A blog that explores Australian houses. If you love architecture, design, interiors and interesting buildings of all types, The House Hunter is for you.
Category Archives: New South Wales

2b Tarrant Avenue, Bellevue Hill

 

Ahh, Bellevue Hill, one of Sydney’s stomping grounds for the elite. One of the things they do there is buy up sexy pieces of real estate, which is where 2b Tarrant Avenue comes into the frame. It’s currently on the market for offers around $5m. Much to my chagrin, I just discovered that Title Deeds got to this one first, but they don’t seem to go into a hell of a lot of detail, so let me add some colour for you (not that I was ever particularly good at sticking within the lines).

 

If you don’t know much about Bellevue Hill, the Fin helpfully wrote up a suburb profile and didn’t hide it behind a paywall – free win! To summarise: approximately 5km east of the CBD; rich, rich, rich; non-waterfront; serious architectural cred; bastion of moneyed up business players (Lachlan Murdoch). Houses can fetch over $20m. If you have $20m, please get in contact with me via the ‘contact’ tab so I can provide you with my phone number.

 

 

The living room – above – is my favourite part of the house, particularly as it has city views, opens out onto the pool area and has a swanky bar – check, check, check. Another place that fulfils my house party fantasies. It’s sheer Art Deco goodness (especially the checkered flooring).

 

 

Someone with exquisite taste in both liquor and design owns this house. They can join my social circle any time. Perfect crisp white block colour with a mirrored background opening up the space and well-chosen cultured New Yorker prints amongst the bottles of Veuve. I managed to photograph it without getting my reflection in the shot, too, so let’s not discount my role in all this, ha!

 

 

At first I thought it was older, but I’m taking a punt and placing this stately home in the mid-century age range, which suits the profile of the suburb as well as the Art Deco features of the house. The owners have placed an emphasis on internal design, and I’m envious of the ubiquity of the views; you can see Sydney Tower (isn’t it called Centre Point? When did they change the name?) and Deutsche Bank Place from the dressing room. The dressing room. I’d be happy to have a dressing room, let alone a dressing room with city vistas.

 

 

One of the children’s single bedrooms has an en suite – my childhood dream. It also has an excellent, honeycomb-like window frame that I fell hard for.

 

 

And so we come to the main bedroom, with the famed dressing room and an epically large en suite. The main is well put together and perfectly positioned for the views.

 

 

 

 

It’s a good-sized family home with an extensive ground floor. And it has trimmings – serious trimmings. The library is my favourite of these. It might be fairly compact, but it’s a library, and I’ll be damned if I don’t want one just like it when I grow up and marry a director of a hedge fund.

 

 

I’ve run out of my amazingly witty and insightful comments, so I’ll leave you to gaze at the photos. You’ll probably find, like I did, that one of the best aspects of this home is the care that’s been taken to accessorise it and give it that ‘hidden gem’ feel; every room has something in it that pops and pulls you in.

 

 

Love this shot. So summery, even though we're stuck in the throes of winter.

152 Clyde Street, North Bondi

 

I actually really like certain contemporary houses. The reason I don’t feature them as often as I do character homes is that not enough people put effort into the design of new homes. It’s all function, no form. So I get really excited when I find a house like this one – a new place that’s totally perfect.

 

It’s in North Bondi, and is well-placed in-between the beach and Rose Bay, my old haunt. As an aside, North Bondi is the best part of Bondi. I guess I can’t technically say that’s a fact, as such…but it’s definitely true. Everything is just pretty nice there. It’s also, incidentally, pretty expensive.

 

This house manages to be beachy, industrial and very architecture-y all at once. The concrete floors, plentiful use of timber, painted brick and deck/pool area combine to give off a kind of ’60s modernist vibe, but in a current-day space.

 

There’s wine storage – always a massive plus – and the layout is good for families or sharers; there’s a fourth bedroom tucked away downstairs that has a nice little view over the front yard and is totally independent from the rest of the house, with its own bathroom and study area. This room would be my room, if I could buy this house. It is on the market, although certainly out of my price range (unless the vendor is willing to accept $26 and a pair of four year old Louboutins…to be fair the Louboutins are really awesome and it’d be sad to see them go, so that’s something). The kind of buyer who should be looking at it – all over it, more precisely – is one who wants contemporary features in a visually arresting place that is located in a part of the east that manages to capture everything at once; the family-oriented, quiet aspects of Rose Bay and the dining/beach vibe.

 

So, where should you go if you want a location like this one – close to the beach, rubbing shoulders with prestigious suburbs, restaurants/cafes/bars on offer, a certain amount of blue chip serenity, Cranbrook/Kambala/Ascham/Scots College all in nice proximity – but are not too keen on the $1.67m median price range? Well…I’m not sure. There’s only one area that compares that I can think of (Mosman – more prestigious than North Bondi, also close to the beach [albeit a very different type of beach], good dining choices but less bars, elite private schools, a nice atmosphere), and it’s even dearer (median of $2.1m). There’s also Manly (excellent choice of bars, gorgeous beaches, not the elite school capital), but its median has crept up to $1.64m, putting it in the not-exactly-affordable category, too. Which is understandable. All great areas. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, you’re going to have to compromise.

