This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Designer Tamsin Johnson's Historic Family Home, Overlooking Sydney Harbour

Interiors

Interior designer Tamsin Johnson has made her mark on some of Melbourne and Sydney’s best homes and venues with her glamorous and eclectic touch, so it’s no surprise her own family home is just as spectacular.

Located in Darling Point with sparkling views of the Sydney Harbour, the home’s historic charm has been bought back to life with textural finishes, original timber details, and dramatic marble features!

26th July, 2022

Inside Tamsin Johnson’s family home, Palazzo! Photo – Anson Smart

The historic home has been transformed with a thoughtful restoration. Photo – Anson Smart

Tamsin Johnson inside her beautiful abode. Photo – Anson Smart

Elegant sitting and dining rooms echo the home’s historic architecture. Photo – Anson Smart

Beautiful chandeliers run throughout the home. Photo – Anson Smart

The lounge room is complete with a cosy fire. Photo – Anson Smart

A look into the spectacular kitchen. Photo – Anson Smart

Velvet drapes and marble details enhance the home’s luxury feel. Photo – Anson Smart

The sculptural island bench. Photo – Anson Smart

A classic study overlooking the water. Photo – Anson Smart

A Murano chandelier hangs above the staircase. Photo – Anson Smart

The first and second floors were left untouched. Photo – Anson Smart

The main bedroom. Photo – Anson Smart

The light and bright luxe bathroom. Photo – Anson Smart

Photo – Anson Smart

The INCREDIBLE view from the bathtub! Photo – Anson Smart

Perfection! Photo – Anson Smart

The daughter of an antiques dealer and an avid collector herself, Tamsin always had a soft spot for historic design. Photo – Anson Smart

Vintage details in the bathroom. Photo – Anson Smart

Eclectic furniture completes the family abode. Photo – Anson Smart

The special sunroom! Photo – Anson Smart

‘I wanted a mature home with lived-in warmth and richness, with a lot of detail in the floors and finishes,’ says Tamsin. Photo – Anson Smart

‘The vision was to not rebuild or re-characterise it, but instead to intensify its existing charm,’ says Tamsin. Photo – Anson Smart

Christina Karras
Tuesday 26th July 2022

Interior designer Tamsin Johnson, her husband Patrick, and two children were living Tamarama during the pandemic when they decided to leave their beachy suburb in favour of a new project.

The daughter of an antiques dealer and an avid collector herself, Tamsin always had a soft spot for historic design. So when the Johnsons came across a charming, but rundown, property in Darling Point, they knew it had potential to become their dream home. The property was originally built by a British army colonel, with several rooms remodelled in the 1970s.

‘Our house is a real treasure,’ Tamsin says. ‘It was substantially characterful in its original architectural conception, so the vision was to not rebuild or re-characterise it, but instead to intensify its existing charm.’

‘I wanted a mature home with lived-in warmth and richness, with a lot of detail in the floors and finishes.’

The resulting Palazzo House is an ‘exercise in enrichment and rehabilitation.’ Some rooms were left untouched with their original walls and floors, while most others were re-floored, repainted and resurfaced. Tamsin ensured the home’s timber details were kept intact and original leadlight windows were painstakingly restored, piece by piece!

‘The biggest change to the substrate of the building was the undercroft,’ Tamsin says. She expanded this level into a rumpus, sauna room, bathroom and a smaller sitting room looking over the pool and bay. ‘To the exterior, I added some sympathetic iron works and railings, and reestablished the stonemasonry where it was needed.’

The new kitchen is particularly striking, featuring a sculptural island bench carved from Bianco Gioia stone. ‘I love the harmonies in all the masonry and the plaster walls,’ Tamsin adds. The interiors were also designed to be the perfect backdrop for the couple’s collection of antique and eclectic furniture.

‘The result I think is something very homely,’ Tamsin notes. ‘It is real, detailed, deeply textured and nuanced, and very much a reflection of who we are as a family.’

This Week

Interiors

How This First-Time Renovator Transformed Her Pint-Sized Melbourne Apartment

A tiny renovation (34 square metres, to be precise) – that packs a big punch!

News

Local Chef Ella Mittas' First Cookbook Brings Us A Taste Of The Mediterranean

The Greek-Australian chef shares her most delicious recipes and personal essays in Ela! Ela! – To Turkey and Greece, Then Home.
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

Inside Elena Strohfelft's Beautifully Therapeutic Ceramics Practice

How the self taught artist started making ceramics as a way to work through a painful trauma, channeling it into whimsical and organic vesse...
Christina Karras
  2 hours ago

Father's Day Favourites

Find The Perfect Book For Dad With 20% Off From Hardie Grant Publishing!

From the best barbecuing recipes to epic travel inspiration, you'll find the perfect book for dad in our edit of Hardie Grant Publishing's f...
Christina Karras
  18 hours ago

Father's Day Favourites

Shop Luxurious Outdoor Essentials For Dad With 20% Off The Grampians Goods Co.

This one is for the dads who love camping, picnics, and a hot cocoa by the fire! We've got 20% off The Grampian Goods Co.!
Christina Karras

Homes

A Historic Melbourne Apartment With Artful, Lived-In Interiors

Interior designer Leigh Ellwood invites us inside her 1930s Beverley Hills apartment in South Yarra.

Stays

A Serene Architectural Getaway Overlooking Vineyards In Central Victoria

Barfold Estate's new boutique accommodation is the best kept secret in the Heathcote / Kyneton region – for now!

On The Market

For Sale: An Ultimate Sydney Dream Home, With Waterfront Views

This new Balmain family home has it all - a resort-style backyard, swimming pool, gym, steam room, home theatre, and it's for sale!
Christina Karras

Father's Day Favourites

Announcing The Design Files Father's Day Favourites 2022!

