Architecture studio Polly Harbison Design and interior designers Arent&Pyke were tasked with transforming a Federation-style brick home into a contemporary garden retreat.
Located in Sydney‘s suburban Lindfield, the clients — art and garden enthusiasts — wanted the vast lawns on their lush property to be the star of the show. As such, the new addition to the garden home was centred around this treasured space, adorned with floor to ceiling windows that capture the green vistas.
For the clients and their three children, the kitchen is the most cherished room in the house. They were after a warm and functional space that flows into the contemporary addition, with modern fixtures that make family life simpler, such as the Wolf cooktop and oven, Miele dishwasher, and Fisher & Paykel fridge freezer.
The original Federation home was on a 150-metre-long block anchored by beautiful trees at the boundaries. The result is akin to a secret garden effect that unfolds throughout. The clients, Euan and Margo, wanted to enhance this with a peaceful architectural framework jewelled by rich colours and textures that reflect the flowers and foliage.
As such, the first architectural method employed by both Polly Harbison Design and Arent&Pyke was playing with scale, and continuously drawing the garden into the interiors. Each room physically gets bigger and bigger as you descend into the back, while the scale of the floor tiles increases in size towards the rear.
Another approach was to put the kitchen in the heart of the garden home to connect the old and the new, using both the original walls of the first house and the modern addition. “A comfortable relationship develops between the old part of the building and the new part; they’re all tied together,” Polly Harbison reflects.
The Santa Margherita Terrazzo tiles in Verde Alpi (Green) and For Di Pesco (Grey) are offset by warm Teak Quarter Cut Veneer, Dulux Nimrod Green cabinets and Dulux Water Rock paint. The wall paint offers a continuation from the concrete used throughout.
The clients can now enter either through the original front door or the new internal courtyard. This ‘secret’ passageway increases the secret garden impression and connects the kitchen to a large green wall. The creative external room and orientation of the kitchen capture northern and eastern light while facilitating cross ventilation.
While recycled brick matches the existing brickwork, the architects added a few new features that could be taken for original, such as the curved brickwork around the original windows and exposed sandstone footing – as seen from the new kitchen courtyard.
Concrete was also maximised throughout the garden home for two simple purposes; the first for its minimal aesthetic adding to the paired back design and the other was functional, for its ability to hide the folding doors out to the garden.
The architect designed timber screens that can be pulled over the new living spaces and bedroom as they face west, providing coverage from the sun.
From the finishes and fixtures to the tiles on the floor, the designers worked hard to connect the home back to the garden through a delightfully rich green palette. They tested 38 colours in the new living space — which artist and client Margo was happy to paint herself as they explored through art, scale and proportions.
Lindfield by Polly Harbison Design and Arent&Pyke reveals a harmony of aesthetic decisions – contemporary and antique, minimal and rich – by drawing on the garden’s importance in the family home.
Like the other rooms in the house, the bedroom is connected to the garden with bi-fold doors by Matt Baker Joinery that opens the bedroom completely to the romantic private garden planted by Euan. A vintage tapestry sourced by Juliette Arent and Sarah-Jane Pyke in Paris hangs over the bed.