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Louise and Graeme Bell

Homes

This wonderful mid century home on Sydney’s Northern Beaches belongs to retailer Louise Bell of Table Tonic, her partner, architect Graeme Bell, and their kids Jasper (11) and Anoushka (7).

With it’s supremely photogenic front facade, Louise and Graeme’s home is a much loved and much photographed (!) local residence. It’s a distinctive part of the streetscape, appearing almost as a frozen snapshot from the 1950s!

3rd February, 2016
Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 3rd February 2016

This mid century beauty belongs to retailer Louise Bell of Table Tonic, her partner, architect Graeme Bell, and their kids Jasper (11) and Anoushka (7). The family have been here exactly 5 years.

With it’s supremely photogenic front facade, Louise and Graeme’s home is a much loved local residence. It’s a distinctive part of the streetscape, appearing almost as a frozen snapshot from the 1950s!  In fact, the house was built in 1957, designed by Australian architect Loyal Alexander for his own family. The project turned heads even then, first featuring in the August 1958 issue of Australian House and Garden Magazine!

In recent years, however, the place hasn’t always looked quite this good. When Louise and Graeme first took possession, the property was in need of some love. The pair have sympathetically restored and refurbished both interiors and external areas, with all of the design work (and most of the building work) done by Graeme. Externally, this has included restoration of all steel and timber frame doors and windows, replacement of the balcony balustrade, new sandstone crazy paving and a new roof, as well as the addition of a breeze brick wall beneath the balcony – such a beautiful seamless addition to the front facade, we can’t believe this isn’t original!

Inside, the home has been painted throughout (we love the yellow, white and black palette!), whilst a new 1950’s-style sandstone fireplace and hearth have been added, along with new teak joinery in the study and living room, designed to complement existing cabinetry elsewhere in the house.  Ever a work-in-progress, the charm of this home really lies in the way it has been layered and thoughtfully improved over time, making it just as vibrant, beautiful and functional for a family today as it was in 1957!

Louise is passionate about interiors, and many of the beautiful details here are from her popular retail store, Table Tonic. She is particularly fond of her collection of African Feather Juju Hats. ‘They are so unique, and such a lovely alternative to two dimensional art on a wall – particularly in a cluster’ she says. ‘When, like us, you have a few walls on the same elevation to fill, they’re effective in breaking up the look with some texture’ she adds.

Mostly though, the joy of living here is about the surroundings. Nestled on a deep block, and surrounded by lush plant life, there is so much to love about this relaxed family home. Having previously lived in central Sydney, the abundance of natural light is something Louise really appreciates here. And being walking distance from the beach is the icing on the cake!

Louise and Graeme’s living area, looking out onto the lush front garden. Juju Hat African Headresses from Louise’s store Table Tonic, Bo Butik vintage danish sideboard, Roger McLay vintage Kone chair, Icelandic Sheepskin from Table Tonic, Cowhide rug from eBay, dining table From Spence & Lyda (Eames Base) with a Corian top, vintage TH brown dining chairs sourced on eBay, butterfly chairs from 506070. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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