This family home in Sydney's eastern suburbs achieves an admirable balance between formal Georgian-style architecture and laid-back ambience. Despite its grand size, the five-bedroom property reads as a series of intimate, comfortable spaces. The result is a fresh and breezy home that uses the vernacular of the US East Coast to enhance a very Australian indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
The house was built in the 1930s, and its gracious form captivated the present owner when she spied it in 2007. She quickly realised its potential as a home for herself, her husband and their growing family – three daughters now four, six, and eight.
An admirer of homes in the New England region of the US, and in particular the Hamptons, the owner put together a file of design ideas on that theme. “The light and bright spaces, the white-painted timber-panelled walls, wide stained-oak floors and the American take on modern English country have great appeal to me,” she says.
Architect Peter Hurley of Lawton Hurley and building company Trico Constructions brought these ideas to fruition in an ambitious renovation project. “We were able to comfortably extend the house and develop a lower storey as it sits on a huge block,” the owner says. Two bedrooms, several bathrooms and multiple living spaces were added, plus an outdoor room with weathered timber floors, wet bar and ceiling heaters for year-round entertaining.
The divine new kitchen, which has become the design focus of the house, actually had its origins on the silver screen. “I saw Something's Gotta Give and really wanted the kitchen in that movie. The cabinetmaker thought I was crazy for wanting exposed hinges, cup handles and utility latches, which are very American,” says the owner.
Although confident in her own style, the owner turned to interior designer Lynda Kerry to achieve the polished yet comfortable effect she had in mind. Lynda put together colour boards for each room, so they could visualise the fabrics, drapery, soft furnishings and other elements working together, then sourced many of the elements, including fabrics and lighting, from the US.
“Hamptons style is a classic decorating look that I've always known and understood,” says the American-born, Sydney-based Lynda. “So this home was a designer's dream come true for me.”
Architect: Lawton Hurley, Surry Hills, NSW; (02) 9360 5300. Builder: Trico Constructions, Sydney, NSW. Interior designer: Lynda Kerry Interior Design, Double Bay, NSW; (02) 9327 3085.