 

This is the best bathroom I've ever seen. I adore it.

 

If you can’t tear yourself away from the east and need to be near the beach, Malabar is probably a good bet. Cheaper, ‘quieter’ than Maroubra, geographically impressive. Only issues are the STP and the lack of dining options – you’ll have to trek up to Coogee. But hey, the property market is often about compromise. If you’re not as interested in being right near the beach, Alexandria isn’t a bad choice; it’s been coming up in the cafe/bakery scene for a while, and when I lived there the trip to the eastern beaches was never difficult. If proximity to the city isn’t an issue, my choice would be the northern beaches; suburbs like Newport and Mona Vale are more affordable, have good beaches and are developing decent dining scenes. Your main issue there is the commute.

 

But if you can afford the proper east, this house should tick most of your boxes. I know it ticks mine. It has city skyline views, which helps it push just that little bit further across the ‘awesome’ line.

 

 

I have a lot of love for industrial-style kitchens.

 

The House Hunter outfit of the day.

10 Norma Road, Palm Beach

 

My Saturday night plans were canned due to a headcold. The upside is that it’s given me a chance to blog – as cool a Saturday night activity as any…right? Spending the morning soaking up sun in Palm Beach was a pretty excellent start to the day, and this was a suitable spot for it – 10 Norma Road, a quiet, elevated street with an incredible aspect. The home is a beach house through-and-through (with a laidback, modern renovation), and that’s why I like it so much.

 

God I love these kind of chairs. Can someone please buy me one, and a place that has a deck so I can use it?

 

It would be remiss of me to describe the house without first emphasising the view. It is a serious view. The house is designed to support it; both the main level and the downstairs studio space lead out onto decks that take advantage of the closeness of the ocean. I could’ve stood there all day. It helps that the living area is so attractive – dark timber floors, lofty ceilings, bifold doors. The kitchen benefits directly from the views, too. I can imagine having a lot of fun times in this part of the house. It’s built for entertaining and relaxation (not surprising given the area is known as a ‘millionaire’s playground’ – yep, I squirmed while typing that – and is known for its high-end weekenders; convenient example here).

 

The house is built on a sloping block, which means two things; more vantage points for views, and lots of stairs. I often like stairs as they can help to break up space, but I’ll let you determine your own view on that one. Some nice features of the house include the fact that it’s so open; the main living area is split off from a secondary one via stairs (similar to a loft situation), which gives the place an airiness (perfect for the beach vibe). There are plenty of bathrooms (all of them done in a nice minimalist style that complements the house design well – simple tiles and mirrors), the bedrooms have high ceilings, and there is a third entertaining area at the rear of the house that again has a nice indoor/outdoor thing going on with the bifolds and deck. There’s a nice grassed yard, to boot.

 

The lower level is a studio type space that’s currently set up as a bedroom. It has a bathroom and, as mentioned above, access to a deck with full ocean views. This is my room if I move in, for the record.

 

The house is on the market. Palm Beach has apparently been a popular spot for buyers recently, with the SMH speculating that this is due to Sydney’s amazing winter weather. It is a great spot; secluded, summery, visually stunning and home to Boathouse Palm Beach, which isn’t bad for a feed (if you don’t mind lining up…). I’d hypothesise that the key target markets would be families and wealthy types looking for a holiday house to retreat to on weekends. What would be better, though, is if one of my friends buys it and a) lets me live there and b) agrees to entertain regularly. This house is the place for it.

 

Ahhh, the view.

 

 

In my mind, this is where I prepare excellent meals for chilled hangouts on the deck.

 

 

The rear living area – good for a family in need of space or a group who are sharing.

 

 

The main room of the house; entertaining/living/kitchen/dining.

 

 

The downstairs studio (AKA my room).

 

 

The backyard has a cubby house! Pretty sure I would play in one of these if given the chance. Hell, I'd live in it if it had good views/a better aspect than my current place.

 

 

Pared back bathrooms complement the laidback interiors.

Bunk beds. Everyone's favourite as a child. Less popular for adults.

 

17/74-80 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills

Couldn’t help but lead with the photo to the right because I adore it. So, if you’re a regular reader (and hopefully you are, because that would make you a very cool person. And aren’t we all striving to be cool?), you’ve probably noticed that many of my recent posts have featured places in the inner-east. Yes indeed. This is because I am now based in Sydney’s special inner part…the part that’s a little bit scary and amazing all at once. It also has to do with the fact that my car is less accessible at the moment (which is to say, unregistered).

 

But enough about me. This apartment is a warehouse conversion. People who live in this building are lucky, because it happens to house one of the city’s best little cafes/sandwich joints – City Edge Cafe. I spent many a lunchtime there while at uni. It was totally worth the hike. Excellent sandwiches and Vietnamese rice paper rolls. It’s also on the same street as The Sandwich Shop, Wild Life Hair, Single Origin, numerous other cafes and homewares stores that I cannot afford to purchase anything in. There’s a cool art book store on the adjoining street. Anyway, point is: good spot.

