Chemistry Class
Belle Magazine Australia|December - January 2021
The formula for the magical makeover of this transformed harbourside home was one part golden opportunity and one part inspired vision.
Owen Lynch

This three-storey property in Sydney’s east had fallen victim to decades of crude, inconsistent renovations, presenting its new owners with an adequately proportioned home of five bedrooms and four bathrooms but with tired, timeworn interiors. But the promise of coveted Sydney Harbour views for the couple and their young family proved irresistible.

Initially, the current owners had engaged Sydney interior architect Debbie Pollak of Pollak Design to apply minor functional and cosmetic updates to the house. “I’m crazy about light and ventilation. For me, that’s everything,” says Debbie who honed her skills for a decade at architects Tobias Partners as an associate. “When I first entered the home every room was dark and reeked of smoke from the previous owners. It was quite depressing.”

She immediately became aware that the site had great potential but there was “little sense of its harbourside position as the interiors were just a series of dark, closed boxes”, she says. “It was almost a tragedy for me to see how the place was designed despite its beautiful outlook.”

Recognising the inherent opportunities for the owners, Debbie’s proposal transcended mere prettification, advocating instead that the budgeted works be re-scoped to make use of what was already at the core: a sound, substantial family home, one that through shrewd replanning – rather than either superficial edits or a complete rebuild – could offer something more clever, brighter and better suited to its occupants. “I was fortunate that the clients trusted my judgement and saw the logic in taking out walls to access northern light and view corridors.”

Working to the radically redefined brief, Debbie and her associate, Kate Springer, set about creating a largely open-plan home that still held the capacity for each space to feel contained. »

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BELLE MAGAZINE AUSTRALIAView All

DAYS OF HEAVEN

A new build in the Adelaide Hills presents the opportunity to create an interior befitting the home’s glorious surrounds.

4 mins read
Belle Magazine Australia
May 2022

CHERRY ON TOP

Set against neutral tones, the final flourish on this newly renovated heritage home in Melbourne is a bright pop of powerfully accented red.

4 mins read
Belle Magazine Australia
May 2022

Double vision

Two in one has a special significance for this home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. One of a pair by the same practice, it also has both public and private personas.

4 mins read
Belle Magazine Australia
May 2022

Breaking out

An elevated platform in the warehouse office of Studio Prineas creates a dedicated zone for staff to congregate and collaborate.

2 mins read
Belle Magazine Australia
May 2022

nature spirit

Embraced by its bushy hinterland habitat, a newly built family home radiates an aura of peace and harmony.

4 mins read
Belle Magazine Australia
May 2022

LIFE ENHANCING

An elegant layering of lush patterns, rich colours and bespoke pieces has enveloped this home in warmth and created a welcoming ambience for a large extended family.

4 mins read
Belle Magazine Australia
May 2022

PENTHOUSE pleasures

This lofty retreat presented fertile potential but also posed some tricky challenges for its enterprising designer.

3 mins read
Belle Magazine Australia
May 2022

SECOND CHANCES

Contemporary artwork and new openings have lightened the mood at this renovated 1930s family home in Melbourne.

4 mins read
Belle Magazine Australia
May 2022

Silver lining

With a look of maturity that belies its youth, an additional wing to a humble cottage, plus inspired makeovers inside and out, have transported this property to another realm.

3 mins read
Belle Magazine Australia
May 2022

WHITER SHADE of PALE

A neutral palette promotes a calm and elegant mood in this expansive Sydney home that is furnished with a judicious selection of antiques juxtaposed against contemporary art.

4 mins read
Belle Magazine Australia
May 2022
RELATED STORIES

Drama Down Under

In Sydney, a meticulously restored historic home sets the stage for interventions that are as fashionable as they are theatrical.

4 mins read
Elle Decor
April 2022

Border Conflicts

“Covid Zero” kept Australia safe, if isolated, for 18 months. Now its states are split over how to move on

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
September 20, 2021

Sidney – Catch the Wave

Business meets beach culture in sun-splashed Sydney.

4 mins read
Global Traveler
August 2021

Khloe & Tristan: BETRAYED AGAIN!

KHLOÉ KARDASHIAN IS LIVID AFTER AN INSTA MODEL CLAIMS TRISTAN THOMPSON IS BACK TO HIS CHEATING WAYS.

3 mins read
Star
May 17, 2021

5 completely honest confessions from Ruth Righi

You know Ruth Righi best as Sydney Reynolds on Disney’s Sydney to the Max (back on Disney Channel for a third season starting March 19). And while the 15-year-old actually has a lot in common with her onscreen alter ego (to start, they're both biracial and amazing bass players), we decided it was time to dig even deeper. Below are five brutally honest, real-life confessions straight from Ruth herself.

2 mins read
Girls' Life magazine
April/May 2021

BRAD & JEN'S SECRET DAUGHTER!

Stars dote on look-alike as she graduates college

2 mins read
Globe
June 29, 2020

Hustle and Heart

Monica Peraza O’Quigley loves the challenge of creating new companies. With her latest, the Etho, she’s zeroing in on her goal to empower women worldwide.

3 mins read
Inc.
May - June 2020

Scene & Heard

BEHIND the SCENES!

4 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
April 20, 2020

LOVE

My pets are my own true loves.

1 min read
Muse Science Magazine for Kids
March 2020

Slice Of Sydney

As the smoke clears, the draw of Australia’s largest city for both business and leisure comes into focus

7 mins read
Business Traveler
March 2020