Paul and Kerrie Carroll had a connection with their Federation house in Sydney’s northern beaches from the start; they bought it from family friends. When their friends decided to sell, it was an easy decision to buy – “We had always loved it and the area. At that time, we had a third child on the way and lived just two streets away,” Paul explains.
The house is a great exercise in bricolage – heritage charm is juxtaposed against colourful collectibles and antiques sourced from all over. The 1917 facade was not altered during the renovation. The couple’s interest in contrast is most obvious in the sitting room, where an eye-catching assortment of artefacts sit amongst the room’s classic period detailing. The result is a playful space. The couple notes that the fusion of contemporary and historic didn’t come easily. “The greatest challenge was deciding to add a modern design to quite an old house and making sure it worked, so that the old flowed into the new,” Kerrie says. The pressed metal ceilings are decorated with delicate plasterwork of Australiana rosettas. Special pieces – like the tiger head and rocking horse – were picked up by the Carrolls from vintage stores and markets.
“We wanted to open up the living areas and let the light in,” Paul says about their new living area. “When we renovated the back of the house, the living areas had become too small and pokey for a growing family needing space.” The area now combines with the kitchen to make a light-filled space ideal for entertaining.
The kitchen was a large part of the couple’s renovation, and is strictly contemporary in style. The space shows off their appreciation of clean, uncluttered spaces.
The living space leads out onto the back deck through bifold doors, creating an easy space to entertain guests in. The backyard is the couple’s work in progress – their next project to tackle. Paul and Kerrie note that they are still working on the garden landscaping, but their preference for farmhouse style elements is already apparent.
The couple worked with Team 2 Design
to remodel the back of their home. Paul was impressed with the architects’ work, noting that they “came up with a great design that works well and looks great” while suiting the house’s Federation heritage.
“We nominate our bike racks as the house’s weirdest feature,” Kerrie says. Since it’s an older home, the couple decided to maximise the space underneath the stairs as an efficient storage solution.
Paul says with a laugh, “If our walls could talk they would probably ask ‘Where are you?’ because we’re never home. When we are though, we love it.”
The couple is continuing to improve on the house, turning their attention to the original bathroom, and plan to stay in the area. “The natural beauty, swimming and surfing at lovely beaches or in the harbour are too incredible to leave behind.”