 via Belle 

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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