Just as Alice was transported to her wonderland after falling down that rabbit hole, an equally colourful and fascinating world awaits those who step across the threshold into Villa Carmelina, the grand 1880s Victorian Italianate terrace home of architect Scott Weston and journalist Andrew Hornery in Sydney’s Paddington.
Named in honour of Andrew’s late Maltese mother, the couple spent three years transforming this once-derelict deceased estate that they’d bought in 2016. “From the moment we first walked into the house it resonated deeply with me,” says Andrew. “It had a unique soul and I could see us living there, but exactly how that would happen – logistically – was something I relied entirely on Scott’s expertise for.” Not surprisingly, Scott rose to the challenge “that he approached collaboratively when it came to how we wanted the home to function, from our work lives to our social lives”.
The owners for the previous 50 years had been a Latvian dentist and her Mexican husband. With crumbling brickwork, concrete cancer, damp and drainage issues, the house was in need of some major structural work. Remnants of its former life were all there – the painted floorboards and walls, albeit peeling and crumbling; 1920s linoleum, tiles, wallpaper and carpet; drawers of bric-a-brac; even an intact Johnson & Sons ‘Rose Cloud’ dinner set that fed into the couple’s curiosity – and these salvaged elements became the basis for the colours and finishes throughout.
Having gathered objects, textiles, wallpaper and paint samples from the old house, Scott developed a cohesive colour palette with Wattyl recognising the building’s heritage, its owner history and its architectural bones, now overlaid with modern finishes and built forms designed for living today and into the future.
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