When looking at images of this home, it’s hard to determine where exactly it might be located. The cool white exterior suggests Palm Springs, the tropical landscaping and prominent façade is reminiscent of Brazilian architecture, and the interiors would look perfectly at home in a Greek or Italian resort.
This house is actually located in Sydney’s Bellevue Hill, and was deliberately crafted to combine a diverse but complementary array of architectural influences.
Renovations over time had seen this home become far removed from its mid-century origins by architect George Reves. Luigi Rosselli Architects and Studio Schelp were engaged to restore the home’s character, alongside Alwill Interiors, whose unique flair was sought for the indoors. This experienced design dream team worked with landscape firm Dangar Barin Smith to deliver a remarkable home where every detail has been considered and enhanced.
Referencing the work of Italian architect Giovanni Ponti, and modern Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, Luigi Rosselli’s design set out to enrich the home’s existing exterior curves, and highlight these in the interiors. ‘The client wanted to keep it feeling light, open and airy, striking a balance between timeless elegance and paying homage to the unmistakable mid-century details and style,’ says Romaine Alwill, director of Alwill Interiors. ‘The house was to be luxurious in its execution, yet practical, and have an element of playfulness throughout.’
The floorplan was updated to feature predominately open-plan spaces, more conducive to the client’s relaxed harbourside lifestyle. This new layout presented a challenge to Alwill, requiring an integration of clever design cues to define the formal rooms from those more casual. ‘It’s actually a very difficult house to furnish! ‘Not only are there curves and few right angles, but the home’s openness makes it hard to define a language for each space,’ Romaine says. ‘Also, the client had three teenage kids, so it couldn’t be too precious. When it’s distinctly separate rooms it’s much easier!’
A Mediterranean feeling is instilled in the interiors through the use of ocean motifs, glamorous lighting pendants, and shades of teal and ice blue. ‘People say you shouldn’t combine blue and green, but I tend to disagree! Luigi is Italian so those Mediterranean curves are innate to him, but they were also a part of the original house, so I wanted to embrace that. It all came together quite naturally,’ Romaine says.
The result of these radical yet sympathetic updates has truly elevated this architecturally significant home to the next level. Romaine’s favourite element of the property is the connection between the indoors and out, and surprisingly, the powder room!
‘It’s heaven, I love how the materials came together in there: silk wallpaper, Hermes marble and brass. It’s like being in a cloud, but with fish swimming on the walls!’