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Inside Australia’s Most Beautiful Live-Work Space

Architecture

We haven’t seen every Australian workplace, but we feel confident calling Alexander House the most beautiful office in the country.

More accurately, the building is the self-designed headquarters of design studio Alexander &CO, which is also occasionally used for entertaining after hours by the practice’s principal Jeremy Bull and marketing director Tess Glasson, who live in a separate house next door with their four children. 

The entire project came to life over the pandemic, which saw a new house built behind the existing heritage facade in just seven months.

Step inside and you’ll find various work areas to suit private and collaborative work. There are even bedrooms to accommodate interstate team members, and amenities such as a steam room and ice bath!

6th July, 2021

Curtains: Linen curtains from Homelife Furnishings (Kyoto fabric Gran colour). Wall opening detail: Natural Brick Co. using Lutyens Bricks. Rug: Scandinavian Collection, Design 01, from Cadrys Contemporary. Coffee table:  This vintage Roche Bobois freeform coffee table was bought from a local Sydney dealer called The Vault. Glass side tables: Miniforms Soda Side Table in petrol from James Richardson Furniture. Armchair: Vintage Jean Gillon for Italma Wood Art Easy Lounge Chair, reupholstered by Demuz Design (using leather from the Elmonordic range from InStyle). Sofa: CDF Studio (made using InStyle’s Cocoon fabric in Glenn colour). Wall sconces: 27hundred. Grey marble plate from Fred International. Glass vase from Palmer and Penn. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

Rug: Scandinavian Collection, Design 01, from Cadrys Contemporary. Coffee table:  Vintage Roche Bobois freeform coffee table bought from The Vault Sydney. Glass side tables: Miniforms Soda Side Table in petrol from James Richardson Furniture. Armchair: Vintage Jean Gillon for Italma Wood Art Easy Lounge Chair, reupholstered by Demuz Design (using leather from the Elmonordic range from InStyle). Sofa: CDF Studio (made using InStyle’s Cocoon fabric in Glenn colour). Wall light: Snoot in a Can Mini (in brass) from The Lighting Guild. Artwork Justin Williams, Wolfhound Interior, 2020 courtesy of the artist and COMA, Sydney. Chairs: Pierre Jeanneret Easy chair in Natural Teak from Tigmi Trading. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

Banquette seating accommodates the practice’s team of 24. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

The building is the self-designed headquarters of design studio Alexander & Co, which is also occasionally used for entertaining after hours by the practice’s principal Jeremy Bull and marketing director Tess Glasson, who live in a separate house next door with their four children. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

Artwork: V19 Reimagining by Greg Wood by OTOMYS Contemporary. Wall sconce: Custom wall light from 27hundred. Banquette: CDF Studio (upholstered in Tundra leader (colour Caribou)  from InStyle. Custom table made using ‘Four Seasons’ marble by Worldstone. Vase:  Jewel Vase designed by Louise Roe  from Spence & Lyda. Chair: Arkade Dining Chair designed by Nanna Ditzel by Brdr. Krüger from Fred International. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

Bench surface/finish: Custom kitchen island made from a custom cast from Concrete Bespoke. Joinery: Jonathan West. Joinery hardware: Joseph Giles Irvine’ Solid Brass Cabinet Pull from English Tapware. Stone slab splashback: Calacatta Viola from Worldstone. Wall finish: Proyalbi rendered wall finish. Pendant light: Custom designed by Alexander &CO. Bird pendant from The Lighting Guild. Wall light: Snoot in a Can Mini (in brass) from The Lighting Guild. Table lamp: Lady ’79 ceramic sculptural lamp with custom pleated shade from Sarah Nedovic Gaunt. Pink ceramic plates Studio Enti x Alexander &CO. collaboration. Dining chair: S32 dining chairs by Anibou. Knoll ‘Platner’ stool.  Artwork Justin Williams, Wolfhound Interior, 2020 courtesy of the artist and COMA, Sydney. Artwork ‘Persona’ by Maria Kostareva from Curatorial &Co. Stacked pink ceramic bowls Studio Enti x Alexander &CO. collaboration. Sculptural vessel and bowl both from Studio Cavit. Brass sculpture from Utopia Art SydneyVase from Ondene. Tapware: City Plus Kitchen mixer in Aged Iron from Brodware Splashback: Calacatta Viola from Worldstone. Pendant light: Custom designed by Alexander &CO. Bird pendant from The Lighting Guild. Lady ’79 ceramic sculptural lamp with custom pleated shade from Sarah Nedovic Gaunt. Bowl from Greg Natale. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

