A Family’s Art Deco Sydney Apartment With A House-Like Feel

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A Family’s Art Deco Sydney Apartment With A House-Like Feel

A Family’s Art Deco Sydney Apartment With A House-Like Feel

Homes

by Lucy Feagins, Editor

Lounge Lovers navy sofa. Vintage mid-century sofa. Cushions by Hommey, IKEA, West Elm, and NGV. DenHolm flower sculpture. Arnold Circus Stool by Martino Gamper. Pink artwork by Jean Jullien. Small watercolour of Venice by Patrice Guilbert. Painting by Mitjili Napurrula. Walls painted Dulux Natural White (half strength).

Melanie Watkins, Polo Guilbert-Wright, Teddy Guilbert-Watkins (11) and Otto (6) in front of their Russell Lea home.

The 1920s building contains just two apartments.

Art deco curves on the building’s facade.

The curving living room exterior.

Small marble head sculpture by Usama Alnassar. Black straw sculpture by Kenya Peterson. Ceramic vase by Stewart Scambler. Walls painted Dulux Natural White (half strength).

 

 

Flower artwork from Print Club Ltd. West Elm bookcases. Cushions by IKEA and West Elm. Moroccan rug. IKEA lamp. Small marble head sculpture by Usama Alnassar. Black straw sculpture by Kenya Peterson. Ceramic vase by Stewart Scambler. Walls painted Dulux Natural White (half strength). Painting on left by Julz Beresford. Vintage map. ‘Polo is half French — his late father Patrice was French. This is a map of the area Polo’s French family is from. It pairs nicely with the painting by Julz which features the Snowy Mountains of NSW where we love to visit and hike as a family,’ says Melanie.

National Tiles terrazzo floor tiles. Beaumont white tiles on splashback. Cabinetry in Laminex Sublime Teak and Dulux Bay Leaf. Calacatta Statuario polished quartz from Marble Hub on benchtop. Framed print from Pinky’s. Bordallo Pinheiro green cabbage bowl. Enamel splatter bowl from Third Drawer Down. Caroma tapware. Walls painted Dulux Natural White (half strength). Cabinetry built by APlans. ‘I went to APlans with plans drawn up in Photoshop, with all my colours and tiles picked out. I had a real sense of how I wanted it to look and feel,’ says Melanie.

Photograph on left by Lauren Bamford. Vintage birds print. Kitchen light from Ozlighting. Walls painted Dulux Natural White (half strength). Cabinetry in Laminex Sublime Teak and Dulux Bay Leaf.

National Tiles terrazzo floor tiles. Beaumont white tiles on splashback. Cabinetry in Laminex Sublime Teak. Calacatta Statuario polished quartz from Marble Hub on benchtop. Framed print from Pinky’s. Caroma tapware. Walls painted Dulux Natural White (half strength).

Cabinetry in Dulux Bay Leaf. The Society Inc lantern. Modernica black dining chairs. Artwork by Peggy Zephyr. Poster by Food For Everyone. Ceramic cup by Bridget Bodenham. Freedom table. Walls painted Dulux Natural White (half strength).

IKEA hanging system. The Society Inc lantern. Modernica black dining chairs. Artwork on left by Bethany Saab. Artwork on right by Peggy Zephyr. Poster by Food For Everyone. Ceramic cup by Bridget Bodenham. Freedom table. Walls painted Dulux Natural White (half strength).

IKEA stool. Painting by Anna Fitzpatrick. HAY lamp. Sculpture by Carol Crawford. Nicole Lawrence Smooth Shelf. Walls painted Dulux Natural White (half strength).

Bird photograph by Leila Jeffreys. HAY lamp. Sculpture by Carol Crawford. Nicole Lawrence Smooth Shelf. Walls painted Dulux Natural White (half strength). François Pompon: Polar Bear Sculpture from The Met Store.

Tile Lane pink tiles. Tile Touch white tiles. Future Glass shower screen. Caroma bath and tapware.

Artwork by Seventy Tree. Salad Days candle holder. Moontree candle. Tile Lane pink tiles. Tile Touch white tiles. Future Glass shower screen. Caroma bath and tapware.

HAY lamp. Totem Road bedside table and bed frame. I Love Linen bedlinen. Hommey mauve cushion. Takeawei ceramic polka dot bowl. Painting by Emily Cullinan. Watercolour painting in alcove by Patrice Guilbert.

Peony drawing by Hannah Maybank. Totem Road bed frame. I Love Linen bedlinen. Hommey mauve cushion. Takeawei ceramic polka dot bowl. Painting by Emily Cullinan. Watercolour painting in alcove by Patrice Guilbert.

Melanie Watkins and Polo Guilbert-Wright live in a home that stands out.

A 1920s duplex with art deco curves, there isn’t much else like it in the inner-western Sydney suburb of Russell Lea. And it was those curves that first caught Melanie’s eye, when she originally stumbled across the home.

The apartment had enough space for the couple and their two children Teddy (11) and Otto (6) thanks to its spacious proportions spanning the entirety of the building’s ground floor. There was also direct access to a private garden and a garage — both hard to come by features in an inner-Sydney apartment.

‘It needed some work, but it wasn’t overwhelming,’ says Melanie. ‘The fact that it was a duplex also meant it was going to be in our price range, and we’d have money left for a reno and the chance to put our stamp on it.’

Another bonus was the neighbourhood, located not too far from the family’s previous home in Rozelle, plus swimming spots in the Parramatta River, and among a thriving Italian community. ‘Our Italian neighbour upstairs grows his own veggies and passes them over the fence to us,’ says Melanie.

The apartment still had some original features, but the kitchen had been given a simplistic all-white makeover with poor functionality. Melanie and Polo overhauled this space to add more bench space, and a sophisticated material palette of warm timber, Laminex in Dulux Bay Leaf cabinetry, glossy ceramic tiles, and terrazzo floors.

The bathroom was also completely transformed in the renovation. Bright pink tiles and fluted glass were selected to reference the playful detailing of the original architecture and imbue the home with more personality.

New carpet was installed in the bedrooms, and all the walls were freshly painted in Dulux Natural White (half strength). ‘We went for white to let our art, design objects and soft furnishings pop and sing,’ says Melanie.

The removal of joinery in the living room and a cupboard door in the main bedroom also created more space to showcase art. Numerous sculptures are displayed around the apartment by artists Melanie has met through her job as the studio and operations manager at Tom Bass Sculpture Studio School.

Altogether, Melanie and Polo have created a delightful family home that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Their apartment is equal parts contemporary and original, and provides the perfect base for the chaos and joy of family life!



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