This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Palm Springs-Inspired Oasis In Suburban Sydney

Architecture

Get ready to be wowed, people, this mid-century-inspired, sun-drenched home in Sydney by Nick Bell Architects is truly fabulous.

The Olphert in Vaucluse sensitively transforms a dilapidated mid-century residence into a striking contemporary family home, with a retro twist. Palm Springs meet suburban Sydney, in the most spectacular way!

1st October, 2019

Photography – Tom Ferguson. Styling – Emma Elizabeth.

Photography – Tom Ferguson. Styling – Emma Elizabeth.

Photography – Tom Ferguson.

Photography – Tom Ferguson. Styling – Emma Elizabeth.

Photography – Tom Ferguson. Styling – Emma Elizabeth.

Photography – Tom Ferguson. Styling – Emma Elizabeth.

Photography – Tom Ferguson. Styling – Emma Elizabeth.

Photography – Tom Ferguson. Styling – Emma Elizabeth.

Photography – Tom Ferguson. Styling – Emma Elizabeth.

Photography – Tom Ferguson. Styling – Emma Elizabeth.

Photography – Tom Ferguson. Styling – Emma Elizabeth.

Miriam McGarry
Tuesday 1st October 2019

Nick Bell Architects took inspiration from the existing mid-century home for this outstanding project, The Olphert in Vaucluse, New South Wales. The essence of glamour and style from the original 1960s design have been emphasised, with a contemporary touch.

When the architects first encountered the home, it was in poor condition and offered a fragmented layout, with distinct and separated zoned. The large swimming pool was cut off from the living spaces, and the distinct sections of the home felt isolated. The brief from the clients was to create an oasis, to open up the home and provide a seamless entertaining zone that linked the home, garden and pool.

The architects highlight that the client’s love of mid-century design helped inform the renovations, and the team drew upon this aesthetic to inform the additional bedroom, new living spaces, and kitchen and bathroom fit-outs. Existing spaces were also sensitively updated, by looking historically to the styles and materials of the mid-century period, and refurbishing and repairing joinery, terrazzo paving (!!) and parquetry flooring.

The Olphert takes inspiration from the homes and hotels of Palm Springs, reimagined for an Australian setting. The sweeping rear roof structure swoops around, offering maximum northern light through the interior spaces, with its distinctive curve embracing the pool terrace. The architects emphasise how the material selections also reference mid century design, through large areas of glazing framed in bronze aluminium, pink joinery in the kitchen, and the sandstone crazy paving outside. Jakin Homes and Pools pulled it all together, completing the pool and landscaping as well as the build.

While the end result here signals lazy afternoons of poolside cocktails in palazzo pants, this project wasn’t all smooth sailing. The architects explain that the irregular shape of the triangular garden, and the discovery of asbestos during the build necessitated some inventive design thinking, but resulted in an innovate and considered renovation. Despite the challenges, the Nick Bell Architects team truly nailed this Palm-Springs-meets-suburban-Sydney brief!

This Week

Creative People

Behind The Scenes Of 'Rone In Geelong’ – Opening This Weekend!

See a retrospective of artist Rone's work to date at Geelong Gallery from Saturday February 27 to Sunday May 16, 2021.

News

A New Book About The Wonderful, Colourful World Of Ken Done Is Here

The legendary Australian artist is celebrated with a new book by Thames & Hudson, ‘Ken Done: Art, Design, Life’.

Sustainable Homes

A Former Corner Store Turned Sustainable Family Home

A dilapidated, Federation-era shopfront is transformed into a truly unique, energy efficient home by CplusC Architectural Workshop.

Art

11 Affordable, Emerging Painters You Should Know!

From landscapes and surrealism to portraits and abstract art, these local artists are going BIG places.

News

Patricia Piccinini And Alpha60 Join Forces On A New Collaboration

The celebrated Australian artist and local fashion legends launch a new series of textiles titled ‘Hugs’, which are now installe...
Sponsored

Architecture

This Lower North Shore Family House Feels Like A Permanent Vacation!

Two grand palm trees on entry provide a strong identity for the Whisper House, designed by Manolev Architects.

News

'Giant' by Evi O Opens At Saint Cloche

Artist Evi O showcases her largest paintings to date in new exhibition Giant, on now at Saint Cloche.

Studio Visit

The Award-Winning Student Ceramicist Suspending Time In Clay

Bell Carver is the recipient of the inaugural Shelley Simpson Ceramics Prize (and $10,000 in prize money!) - a new award for emerging cerami...

Stays

This New Byron Bay Hinterland Accomodation Is Equal Parts Luxury + Rustic

Book your stay at The Perch – a beautifully renovated 1970s property in Bangalow, NSW.

News

A Group Show Combining Ceramics + Still-Life Under One Roof!

Ceramicist Grace Brown joins artistic forces with figurative artist Margaret Voterakis for a new exhibition at Modern Times, ‘Utopian Purs...
Sasha Aarons

Family

An Honest Conversation On Single Parenting By Choice + Donor Conception With Takeawei Ceramics Founder, Chela Edmunds

Chela Edmunds of Takeawei ceramics shares her story of becoming a mother to 18-month-old Ocean via sperm donor and IVF.