Flooring: Scala Crazy Paving from Eco Outdoor. Wall finish: Rendered wall finish and custom colour by Ludi Braga Interior. Tiles: Musk Pink Tumbled Subways – Sydney Tile Gallery. Outdoor shower and ice bath: Customised brass cold outdoor Shower from Slightly Garden Obsessed. Outdoor furniture: Hima Series by Re. Studio Collective. Terracotta pots from Garden Life. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

Among references showcased throughout are old chapels and churches with their tonal palettes, double-height volumes, and limestone and sandstone walls that appear to erode away over time. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

Rug: The Rug Establishment. Dining table: American Oak. Custom Designed by Alexander &CO. Tablecloth: from InBedStore. Dining chair: S32 dining chairs from Anibou. Curtains: Basement: Linen curtains from Homelife Furnishings  (Mokum Kyoto fabric – colour ricepaper). Wall finish: Proyalbi rendered wall finish. Ceiling light: Custom wall lights from The Lighting Guild. Ceiling spotlights: Custom wall lights from The Lighting Guild. Ceiling Timber: Reclaimed Hardwood from old house. Landscaping: Dangar Barin Smith. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

Wall finish: Proyalbi rendered wall finish. Ceiling spotlights: Custom wall lights from The Lighting Guild. Ceiling timber: Reclaimed hardwood from old house. Rug: The Rug Establishment. Dining table: American Oak, custom designed by Alexander &CO. Tablecloth: from InBedStore. Dining chair: S32 dining chairs from Anibou. Large Sculpture from Curatorial And Co. Clear Glass Vase And Coupes from Manyara Home. Green Glass Vase from Marimekko Australia. Green Glasses And Plates from Spence and Lyda. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

The project was largely constructed in seven months. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

Rug: Mid-century Collection, Design 04, from Cadrys Contemporary

Table: Custom designed walnut kidney table by Alexander &Co and made by Hugh McCarthy Design. The Platner chairs were bought first and the shape houses these chairs well. We also love the totem table legs. Chairs: Knoll ‘Platner’ armchairs. Pendant light: Custom pendant from 27hundred. Floor: Oak Karkor timber floorboards by Havwoods. Ceiling: Reclaimed oregon from Swadlings. Carafe from Great Dane Furniture. lasses from Cult Design. Bowl from Ondene. Ceramic sculpture by Tania Rollond. Leather Curtains: made on collaboration with Charlie Charbel from Home Upholstery. Artwork ‘Dusty View’ by Denise Hojdyssek. Artwork Jack Lanagan Dunbar, Leipzig Work on Paper, 2019, courtesy of the artist and COMA, Sydney. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

Desk/bench: Custom Designed by Alexander &CO. and formed by Fairweather Construction. Table lamp: Derome Column Table Light by Pinch from Spence & Lyda. Stools: Dot Stools designed by Christophe Delcourt from Ondene. Timber stool: Abode Thin Top Stool by Noble Souls from Coco Republic. Pine Chair: A family heirloom piece found at or family holiday house and made by Principal Jeremy Bull’s grandfather in the 1970s. Window detail: Obeco Glass bricks. Ceiling lights: Custom Snoot in a Can Mini (dark aged brass) by The Lighting Guild. Flooring: Oak Timber (Karkor) from Havwoods. Ceiling: Reclaimed oregon from Swadlings. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

Vase, cup, saucer and bowl all from Spence & Lyda. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

The steam shower.Shower tapware: Brodware. Tiles: Rosso Crema Tiles from Teranova Tiles. Towel rail: Yokato Single Towel Rail from Brodware. Side table: Marble table from Manyara Home. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

Curtains: Linen and Velour curtains Mokum – Vintage Deux 13052 – PEACH 181 & Mokum Kyoto fabric colour ricepaper by HomeLife Furnishings. Floor: Reclaimed hardwood timber from Ironwood. Ceiling finish: Untreated pine from Swadlings. Wall light: Anchor Ceramics. Rug: Armadillo &Co. Vessels by Tania Rollond. Textured bowl from Paola Paronetto Creations. Sculpture from Curatorial and Co. Lumpy Vase by Jordan Fleming. Bed: District bed by District Eight. Bedside table: (joined as part of District Eight bed design). Bed linen: Bedding from Ondene. Floor lamp: Lamp from The Vault Sydney. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

