Combining the owner’s two passions, cooking and the garden, was the driving force in the revamp of this family home on Sydney’s lower North Shore by Justine Hugh-Jones and Katrina Mackintosh of Hugh-Jones Mackintosh. Faced with a fairly bland house with no remarkable features, the designers set out to create a contemporary home with an ambience of pared-back luxury and a coherent flow between indoors and out. The house was set well back on the generous-sized block, but movement around and in and out of the house was restricted and rooms were unconnected. The position of the swimming pool added further to the problems as the outdoor area at the back of the house could only be accessed via the pool enclosure.
“Everything was very locked in and confined,” says Justine, “so we had to create a good flow to allow the house to function better and connect with the garden.” With the owner’s love of cooking he wanted the house to revolve around entertaining and lifestyle. An outdoor pizza oven and Argentinian parrilla grill had to be factored in as well as an enlarged indoor ‘gourmet’ kitchen with “all the bells and whistles”, says Katrina.
The two-year project saw the house completely gutted and re-created with a welcome new personality. Shingles, wider eaves, upgraded windows and doors, metal balustrading and lashings of white paint have given the exterior new life and context within the expansive garden, replanted with lush specimens by Richard Unsworth of Garden Life.
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