A Charming Sandstone Cottage In A Former Horse Stable

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A Charming Sandstone Cottage In A Former Horse Stable

A Charming Sandstone Cottage In A Former Horse Stable

Homes

by Lucy Feagins, Editor

Arne Sofa by B&B Italia. Puffy Lounge Chair by Hem. Square Orange Chenille Rug by Double. Chloe Coffee Table by Trit House. Vintage sideboard. Art on sideboard ‘Wind Print’ by Tym Yee. Vintage Philips HP 3202 Sun Lamp. Mondri vase from MoMA. Vintage Aalto bowl. Oil burner by Tsu Lange Yor. Glass vase by H&M Home. Swing Chair by Tait. Vintage ceramic mosaic table imported from Morocco. Vintage umbrella and vase. PL1 Portable Lamp by Sowden.

‘When we moved in, the front gate was wrapped with mouldy brushwood, so we decided to rip this out and replace it with a jute rope. Joep vertically wrapped the front gate for hours upon hours,’ says Ben.

 

Ben Selke and Joep Van De Kruijs at their Darlinghurst home.

Swing Chair by Tait. Vintage ceramic mosaic table imported from Morocco. Vintage umbrella and vase. PL1 Portable Lamp by Sowden.

Swing Chair by Tait. Vintage ceramic mosaic table imported from Morocco. Vintage umbrella and vase. PL1 Portable Lamp by Sowden.

Arne Sofa by B&B Italia. Puffy Lounge Chair by Hem. Square Orange Chenille Rug by Double. Chloe Coffee Table by Trit House. Vintage sideboard.  Rice Paper Shade by HAY. Art on wall above sideboard ‘The Comfort Of Certainty in an Actor’s Eyes’ by Brett Anthony Moore via Curatorial and Co. Art on sideboard ‘Wind Print’ by Tym Yee. Vintage Philips HP 3202 Sun Lamp. Mondri vase from MoMA. Vintage Aalto bowl. Oil burner by Tsu Lange Yor. Glass vase by H&M Home.

Puffy Lounge Chair by Hem. Square Orange Chenille Rug by Double. Chloe Coffee Table by Trit House. Toio Floor Lamp by Flos. Vintage sideboard. Art on sideboard ‘Wind Print’ by Tym Yee. Oil burner by Tsu Lange Yor.

Arne Sofa by B&B Italia. Puffy Lounge Chair by Hem. Square Orange Chenille Rug by Double. Chloe Coffee Table by Trit House. Toio Floor Lamp by Flos. Vintage wall lamp and sideboard.  Rice Paper Shade by HAY. Art on wall above sideboard ‘The Comfort Of Certainty in an Actor’s Eyes’ by Brett Anthony Moore via Curatorial and Co. Art on sideboard ‘Wind Print’ by Tym Yee. Vintage Philips HP 3202 Sun Lamp. Mondri vase from MoMA. Vintage Aalto bowl. Oil burner by Tsu Lange Yor. Glass vase by H&M Home.

Linear lamp 01 by Kismas. Print on left from Paper Collective. Artworks on right by Ben Selke.

Art behind dining table ‘The Space In Between: Chasm’ by Amanda Schunker via Curatorial & Co.Vintage dining table, floor lamp, dining chairs, fruit bowl and timber console.

Arne Sofa by B&B Italia. Smaller cushion on couch by Koskela. Art behind dining table ‘The Space In Between: Chasm’ by Amanda Schunker via Curatorial & Co. Rice Paper Shade by HAY. Vintage dining table, floor lamps, dining chairs, fruit bowl, bronze vase, ceramic, and timber console.

The cosy upstairs window nook. Sheer curtains and cushion by IKEA.

Vintage Safari chair. Vintage bedhead. Bed linen and bolster cushion by Cultiver x Colin King. Throw by Pendleton. Spider lamp design by Joe Colombo for Oluce.

Studio Barbara co-director Ben Selke and Joep Van De Kruijs were living in a new apartment with minimal character when this Darlinghurst home came up for lease.

Ben had previously lived in the inner-eastern Sydney suburb, and he immediately recognised the cottage from his walks around the neighbourhood. They decided to break their current lease and move to Darlinghurst immediately.

The cottage was originally a stable (one of few that remain in Darlinghurst) accompanied by a Victorian terrace at the front. Its most coveted feature are the original sandstone walls in every room. ‘There is not one bit of plasterboard or paint within the cottage,’ says Ben. ‘Even the shower walls are sandstone!’

Both the terrace and cottage are now heritage protected, but the latter was in a relatively poor condition when Ben and Joep took over the lease.

Ben says, ‘The external sandstone walls and sandstone paving were covered in mould and dirt, so we high pressure hosed the entire cottage, including the courtyard paving.’

As renters, Ben and Joep were unable to significantly renovate the property, but their landlord did provide permission to make some updates. With Ben’s design know-how, and Joep’s handy skills, they knew the property would be in safe hands.

The couple switched out dated light fittings, replaced the kitchen handles, installed new curtains, and added a new barn door to the upstairs loft, creating a snug perch when filled with cushions.

‘We fill this space up with an abundance of cushions and blankets,’ says Ben. ‘It is a beautiful nook to nestle up and read a book or magazine, whilst still feeling slightly social and connected to the neighbours and community.’

The cottage interiors showcase a unique blend of cosy heritage character, and contemporary design. The styling draws on Ben’s experience creating layered spaces for Soho House, where he used to work in-house as a designer.

He explains, ‘The layering of vintage and contemporary pieces as seen in Soho Houses across the world is a big inspiration, along with the subtle way of dividing spaces through positioning of furniture, additions of rugs, setting-out of art. Many Soho House projects are within existing heritage buildings, and the beauty of the Soho House design is the ability to lean into the heritage nature of a building, whilst entwining a layer of freshness with furniture pieces, styling and artworks.’

Ben also looked to the surrounding neighbourhood for inspiration — an area similarly layered in its diverse mix of residents, history, and dense streetscapes.

‘Darlinghurst is full of textures, greenery, and tiny cottages drilled into minute pockets between other properties and sandstone walls. It is that layering, and atmosphere, which is really a great inspiration provider,’ he says.

Ben describes himself as his worst client (‘fickle, indecisive, scatty, tight, and always wanting to change it out’), so the house is constantly evolving as new furniture items are discovered. (They’re currently on their second set of dining chairs, second coffee table, and third sofa!)

Each piece has been carefully layered to contribute to the overall ambiance, creating a space that feels curated, yet effortlessly comfortable.

Overall, Ben and Joep’s home exudes a distinct sense of style and personality, offering a sanctuary where modern sophistication meets nostalgic charm!

As Ben says, ‘It’s a place where every corner tells a story, inviting you to unwind, relax, and immerse yourself in its unique ambience.’



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