Annalisa Capurro

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
12th of October 2011

The mid-century home of interior designer, design educator and mid-century design afficionado Annalisa Capurro

Colourful details in the loungeroom

Original bookshelves and wood panelling. Perfect mid-century furniture and lighting!
Today’s incredible home has a very special story.  It’s a story of fate, design karma and one woman’s passion for iconic, untouched mid-century architecture!

‘The Jack House’ in Sydney’s Upper North Shore belongs to interior designer, design educator and mid-century design afficionado Annalisa Capurro, and her 8 yr old daughter India.  Annalisa has been here just two years… but after reading this post, I’m sure you’ll agree that this home was always meant to be hers.

Annalisa purchased the Jack House privately from Russell Jack, the architect (and founding partner of architectural firm Allen Jack and Cottier), who designed the house in 1956 in conjunction with his late wife architect Pamela Jack.  In 1957 The Jack House won the prestigious Sulman Award for architecture.

When it was finally time to move from his beloved home in 2009, Russell Jack couldn’t bear to sell his home to just anyone.  He wanted to entrust the home only to someone who understood and valued it’s architectural significance, and someone he knew would retain it in original condition. Enter Annalisa Capurro!

Russell interviewed a number of people who were interested in buying his home.  Annalisa was well aware of the Jack House through her work in design and her affiliation with Sydney’s Heritage Houses Trust. She says she had always considered this home her ‘dream’ house.  The Jack House encapsulates many important modernist design principles that Annalisa has long valued, such as modesty of scale, connection to site and nature, honesty of materiality, perfect orientation, and a strong inside/ outside connection.  When she heard this iconic home was on the market (due to a passing  mention in the editor’s letter of Inside Out magazine!) Annalisa made contact with Russell Jack.  She passed his rigorous selection process with flying colours!

I must say, there couldn’t possibly have been a better candidate.  Annalisa is passionate about the protection and preservation of mid century architecture.  She shares her extensive knowlege on this subject with her students at Sydney’s Design Centre Enmore, and she regularly  hosts architectural tours for the Historic Houses Trust, AAA, Art Deco Society NSW, and Sydney Institute.  Annalisa believes that modernist houses can still teach us many valuable lessons today about living smaller and living smarter.  ‘The Jack House is a living example of this’ she says, ‘it is just as contemporary and relevant today as when it was designed and built over 50 years ago. Good design doesn’t date.’  Hear hear!

Annalisa says she feels very blessed to have the opportunity to live in a house that inspires her on a daily basis.   When chatting to Annalisa about the home, it’s clear she sees herself less as an owner but more of a custodian, looking after this extraordinary piece of architecture for generations to come. ‘Hopefully it will be here long after I have gone…’ she says!

Whilst there is much to love about her stunning home, Annalisa says the greatest thing about buying the Jack House has been forming a close personal friendship with architect Russell Jack. ‘He has been one of my design heroes for as long as I can remember, and now he is my friend and mentor’ she says.  Mr Jack must be counting his lucky stars too!

Sydneysiders who are interested in mid-century architecture can pop along to hear Annalisa speak as part of a symposium on 50’s and 60’s houses for the Sydney Architectural Festival on October 21st and 22nd, where her home will also be part of an ‘Open House’ tour.  (fellow mid-century homeowner Tim Ross will also be there!) Limited places – all info here!
Massive thanks to Annalisa for sharing her home with us and for this wonderful backstory!

Annalisa has no shortage of chairs!  ‘I just love chairs and have been collecting them for over 15 years…’ she says.

Faultless mid-century details

‘My beautiful study complete with floor to ceiling bookshelves (for my collection of architecture and design books) and built in drawing board!’ – Annalisa

One of Annalisa’s most treasured aspects of her home is the gorgeous original wallpapers and fabrics – including this original Marimekko fabric in the study!

Dining room looking through to entrance hall
Dining details – and more original wallpaper!
Dining room

Kitchen details (original laminate) and a commitment to the colour orange!

Master bedroom.  One of the only changes Annalisa has made is painting her bedroom wall a dark charcoal

The chair obsession continues….!

India’s bedroom
The most beautiful view in the house!  Second study with frameless open-able window opening to lush green foliage beyond.  Aghh..

Entrance hall details

Entrance hall archi details

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