On The Market

An Interior Designer’s Glamorous Victorian Pad Hits The Market!

Chelsea Hing’s apartment in an 1890s Italianate mansion in St Kilda East is up for sale. This is *the one*!

Homes

Emily Green's Joyous Family Home, Filled With Local Makers’ Work

The fun and colour-filled Reservoir family home of designer and Pinky's store co-owner, Emily Green, and teacher Louis Turner.

News

An Abstract Art Biennale Celebrating Female Artists From Victoria

See ‘Of Colour and Light’ – an exhibition of 50 emerging and established female artists – on now at West End Art Space.

Interiors

A Social Sydney Home Elevated By Garden Views + On Point Decoration!

Following an architectural renovation by Welsh + Major, celebrated design studio Arent&Pyke elevate this Sydney home with a stunning array o...

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Forever Home That Celebrates The Past

Renovating for longevity in Rose Bay, Sydney with Ricci Bloch Architecture and Interiors.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Home With Italian WOW Factor, In Carlton North

The Il Duomo house by Wowowa brings a slice of Italy to Carlton North.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Home Of Pink Terrazzo And Endless Archways!

The 'Plaster Fun House' is a uniquely creative home in the South Australian suburbs, from Sans-Arc Studio.
Miriam McGarry

This Week

Interiors

A Social Sydney Home Elevated By Garden Views + On Point Decoration!

Following an architectural renovation by Welsh + Major, celebrated design studio Arent&Pyke elevate this Sydney home with a stunning array o...

News

A New Book About The Wonderful, Colourful World Of Ken Done Is Here

The legendary Australian artist is celebrated with a new book by Thames & Hudson, ‘Ken Done: Art, Design, Life’.

Sustainable Homes

A Former Corner Store Turned Sustainable Family Home

A dilapidated, Federation-era shopfront is transformed into a truly unique, energy efficient home by CplusC Architectural Workshop.

News

An Abstract Art Biennale Celebrating Female Artists From Victoria

See ‘Of Colour and Light’ – an exhibition of 50 emerging and established female artists – on now at West End Art Space.

On The Market

An Interior Designer’s Glamorous Victorian Pad Hits The Market!

Chelsea Hing’s apartment in an 1890s Italianate mansion in St Kilda East is up for sale. This is *the one*!

Studio Visit

The Award-Winning Student Ceramicist Suspending Time In Clay

Bell Carver is the recipient of the inaugural Shelley Simpson Ceramics Prize (and $10,000 in prize money!) - a new award for emerging cerami...

News

A Group Show Combining Ceramics + Still-Life Under One Roof!

Ceramicist Grace Brown joins artistic forces with figurative artist Margaret Voterakis for a new exhibition at Modern Times, ‘Utopian Purs...
Sasha Aarons

Architecture

This Lower North Shore Family House Feels Like A Permanent Vacation!

Two grand palm trees on entry provide a strong identity for the Whisper House, designed by Manolev Architects.

News

Patricia Piccinini And Alpha60 Join Forces On A New Collaboration

The celebrated Australian artist and local fashion legends launch a new series of textiles titled ‘Hugs’, which are now installe...
Sponsored

News

'Giant' by Evi O Opens At Saint Cloche

Artist Evi O showcases her largest paintings to date in new exhibition Giant, on now at Saint Cloche.

Homes

Emily Green's Joyous Family Home, Filled With Local Makers’ Work

The fun and colour-filled Reservoir family home of designer and Pinky's store co-owner, Emily Green, and teacher Louis Turner.

Stays

This New Byron Bay Hinterland Accomodation Is Equal Parts Luxury + Rustic

Book your stay at The Perch – a beautifully renovated 1970s property in Bangalow, NSW.

Family

An Honest Conversation On Single Parenting By Choice + Donor Conception With Takeawei Ceramics Founder, Chela Edmunds

Chela Edmunds of Takeawei ceramics shares her story of becoming a mother to 18-month-old Ocean via sperm donor and IVF.

Creative People

Behind The Scenes Of 'Rone In Geelong’ – Opening This Weekend!

See a retrospective of artist Rone's work to date at Geelong Gallery from Saturday February 27 to Sunday May 16, 2021.

Art

11 Affordable, Emerging Painters You Should Know!

From landscapes and surrealism to portraits and abstract art, these local artists are going BIG places.

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Forever Home That Celebrates The Past

Renovating for longevity in Rose Bay, Sydney with Ricci Bloch Architecture and Interiors.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Home With Italian WOW Factor, In Carlton North

The Il Duomo house by Wowowa brings a slice of Italy to Carlton North.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Home Of Pink Terrazzo And Endless Archways!

The 'Plaster Fun House' is a uniquely creative home in the South Australian suburbs, from Sans-Arc Studio.
Miriam McGarry

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.