Turakina House

Situated in Sydney’s picturesque lower North Shore, the extensively refurbished Turakina House plays home to a family of four. Commanding a large elevated corner block, a great deal of restorative and structural work was required to update the original home. From intricate repair work on 100 year old pressed metal and delicate plaster ceilings to delivering new marble bathrooms that ooze contemporary chic while sensitively acknowledging the residence’s Federation charm.

Originally a 3 bedroom and 1 bathroom home, the Turakina House renovations resulted 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 1 walk in robe and an additional 2 living rooms and an outdoor entertainers terrace.

The designers, Sarah Tilley and Lucy Ward from Mi Designer Styling, were engaged to create a home of “liveable luxury” and “contemporary heritage” that evoked a unique feeling in every space whilst complimenting the existing detailed architecture of the original home. This home needed to be functional for a family of 4 but also cater for large cocktail parties.

Opening the deep blue front door, reveals a dramatic entry statement for this Federation classic. Creating a sophisticated and exotic vibe in the entry, Catherine Martins ‘La Palma’ wallpaper by Mokum is framed and further enhanced by warm white v-groove panelling and chair rail beneath. This is the first impression room and a space to escape on the built in bench seat with a stunning array of comfortable and inviting custom cushions using ‘Kelly Wearstler’ and ‘Unique’ fabrics illuminated by the Hudson Valley black and gold wall lights.

Flowing off the entry space is the formal living room where Kelly Wearstlers ‘Agate’ wallpaper shimmers to compliment the brass elements in the room. It is here the designers incorporated a glass fire place that is viewable from both the living room and dining room framed in a large format porcelain marble look tile.

Through the fireplace we are able to see a glimpse into the extension of the home that is accessed through the formal living room. The extension of the home is the location of the new kitchen, dining room and outdoor terrace. The flooring is a combination of concrete and timber porcelain tiles laid in a chevron pattern with a brass strip to compliment the brass features in the home.

The kitchen is the centre of this home and the homeowners wanted the new space to reflect their love of relaxed entertaining – a working kitchen that could cater for a family dinner for 4 or to a cocktail party for 150. The kitchen has a sophisticated, edgy-vibe with custom timber panelling, coffered ceilings and brass accents. Eternal Calcutta gold countertops and natural cement tones offset the warm tempest timber panelling. Sultry mink and moss coloured velvet upholstery add warmth and a glamorous texture to the dining experience. The size of the house allowed for the delineation of different breakout areas centred around the kitchen and entertaining terrace.

The rebuild was impacted by heritage restrictions and a space constraint that meant the designers envelope was restricted to the existing footprint of the home. This demanded an imaginative and creative approach to accommodating the custom-designed elements the clients required. The placement of heritage-listed window openings restricted the available space for full height joinery to incorporate the cooking appliance stack. Existing ceiling beams were cleverly concealed into illuminated ceiling coffers, which became an instant focal point of the design.

The theme of elegant sophistication continues in the powder room which is finished in a textured Leo’s Luxe Linen by Philip Jeffries and brass and marble flooring. These hues are repeated through to the master suite. A re-purposed bedroom, now walk in robe leads through to an impactful ensuite. The master bedroom has silver tone elements throughout with the use of wallpaper on the ceiling and a silver grass cloth wallpaper behind the bedhead. Wrapping around into the walk in robe and ensuite is Kelly Wearstler ‘Currents’ wallpaper. The ensuite is a space of opulence and luxury with the use of Greg Natale’s Marble ‘Ponti’ tiles and large format porcelain marble tiles on the wall. Brass accents are continued in the Brodware tapware and Kate Spade wall light.

The downstairs space is the new addition to the home where contemporary heritage is acknowledged through tall skirtings, architraves, cornices and marble features. The downstairs bathroom is a transitional space where concrete basins by Nood and Co compliment the marble tile features.

Turakina House is a bold design statement where colour and texture, light and shade, shimmer and sparkle combine to create a luxurious effect for the ages.


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