Name any stimulant. Chances are, its strength is, at best, on par with my level of hyperactivity this evening. So I thought I should channel all that random energy into a blog post. Plus, I was excited about posting this penthouse up; it’s a masterpiece, for one, and a significant piece of real estate, for another. The Canberra Times unfortunately beat me to it, but that’s because this is a landmark with inimitable style. It was owned by the late Leslie Walford (some details here), one of the nation’s foremost interior designers (I highly recommend reading that Vogue Living blog post, particularly as it features excellent examples of Walford’s work). This is a proper penthouse (with almost 500 sqm total space) atop a large, exquisitely maintained Art Deco complex.
The apartment has both design cachet and location going for it. Double Bay is one of the gems in Sydney’s eastern crown, so to speak. My dad’s one of the people who’s fond of calling the suburb ‘Double Pay’ (according to Wikipedia, this nickname is now rarely used, but that doesn’t reflect my experience!). So, it’s at the top of the wealthy set’s hit list. It’s a harbourside suburb that’s always been blue ribbon. Some of its grand Gothic Revival houses have been converted into apartment complexes – you can decide whether that’s a positive or negative (arguments could go either way).
This apartment has the feel of a house due to its size – it occupies the entire top floor of the building (as a proper penthouse should) and boasts 219 sqm internal space and 279 sqm worth of terraces. You’re drawn out onto the terrace as soon as you walk into the apartment (particularly on the kind of day I visited, which was sunny/amazing); it’s the best vantage point for the harbour views, which are another highlight. The external space is very impressive as it’s so large. Separate terraces wrap around the apartment, providing distinct entertaining areas and multiple views.
The terraces are reached through French doors from the apartment’s primary living area. This zone of the penthouse (incredibly light due to the French doors) has a foyer, living area to the right and incredible formal dining room (seen above) to the left. The dining room has a ceiling mosaic and coordinated silk walls and curtains (I don’t mean to gush, but they’re seriously gorgeous). The living area has an impressive fireplace, high ceilings and timber floorboards.
Apart from its sheer size, another factor in making this apartment feel house-like is its layout. It has two hallways, two living rooms, three bedrooms plus a study/fourth bedroom and three bathrooms. There are also two car spaces and additional storage. The second living area leads out onto a separate terrace, which means there are multiple areas of the home that can be used to relax in. This is pretty central to family living, and it’s what makes this place particularly amenable to a family set-up.
The rooms are decorated in the Walford style, and I sincerely hope that this doesn’t change. The study/fourth bedroom, in particular, is a masterstroke (from my perspective); coordinated pink wallpaper on the walls and ceilings, in addition to the curtains, bookshelf and bedspread. It might seem over-the-top, but that’s exactly why it works, in my mind.
One of the other bedrooms – currently organised as a study – is designed in similar fashion, with more serious blues replacing the pretty pinks of the fourth bedroom.
The bathrooms are all fairly modern, and the galley kitchen is serviceable with a nice outlook. The only unfortunate point I can pick up on doesn’t relate to the apartment itself, but the fact that I’m sure some prospective buyers (the apartment is on the market with co-agents at what I consider to be a reasonable price) would be looking at renovations. I personally would leave it exactly as is. It’s the charm combined with its views that make it such a stunner.