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Renovation of an Arts and Craft Movement House in Sydney

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Honiton Residence is the renovation of an Arts and Craft Movement family home by MCK Architects, located in Bellevue Hill, an eastern suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. A startling mix of Middle Eastern colors against perfect white, gives this home its sense of luxury and tranquil livability. The residence was transformed into a pristine white canvas upon which bold textures speak.

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A short client brief drove MCK’s approach; the owners of the six-bedroom residence complained the house was ‘too big’. MCK saw an urgent need to re-form and reunite the interior spaces, while making more of the extensive garden area, pool, and upper decks.

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A new orientation of key living spaces was a critical first step to maximizing sunlight and natural ventilation. Connecting the formerly closed-off rooms was key to unlocking the home’s spaces and bringing about highly usable and friendly living areas. External and internal blinds, as well as sunshade awnings, were used to control exposure to the sunlight, while inside the house an open mezzanine has transformed the back hall into a functional focal point.

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The use of the large void to connect the kitchen, formal dining and living areas gives harmony to once disparate rooms. Light and the fine control of it further enhances the mezzanine, ensuring these spaces are inviting and useable at all times of the day. The interior is kept neutral with punches of color used to add personality and character. All over the house the evocative contrast of intense textural materials is a striking design feature. Rough sandstone plays off against smooth concrete, timber screens contrast against lush plants, jewel colored tiles arranged in an Islamic fan pattern break up blocks of austere Calacutta marble.

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In the dining room a custom-built screen between mirrors the exact pattern on the original stamped tin ceiling and acts as a decorative division between dining and living rooms.

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A sandstone wall that ‘snakes’ its way through the building from inside to out, is a clever tactical and visual device, used to connect a variety of spaces. The light color palette was selected to complement the client’s extensive art and object collection. White paint was used on the walls and light or medium dark colors chosen for the flooring. In this way, a selection of contemporary finishes accent fittings, and fixtures along with bolts of hot orange, turquoise and cerise jump are allowed to leap out.

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Photos: Steve Back

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