Liana Shaw-Taylor, senior designer at Tone Studio, and James Shaw-Taylor, creative director for digital signage company Mandoe, spent years living in Sydney’s inner-eastern suburbs, but always knew they’d move north to Wahroonga to raise a family.
After missing out on a nearby property at auction, Liana came across another house probably out of their price range, that she decided to inspect anyway.
‘I walked in and fell in love with the elevated view from the lounge. The trees! The quiet! We offered the owners an amount before the auction and they accepted! Couldn’t believe it,’ she says.
Liana and James engaged interior designers Tom Mark Henry to contemporise the space, without detracting from the home’s original mid-century sensibilities. Special attention was paid to maintaining original features such as the timber panelled ceilings and fabulous metal support beams throughout, and repurposing materials wherever possible. For instance, bricks salvaged on site were painstakingly cleaned by the family, to re-use for a modest new extension which now accommodates a new main bedroom and en suite.
The updated interiors are the product of interior designers Tom Mark Henry, who splashed their design flair onto the plans and updated the shapes, surfaces and colour scheme. ‘I had a few too many wacky ideas and began to feel overwhelmed by the possibilities. Their guidance and expertise was invaluable,’ says Liana.
Curves in the home’s doorways, kitchen island, cabinetry handles, mirrors and bathroom joinery have also been introduced, in a playful departure from the horizontal lines common to mid-century design.
Some of these design choices came with unexpected consequences (‘We had to reinforce the floor underneath to accommodate the weight of our beautiful Gather Co. tiles’ says Liana), but all have resulted in this thoroughly delightful home.
When the couple’s children John and Penelope (currently 3 and 1) get a little older, Liana has plans to introduce even more changes – this time tackling renovations without being pregnant and having a toddler in tow!
‘While my kids are young I am enjoying the fact they can dance on the coffee table, accidentally (on purpose) scribble on the dining table, and drive their trucks on the walls. Get back to me in five years and I’ll show you the before and after of toddlerhood!’