 

What attracted me to this two bedroom apartment was how it’s ‘dressed’; someone with an eye for interior design has cast a look over the place. The use of stark white with gold accents is always pretty, particularly teamed with the whitewashed floorboards. The high ceilings are indicative of the building’s warehouse history, while the soaring windows a) are awesome in general and b) let in plenty of natural light. The apartment has been renovated to an excellent standard, with two slick bathrooms and a contemporary kitchen.

 

 

My favourite feature is the outdoor entertaining area, which is accessible via bifold doors that join it with the living area, making for an indoor/outdoor transition. It’s a functional and versatile space (it would be silly not to take advantage of it with frequent parties). The recycled blackbutt timber floorboards also provide it with some extra intrigue. It’s been manicured so intricately that it would be a shame not to get good use of it. It also provides a district view of the area, which, if nothing else, would assuredly provide some interest on occasion, given Surry’s colour.

 

The interior design elements have been focused on making the space appear roomier, and this has worked. The large, ornate mirrors are a nice touch, and I’ll never say no to a Louis Ghost Chair (in fact, I own one! Chuffed). The apartment is decently sized (85sqm – it feels bigger due to the above), although with two bedrooms it’s more likely to appeal to an investor or professional couple than a family (if the idea of families living in inner-city apartments isn’t a myth. I’m not entirely sure either way).

 

It’s currently up for auction. It last sold for $430,000 in 2005, according to the information I have. That figure, I imagine, would be significantly lower than the price sought now, given it appears that the apartment has been overhauled (and Surry’s prospects have continually risen). It’s a good opportunity – it would rent well (people like pretty apartments); it’s exceptionally well located (both culturally and in terms of proximity to the CBD – it’s an easy stroll. I photographed the apartment with a friend in my lunchbreak, so there is your anecdotal proof); and it doesn’t require work (purchasers seem to be a little wary of apartment renovations. Strata approvals etc…).

 

 

 

The Kartell Louis Ghost Chairs meet with my approval.

 

 

48 Liverpool Street, Paddington

Paddington occupies a kind of interesting place on the Sydney suburb map. It’s often associated with the inner-east (particularly its neighbour, Darlinghurst), but (in my view, anyway), it’s really the place where the east ‘proper’ begins to bloom (did you just cringe when you read ‘bloom’ in that context? I did when I wrote it), and the suburb it’s most similar to is probably Woollahra (except it has more … stuff). My evidence? House prices (it’s pretty dear); cleanliness (it’s pretty clean); all-round lack of grime and inner-city grittiness (it’s pretty nice). I like both the inner urban spaces and the stately Paddington streets equally, so I don’t take a side … but Paddington sure is pretty. The best part about it is its streetscapes – they are extremely appealing. The terraces are grand; worker’s cottages are less common here. There is leafiness. The serenity (that phrase might conjure less affluent Australian postcodes, depending on your pop culture references). Lots of people know how to dress in this suburb (still not enough, unfortunately). Speaking of which, despite what newspapers have been saying in recent years (imagine the irony of newspapers criticising industry decline?), the shopping in Paddington is still excellent.

 

 

This house forms part of one of the abovementioned streetscapes. It’s testament to the quality of the 2004 renovation that it still looks so new. That’s no exaggeration – it’s a Victorian freestanding home, but lots of it looks brand new. I do miss the character a little. However, the owners were extremely sympathetic to the home’s original character and preserved all the features they could – right down to the intricate ceiling detailing that once featured above one of the home’s fireplaces. Another original fireplace is intact, and the original light sashes are in place (adore). The ceilings are high (one of my favourite things in houses), the bathroom has had a very cool timber floor makeover, and the seagrass mats (made to measure) suit the place perfectly.

 

 

A pretty awesome feature is on the top floor, which is used as a bedroom – a glass sliding frame (kind of like a sunroof on a car) can be pulled over the stairs to give the level privacy, something often lacking from loft spaces. Unfortunately, despite the owner helping me out with an ultra-powerful light, I wasn’t able to get a properly representative picture as it was a very dark, gloomy, rainy, miserable day (which is why the photos used in this post are the generous owner’s. Mine just didn’t match up in the dark!).

 

The refurbishment was intricately thought out, and was designed to take advantage of the property’s north-facing aspect. This is true right down to the lights; they were painted the same colour as the walls to “give you that unintrusive type of light”, according to the owner.

 

The kitchen is at the northern end of the home and therefore has natural light to spare (I struggled to word this sentence…still don’t think I quite made it, but I did my best). The travertine (heated) floors and limestone benches are nice touches, and the view out to the courtyard is a plus.

 

 

The house has most of the contemporary features you’d expect in an executive family home, but what really sets it off are its unique character details (the uneven-shaped lot, for instance, has resulted in an interesting floorplan) and its location in one of Paddington’s best pockets.