Cool and casual spring to mind for Alexander & Co’s latest project – Harbord Hotel – exploring a surf shack come living room style that looks to the past to celebrate all things bricks and mortar, blue-collar, sandy feet and local hospitality.
Completely gutted, the existing 1950’s pre-war arched pavilion has been transformed into a destination bar and restaurant that evokes a sense of nostalgia without feeling excessively thematic. Think curved bulkheads, faded palettes and cool simplicity that speaks to the unique surf culture of the Northern Beaches.
The styling is tactile, textured and unpretentious. The team sought to reveal elements of the building’s past while introducing its new “effortlessly cool”, low fi persona. Art Deco archways, curves and the original masonry façade blend with a new architectural language that consequently opens up the space. Custom retro-inspired furniture and lighting, mustard terrazzo and spotted gum timbers maintain a sense of the found and familiar.
By drawing influence from Freshwater’s rich working-class history and Australian surf culture the faded palette of seafoam greens, periwinkle pinks, gunmetal greys and brass all make a strong case for erstwhile old school charm.
The new restaurant Balsa is a homage to the art deco venue genesis. Exposed spotted gum ceilings, green marble and stone flagged floors illuminated under amber lighting all attribute to its surf shack elegance.
The best seat in the house can be found in the front bar, overlooking the beer garden below. Celebrated original archways, ceramic wall lights and cork and concrete tables instil this multifunctional space with a relaxed living room aesthetic.
Working with a small team of highly skilled northern beaches contractors, the Harbord Hotel is built by locals for locals to capture the true essence of the Freshwater community. Even the owners have gifted their personal collection of vintage surfboards and retro surf magazines to add a personal authenticity to the interior.
A place to drop your board and stay for the rest of the day Alexander & Co have reignited The Harbord Hotels former flame, making it once again a spirited, central meeting place to enrich the neighbourhood.