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A New Bronte Apartment Filled With Texture + Terrazzo!

Homes

Renovations have been ‘constant’ in the Bronte terrace of Yolande Gray and her family. The artist purchased this property in 1998 after it had already been divided into two apartments: one for her young family, and the other for her mother-in-law.

The second apartment was completely rebuilt in 2019, creating the gorgeous home you see today. Yolande managed the project herself, incorporating white bricks salvaged from a demolished 1930s building in nearby Bondi, and incredible Italian-inspired bathroom and kitchen floors made from marble offcuts!

13th April, 2022

Inside Yolande’s gorgeous abode! French sideboard from the 1500s. Painting by Yolande Gray. ‘The butterfly chair was a street find, refreshed with a new tan leather seat,’ Yolande says. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Sliding steel doors with eco glass by Blueshed Engineering. French sideboard from the 1500s. Reupholstered chair sourced as a ‘street find’. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Yolande inside her space where she creates her artworks. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Painting by Yolande Gray. Vases from an op-shop. Bowl from flea market in Ostuni, Puglia. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

The tranquil view through to the garden. Steel vegetable garden boxes by Blueshed Engineering. White bricks sourced from a demo in Bondi of a 1930s apartment block in 2017. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

‘The concrete steps were left as raw as possible in contrast to the high polish of the palladiana floor,’ Yolande says. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Yolande’s shelves are lined with ‘op-shop finds and travel mementos’. George Floyd painting by Yolande Gray from a project immediately following his murder where ‘artists were invited to contribute a portrait that was used to create a video of the many hundreds of submissions,’ says Yolande. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Various paintings by Yolande Gray. Various vases from op-shops. Standard lamp shade repurposed as a wall sconce. Steel windows with eco glass by Blueshed Engineering. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

The palladiana floor in the bathroom was hand laid by Yolande, and the marble was collected from all over Sydney to create this colourway. Gloss Pink Subway Tile from Tile Cloud. Yokato Tapware from Brodware. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Painting by Yolande Gray. Gloss Pink Subway Tile from Tile Cloud. Yokato Tapware from Brodware. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

All paintings by Yolande Gray. Large black and white ink on paper by Tate Adams. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Yolande salvaged the outdoor pavers from a friend’s renovation. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 13th April 2022

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

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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