Artist Yolande Gray’s home has gone through several iterations since she purchased it in 1998. The Bronte terrace had already been divided into two apartments — one that became Yolande’s family home, and the another at the rear for her mother-in-law.
Initial renovations to the property were a ‘jigsaw done on a shoestring budget’, but a much larger project was always planned. ‘I knew I wanted to renovate or rebuild the rear apartment, and in 2016 I bagged over 10,000 white bricks from a 1930s block in Bondi Beach to cover the new build. I stored them in the garage for three years until we were ready to go,’ says Yolande.
Yolande decided to completely demolish and rebuild the flat in 2019, with the assistance of neighbour and architect Jose Garcia Negrette on the plans, and David Whittaker on the kitchen layout. The vision was to create a Puglian-inspired modern home taking advantage of northern light, all in just four months! ‘I was the project manager and was on site every day, or driving all over Sydney collecting marble and other building components,’ Yolande says.
Yolande fell in love with ‘palladiana’ style flooring on Pinterest, so she set about creating this in the bathroom and kitchen. ‘I gathered marble slabs and pieces in the colourways I wanted, then smashed and laid the design myself. The tiler glued and filled with grout and marble pebble, and a polisher cut back the grout,’ she says. ‘The finish is silky smooth, and my favourite feature of the apartment.’
Another homemade element is the dining nook kitchen table that Yolande repurposed from a leftover door. The cosiness of this space is contrasted with the elevated living area, which opens to the garden through floor-to-ceiling glass doors.
Yolande loves the textural finishes of the apartment, facilitated through the reclaimed bricks, concrete surfaces, and palladiana flooring. ‘The palette is soothing, and the floors make me so happy,’ she says. ‘The bathroom is an enveloping capsule.’ Over time, the garden will continue to develop, bringing nature into the home.
When not in use, Yolande rents out the apartment on Airbnb.