I don’t often get down to Sutherland, and that fact combined with the photo to the right, which I’m pretty fond of, made me keen to publish a post on this home in Lilli Pilli. Lilli Pilli is a small suburb about 26km south of the CBD, and is one of the higher-end areas in the Shire. The house was reworked by interior designer Greta Unkuri, whose parents own the place. This makes for an interesting dynamic as she got the chance to rearrange the decor of her childhood home.
Another Q&A style post. Pumped?
What is the home’s background?
This home has a particularly interesting and sentimental background. It’s actually my family home that my Finnish father built when I was 13. My father has the most amazing eye for detail and his craftsmanship is second to none. I am honestly yet to witness such attention to detail in another
builder, [so] his influence has certainly held me in good stead for what I hope to be a long and successful career in design.
When the home was first built, it was ahead of its time and beautiful in its originality. It is a home that is true to its surroundings. After 16 years, we decided to tastefully and timelessly give it new life.
What was your design brief?
The brief on this one was delivered a little differently to my usually client/designer ‘initial briefing’. My implementation of the interior was approached exactly the same [way] as I approach all my interiors. A successful interior should be intuitive, timeless and innovative; it should lead you to its purpose. The house is situated on the Port Hacking river and has cathedral-like windows to take advantage of the view. Its high ceilings, open plan living and hand-crafted central staircase offer the most beautiful collaboration of organic and inorganic lines. I wanted to detail these accordingly and exactly with the right balance. This house needed to remain true to is beautiful surroundings, be bold and propelled into the modern world. Its foundations were to be completely refreshed but in neutral tones.
How did you decide on the colour scheme?
I decided to keep the house neutral and layer it with texture and tone, that’s were it derives its warmth. The colour scheme consists of black, white, charcoal and neutral stones. The white was chosen to complement the home’s aspect. I think that is something people often forget to
consider when choosing a white; you really have to consider the light, where it is coming from and the base in which the white is made with. In this instance the white I used was Dulux natural white. Its got a hint of black and brown (and I mean a tiny hint). It needs this base because of the green from outside and the blue from the water. With these tones in this aspect it remains white.
The stairs are such a beautiful part of this home. I decided to detail the base structure of the stairs with Dulux Ferrador bridge paint, with the ballustrating detailed in black. It’s bold but deservedly so. Look at the detail (I remember holding parts of these stairs whilst my dad welded
them together back in the day). The flooring is blackout and we resurfaced this in a matte polish to give them a bit of new life. The stone is the home’s original travertine, but its taken on new life with the new colour scheme.
What is your favourite part of the house?
My favourite part of this house is opening the front door. You can see so much of this house from its entrance. It is architecually profound from the moment you [enter]. I love the intersection of lines and the height of the ceilings.
How does the house fit within the local area?
The house is in such a unique position; it’s down the bottom of a long driveway, situated with bush and a waterfall next to it with the view of Port Hacking at the front. There are many beautiful waterfronts in Lilli Pilli and this property tastefully sits amongst them.
Is there anything you would like to add?
It’s been interesting writing about a home that I guess is so personal. I think the most important thing to consider when you are approaching an interior – be it yours or someone else’s – is that a successful interior should be timeless. Of course over the years it will need to evolve, this [house] is a perfect example of that. But if the foundations are right in the first place, its evolution and facelift will be intuitive and organic.