Find the best gifts for dad and score special deals with our Father's Day Favourites online shopping event!

News

Shop Dreamy Pastel Landscapes In Collection III From ‘Palette by Jono Fleming’

Introducing interior stylist Jono Fleming’s third art collaboration with Sicilian-Australian artist Chanel Sohier.
Christina Karras

Father's Day Favourites

Give Dad A Dose Of (Stylish) Wanderlust With Bespoke Luggage From July!

Gift dad bespoke luggage from our favourite travel brand July and receive a complimentary personalised luggage tag worth $85!

At Home With Sheridan

The Minimalist Inner-City Sanctuary Of Skincare Guru James Vivian + Ben Esakoff

A Prahran Edwardian cottage meets a minimalist architectural addition, with exposed materials, an impressive art collection, and textured Sh...

Interiors

A Majestic Garden House That Transcends Aesthetics

The landscape is the mesmerising star of the show in Garden House by Arent&Pyke and Polly Harbison Design.

News

Nicole Lawrence Studio And Curio Practice Pop Up In Sydney

The two rising design stars open the doors to their week-long shop and showroom in Paddington.

Shopping

Kip&Co Team Up With Robert Gordon For A Fun-Filled Ceramic Range

The loveable local brands have created a new playful ceramics collection, bringing prints and colour to range of hand-crafted vases!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Interiors

A Quality Over Quantity Childhood Home Makeover

A renovation of a client's childhood home that champions custom joinery by Amanda Barnett Design.

Sustainable Homes

Architects Team Up To Ditch Gas In Australian Homes

Leading Australian architects are pushing for all-electric homes. Here's everything you need to know to ditch gas for good.

Stays

Relax In A Hilltop Cabin Overlooking The Blue Mountains

Hilltop Cabin is a cosy new accomodation offering from Logan Brae Retreats, with incredible views across the Blue Mountains.

This Week

Interiors

How This First-Time Renovator Transformed Her Pint-Sized Melbourne Apartment

A tiny renovation (34 square metres, to be precise) – that packs a big punch!

On The Market

For Sale: An Ultimate Sydney Dream Home, With Waterfront Views

This new Balmain family home has it all - a resort-style backyard, swimming pool, gym, steam room, home theatre, and it's for sale!
Christina Karras

Father's Day Favourites

Give Dad A Dose Of (Stylish) Wanderlust With Bespoke Luggage From July!

Gift dad bespoke luggage from our favourite travel brand July and receive a complimentary personalised luggage tag worth $85!

Studio Visit

Inside Elena Strohfelft's Beautifully Therapeutic Ceramics Practice

How the self taught artist started making ceramics as a way to work through a painful trauma, channeling it into whimsical and organic vesse...
Christina Karras
  2 hours ago

Interiors

A Majestic Garden House That Transcends Aesthetics

The landscape is the mesmerising star of the show in Garden House by Arent&Pyke and Polly Harbison Design.

Father's Day Favourites

Find The Perfect Book For Dad With 20% Off From Hardie Grant Publishing!

From the best barbecuing recipes to epic travel inspiration, you'll find the perfect book for dad in our edit of Hardie Grant Publishing's f...
Christina Karras
  18 hours ago

Homes

A Historic Melbourne Apartment With Artful, Lived-In Interiors

Interior designer Leigh Ellwood invites us inside her 1930s Beverley Hills apartment in South Yarra.

News

Shop Dreamy Pastel Landscapes In Collection III From ‘Palette by Jono Fleming’

Introducing interior stylist Jono Fleming’s third art collaboration with Sicilian-Australian artist Chanel Sohier.
Christina Karras

Father's Day Favourites

Announcing The Design Files Father's Day Favourites 2022!

Find the best gifts for dad and score special deals with our Father's Day Favourites online shopping event!

At Home With Sheridan

The Minimalist Inner-City Sanctuary Of Skincare Guru James Vivian + Ben Esakoff

A Prahran Edwardian cottage meets a minimalist architectural addition, with exposed materials, an impressive art collection, and textured Sh...

News

Nicole Lawrence Studio And Curio Practice Pop Up In Sydney

The two rising design stars open the doors to their week-long shop and showroom in Paddington.

Stays

A Serene Architectural Getaway Overlooking Vineyards In Central Victoria

Barfold Estate's new boutique accommodation is the best kept secret in the Heathcote / Kyneton region – for now!

News

Local Chef Ella Mittas' First Cookbook Brings Us A Taste Of The Mediterranean

The Greek-Australian chef shares her most delicious recipes and personal essays in Ela! Ela! – To Turkey and Greece, Then Home.
Christina Karras

Father's Day Favourites

Shop Luxurious Outdoor Essentials For Dad With 20% Off The Grampians Goods Co.

This one is for the dads who love camping, picnics, and a hot cocoa by the fire! We've got 20% off The Grampian Goods Co.!
Christina Karras

Shopping

Kip&Co Team Up With Robert Gordon For A Fun-Filled Ceramic Range

The loveable local brands have created a new playful ceramics collection, bringing prints and colour to range of hand-crafted vases!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Interiors

A Quality Over Quantity Childhood Home Makeover

An inspired overhaul of a client's childhood home by Amanda Barnett Design.

Sustainable Homes

Architects Team Up To Ditch Gas In Australian Homes

Leading Australian architects are pushing for all-electric homes. Here's everything you need to know to ditch gas for good.

Stays

Relax In A Hilltop Cabin Overlooking The Blue Mountains

Hilltop Cabin is a cosy new accomodation offering from Logan Brae Retreats, with incredible views across the Blue Mountains.

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