This seriously impressive Sydney home belongs to entrepreneur and businessman John Winning. To save you the hassle of googling him (and I know you will), I might as well give you the lowdown, briefly – John is the young CEO of Winning Group and founder of Appliances Online, Australia’s number one online retailer of kitchen appliances. His empire started as an online off-shoot of a 100-year-old family business, but these days John heads up the whole company. I have to say, the #winning hashtag has never seemed more appropriate.
John’s home is a massive 1,100 square metre 1920’s brick warehouse, converted on the first floor into a generally open plan home with large kitchen and dining area, two lounge areas, an outdoor terrace space and one central ‘pod’ bedroom, whilst the ground floor houses various guest bedrooms, an indoor pool, internal garden and extensive entertaining area.
The unique fit-out here is the result of a particularly inspired architectural response. ‘I held an ideas competition with a handful of architects, and one design approach stood out for its originality and use of the space’ explains John. That was Peter Ireland’s scheme, who is joint principal of Allen Jack + Cottier Architects. Peter proposed the ground floor internal garden with void and windows above, which allows natural light to stream through the space. He is also responsible for that mind-bending master bedroom!
‘Level one has my master bedroom, described by Ireland as a ‘man-cave’ – an acoustically insulated, cocoon-like fibre glass master suite – which ultimately sealed the deal for me to choose his scheme’ John explains. The ‘pod’ must be seen to be believed. There’s something almost cartoon-like about this sculptural centrepiece, which was crafted using fibreglass boat-building technology.
Beyond these spectacular architectural elements, Sydney designer Kelly Ross of The Gentry is responsible for the warehouse’s distinctive interior details. Kelly worked closely with John, selecting furniture and fittings which reflect his interests and a rich sense of family history. ‘Kelly has created a dramatic and highly personal mise-en-scene’ John says. Some of his favourite pieces include his 12 seater-dining table, crafted from Oregon beams which were salvaged from the property, as well as an Irish Georgian sofa purchased from the set of The Great Gatsby!
Of course, if you sell appliances for a living, you really SHOULD have one hell of a kitchen. John certainly does, and amongst his most prized possessions are his kitchen appliances! ‘Of course I can’t help mentioning some of the amazing appliances that I have in my kitchen, including Sub Zero fridges, Wolf and Miele cooking appliances and Qasair rangehoods’ John says enthusiastically. ‘It’s a feature of the house, and the steel appliances look so good against the gold cabinetry.’
In fact, though this home is pretty outlandish, it’s also a surprisingly ‘insular’ space – from the outside, you really have no sense of the drama within! ‘I love that it’s completely unassuming from the street’ John says.’If you’re going past the house you’ve got no idea what’s inside, but as soon as you walk through the doors you get a feeling of being anywhere in the world’. Indeed, there is a distinct feeling here of being transported somewhere else. Entering the space is a somewhat surreal, ’Alice down the rabbit hole’ experience. This is a home created with no limits to the imagination, and that’s a very rare thing.