Landscaping: Dangar Barin Smith. Outdoor furniture: Hima Series by Re. Studio Collective. Door frames: Empire Steel. Building paint colour: Dulux White Century, low sheen. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

Vanity: Custom designed by Concrete Bespoke. Tapware: Aged Brass Yokato from Brodware. Tiles on back wall: Kasbah white Gloss tile from Surface Gallery. Shower curtain: Homelife Fabric – Luiz LikeLinen – Colour 20 Nature. Towels: from Polite Society. Flooring: Scala Crazy Paving by Eco Outdoor. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

Entry bench: Custom designed by Alexander &CO. and made using ‘Four Seasons’ marble by Worldstone. Rammed Earth panel (carbon neutral) by – Natural Brick Company. Vase/Vessels: Chalk Horse Gallery and Curatorial And Co. Flooring: Scala Crazy Paving by Eco Outdoor. Landscaping: Dangar Barin Smith. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

The restored facade. Paint colour: Dulux White Century, low sheen. Photo – Anson Smart. Editorial styling – Claire Delmar

Amelia Barnes
Tuesday 6th July 2021

‘It’s a house, it’s a residential showcase, and a working from home HQ. Broadly our workforce moves in and out, works from home, and comes in as they need to.’ – Jeremy Bull

Principal Jeremy Bull and marketing director Tess Glasson, both of Alexander &CO, were always interested in purchasing the house next door to their Bondi Junction property, should it ever come up for sale. When it finally did 10 years later, they saw a rare opportunity to buy the property and convert this into a workspace of sorts. 

‘We were looking for commercial properties, and we thought we don’t know how this will work, but let’s buy it and build a house “thing” that we can use to show clients through, and provide a working from home HQ/showpiece,’ says Jeremy. 

That was the initial plan, but with Covid normalising more unorthodox working arrangements, Tess and Jeremy decided to make this their team’s permanent business headquarters. 

‘It’s a house, it’s a residential showcase, and a working from home HQ. Broadly our workforce moves in and out, works from home, and comes in as they need to,’ explains Jeremy. 

The space is also used for industry events, and occasionally for entertaining out of hours by Jeremy, Tess, and their four children who spill over from their house next door! 

Works commenced on Alexander House in February 2020, which saw the previous house on site replaced with a new four-storey interior behind the original facade. 

The floor plan now contains an open-plan area with banquette seating to accommodate the practice’s team of 24; a voluminous basement with workstations and materials; breakout spaces for meetings and quiet work; and three bathrooms. There’s also additional ‘wellness’ amenities, such as a steam room, outdoor shower, ice bath and pool.

As principal architect of the project, Jeremy’s vision was for a ‘safe space for reflection, experimentation and to nurture the creative spirit.’ This concept is reflected in the interiors, which incorporate a number of prototypes, reimagined works from previous projects, bespoke pieces created in collaborations with local craftspeople; and never-before-seen material applications. 

A small sample of these include a series of outdoor furniture made in conjunction with Re. Studio Collective using recycled building waste from the original building and a rammed earth technique; the first ever use of Lutyens Bricks from Natural Brick Co; custom furniture by Hugh McCarthy and Athol Wright of CDF Studio; and lighting pendants made in collaboration with Shaun Dudley of The Lighting Guild, including a seven metre long pendant that connects all four levels.

‘The house is sort of a random menagerie of things we’ve always wanted to own for ourselves,’ says Jeremy.

Among the various influences referenced throughout are old chapels and churches, with their tonal palettes, double-height volumes, and limestone and sandstone walls that appear to erode away over time. The monolithic pink concrete table by Concrete Bespoke (which weighs 500kg and was craned in to the space) is also similar in form to an altar. 

‘Although falling under one story or narrative, each of the rooms is quite specifically different in terms of techniques, materials and details,’ Jeremy says.

Sustainability was another key consideration, resulting in two underground tanks with a total water storage of 22,000 litres; a solar system that generates up to 45kWh of power daily; a Tesla Powerwall battery; and two underground Subpod worm farms processing up to 30 litres of food waste weekly.

Overall, the biggest ambition of this project lies in its deliberate ambiguity. Not simply a gorgeous project, Alexander House is an architectural showcase – a purpose-built live-work set up aiming to challenge preconceptions of home, family, and work.

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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. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net