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. »
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