Rebecca Hill and Johnny Paradiso

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
10th of April 2013

The Sydney apartment of restauranteur Johnny Paradiso, Rebecca Hill and family.  French prints by the Atelier Populaire,  part of the student uprising in Paris in 1968.  Modular entertainment unit by Gordon Johnson.   Boalum light (flexible tubular light on the entertainment unit) designed by Gianfranco Frattini and Livio Castiglioni. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living room looking to balcony.  Amazing graphic Quaderna bench (used as coffee table) by Superstudio, from Space Furniture.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining area.  Another Quaderna Benche by Superstudio in the hallway.  Vintage dining table by Eero Saarinan for Knoll. No.B9 Le Corbusier bentwood chairs (available from Thonet). Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

OK if you are a truly die hard TDF fan who has been with us since day dot (THANKYOU!), you might notice that today we’re pulling a bit of a swifty on you. That’s because today’s stunning Sydney apartment is actually a home we have featured once before, an extremely long time ago.  I’m not normally into repeating myself, but this one is such a truly special space, that I really felt compelled to go back and shoot it PROPERLY, now that it’s 2013, and we have a budget for professional photography! (Because goodness knows my early attempts leave a lot to be desired in retrospect!).

This stylish yet totally understated family apartment in Sydney’s Darlinghurst in fact belongs to dear friends of ours – restauranteur Johnny Paradiso of Fratelli Paradiso in Potts Point (truly one of the loveliest restaurants in Sydney – ask any Sydneysider they will agree!) and 10 William st in Paddington, Rebecca Hill and their two gorgeous girls Parker (12 yrs) and Theodora (7 yrs).

Whilst it’s modest in size at 2.5 bedrooms (Theodora got the .5 – a sweet little study-nook turned single bedroom just off the main living area) there is something so relaxed and generous about this apartment in the Republic apartment building, designed by reverred Sydney architectural practice Burley Katon Halliday.  It’s just the most brilliant example of good old fashioned functional design for modern life – generous living spaces, and a simple, clever layout which draws in natural light on two sides via floor to ceiling windows and wide balconies adjoining every room.  Additionally, the incredible shared outdoor area and swimming pool downstairs, and fulltime concierge (!!) really do add an element of modern luxury to everyday life for the lucky inhabitants of this building!

However, of course it’s not just the architectural master plan that makes this such a special place to live. Bec is truly one of the most effortlessly stylish ladies I know, and this innate sense of style certainly translates to her impeccably styled home!  She is an avid reader of every amazing international interiors magazine she can get her hands on, and has a particular love of all things French.  Her decorating aesthetic encompasses both French antiques and contemporary classics.  She’s always on the hunt for classic European design pieces, and has also commissioned a number of modern custom pieces to complement these (many of these are made by my dear fella, Gordon Johnson!).  A few of Bec and Johnny’s most treasured pieces include the Boalum light (flexible tubular light on the entertainment unit, designed by Gianfranco Frattini and Livio Castiglioni), those amazing graphic Quaderna Benches by Superstudio (from Space Furniture), and their slouchy black leather Diesis chaise. Bec is also an obsessive collector of beautiful trinkets – from candles to books, Henry dean glassware and those amazing Astier de Villatte ceramics!

The Paradiso family have been here for 10 years – and whilst they’re nearly on the verge of out-growing this space now, they’ve become so attached to the lifestyle here, they’re sticking around for as long as they can!   ‘We’re crazy about the apartment’ says Bec – ‘it has two balconies that I can grow a jungle on, see our neighbours over the other side, see the children in the pool, feel the warmth of the sun throughout the apartment even in winter, and it’s so light it’s like living on a permanent holiday!’.  Indeed, after having the great fortune of house sitting this beautiful home on the odd occasion, Gordon and I have been known to refer to it as ‘Hotel Paradiso’!  It’s just such a relaxed, easy space to be in.

Another great drawcard of the apartment for Bec and Johnny is its stellar central location.  Just a short walk from Parker’s school and Johnny’s restaurant and bar, it’s the perfect spot for this busy family.  ‘There is so much to see, do and eat on the doorstep, it really is walking distance to everything, it’s close to the restaurant and bar, and I like to hear the neighbourhood noises when I am home’ explains Bec – ‘Darlinghurst is as close to Europe as I can get!’

MASSIVE THANKS to Bec and Johnny for sharing their home not one but twice with TDF readers!  I do hope we’ve managed to capture the easy-going yet effortlessly stylish spirit of this home and it’s occupants… here’s to hoping we can house-sit again soon!


Living room looking towards entrance hallway.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dresser in entrance hallway.  Blue and red print is a much loved gift Bec’s aunty bought back from Europe 40 years ago.  Astier de Villatte oversized ceramic vase.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The galley style kitchen is tucked just off the main living area.  Skateboard – an artwork by German artist Katharina Grosse, from Sarah Cottier Gallery.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Serene master bedroom, minimally decorated.  Tizio lamp (available from Artemide).  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The beautiful master bedroom looks out over a leafy city park. Butterfly chair on balcony (available from Angelucci Twentieth Century in Melbourne or Ken Neale in Sydney). Chest of drawers (left) made by Gordon Johnson.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom detail.  Bedside tables made by Gordon Johnson, Tizio lamp on bedside (available from Artemide).  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Parker’s bedroom.  Elevated bed with storage beneath, made by Gordon Johnson.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Balcony adjoining living room.  Butterfly chair (find similar at Angelucci Twentieth Century in Melbourne or Ken Neale in Sydney).  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.
View from balcony to internal shared courtyard and pool. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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