A blog that explores Australian houses. If you love architecture, design, interiors and interesting buildings of all types, The House Hunter is for you.
Tag Archives: Art Deco

Penthouse, “Princeton”, 282 New South Head Road, Double Bay

Of all of the homes I've visited, this is possibly my favourite room.

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 blue room.

 

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.

 

Fireplace in the formal living room.

 

 

Wardrobes in the master bedroom.

 

 

The pink room.

 

 

Hallways give the apartment discrete spaces.

 

Second living area.

 

 

58/117 Macleay Street, Potts Point

This apartment doesn’t have just the one drawcard – it has a whole collection of them. If you look to your right, you’ll instantly notice one of them – the design. Which leads on to another one of its highlights; the apartment was designed by Darren Palmer, noted Australian designer who’s appeared in pretty much every design editorial, a host of television spots and more than a few newspaper clippings.

 

Before broaching the apartment’s story – which is one of my favourite parts of this post – I’ll take you through the most important aspects of the reconfiguration. The layout has been completely changed in order to incorporate storage. Functionality was the key element Palmer was seeking in the renovation, he notes. The bathroom and laundry are both hidden behind slick doors that reflect the city lights; opening them gives the magical impression that you’ve been invited into a secret room. “It’s just storage from nowhere,” Palmer says, which perfectly summarises the concept of the apartment. There are hidden nooks and crannies everywhere intended to eliminate the thing that can often destroy good design – clutter.

 

The wooden floorboards (a feature that I’ve regularly expressed my love for on the blog) are used across the entire apartment, including the bathroom, which has been converted into a ‘rain room’ of sorts. The apartment offers multiple aspects, providing a natural element that further enhances the apartment’s appeal – light.

 

The apartment is unique for another reason; it is Darren Palmer’s own. Unlike his other projects, he was physically involved with each aspect of the remodelling. “I put a lot of skin and blood into this, literally,” he says. “It turned out exactly the way I planned it.”

 

The apartment was configured as a bachelor’s pad for Palmer, but that plan was foiled when he got married partway through the renovation. “I never even slept here [after the renovation],” he admits. His article for GQ delves deeper into the story (my favourite quote is the lead: “Life’s a funny bitch sometimes”).

 

The apartment is on the market for offers over $525,000, so if you’re looking for the quintessential Potts Point home – incredibly well-maintained Art Deco building (seriously, I’ve been in my fair share of old dames and this one leaves most of them in the dust – the elevator alone is worth checking out), stunning new look with plentiful natural light, views of the city skyline and a spot that provides instant access to Macleay Street’s dining/shopping hub and the infamous strip – check it out. Plus Croissant D’Or is virtually its neighbour, and that bakery is amazing.

 

Sleek new kitchen.

 

8 Braeside Street, Wahroonga

 

As you’ve probably noticed, I admire many different housing styles. When it comes to large character houses in particular, there are some suburbs in Sydney that inspire a particular kind of jealousy in me. They have the type of houses that make me wish I weren’t quite so poor. One of those suburbs is Mosman. And* one of them is Mosman’s northern cousin Wahroonga (is it weird that I look at those suburbs as cousins? Probably. I look at Waverton and Wollstonecraft as close relatives too, but that makes more sense), where the houses are big, and so are the land sizes.

 

 

 

This house is on Braeside Street, which in real estate circles is pretty prized as it has nice houses and follows the upper north shore prestige rules (east side, walk to rail). So that’s good. But the house itself is interesting. Wahroonga’s biggest and best are usually Federations, but this one is an Art Deco (it’s made very obvious by the curved walls).

 

 

 

It’s unrenovated (which is a yay from me, from an ogling point of view). It’s in very sturdy condition, though, so in contrast to the Cremorne duplex it’s an exercise in observing the original features of the house, rather than admiring it as a ruinous artefact. I am excited by these original features. You’re about to see why.

 

 

The bathrooms! Sweet Jesus, these bathrooms are amazing. Is there even anything for me to say about them? They are colour and pattern and Vogue Living from a bygone era. Yes, yes, yes.

 

 

The study is in such good condition that it doesn’t really require any work, and I could say the same about the downstairs sunroom. The fairly excellent bedroom wallpaper will be stripped, and I’d say the upper floor will be reconfigured to add an en suite. Interestingly, the main has a powder room with a shower, but not an en suite, as such.

 

Powder room.

 

The quirkiness in this place will most likely be eradicated by the inevitable renovation, but, that said, it will then (given the right renovator) be restored into a commanding character home with good-condition features, so there’s a lot to gain.

 

 

 

 

* I am aware of the rule against starting a sentence with ‘and’ (or ‘but’). To paraphrase Jackie Chiles, I’m flouting society’s conventions.

Various, Rose Bay

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to venture out to Rouse Hill house and farm, which was the property I wanted to scope out this week. I was in Rose Bay recently, though, and thought I’d take some snaps of the houses there. I wasn’t in Rose Bay’s most ridiculously salubrious precinct (although everywhere in Rose Bay is salubrious), which enabled me to capture the diversity of housing that is in the eastern suburb.

 

 

Aside from its old-school prestige, Rose Bay is coveted for a number of reasons – its bay, the fact it has a beach, the ferry commute to the city (and the proximity to the CBD – it’s seven kilometres away) and its closeness to equally high-end suburbs Double Bay, Dover Heights, Vaucluse and Point Piper. It sits in one of Sydney’s richest spots, which is evident in the top twenty most expensive sales in the last twelve months dating back from April. Rose Bay took out the top spot on that list with a $21.5 million deal.

 

Pretty brickwork.

 

Around Rose Bay’s New South Head Road village is an assortment of housing styles, as can be seen here – art deco apartment blocks, sizeable Victorians, family-sized federations, and lots of semis, many of which have been vertically extended.

 

 

Love the vintage green and white chair on the porch.

 

Excellent colour.

 

 

Love these old school pathway signs in the east and north.

3 Darook Park Road, Cronulla


This post marks the first time The House Hunter has hit Sutherland Shire! Perhaps I was inspired by the beach trip taken last week. There’s no better way to be introduced to the Shire’s traditional beach spot, either, than this quintessential beach house at Cronulla. The only thing prettier than this home’s art deco frontage is its view – it offers direct access to Gunnamatta Bay, and is located on one of Cronulla’s prettiest, most private spots. For the fortunate owner, the backyard provides an extremely special, and rare, place to unwind, entertain or appreciate Sydney’s most aesthetically appealing features. You can literally step down from the stone retaining wall to the sand or the water, depending on the tide.

 

 

The large land size and stunning address mean that the property’s owners are currently looking for offers over $4.05 million. As well as the land’s foundational qualities, which offer everything needed to build one of the modern, glass-fronted mansions sprouting up across Sutherland’s best locations, the property offers a cute original home and separate studio. The home’s façade is in the P&O style, which seems particularly appropriate for the location -  it would be a shame to demolish it, and I feel that any new house built on the site would only be improved by incorporating the pre-existing form.

 

 

For those with the cash for it, though, the house offers the prospect of a seriously great beach house – the beautiful cobbled path leading to the house gives it a touch of whimsy, and the house’s timber beams are perfect for the rustic beach look. While a renovation would make it pop, simply brushing up on some of the corners and a coat of paint would make the house a perfect getaway, especially as it would retain all of the character of the original building. For fans of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the place encapsulates the wind, sand and stars paradigm the author used as the title of his engaging memoir.