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A seafront Sydney apartment that steers clear of beachy cliches

An expat family snap up a rare seafront offering in Sydney and make it their own with a contemporary renovation.

Beach babies from way back, Nicole and her husband Evan were on the lookout “for the dream family property in Sydney”, says Nicole, who runs a sport-management firm. She and Evan, CEO of an investment management company, moved to Singapore for work in 2005 but never stopped scanning the property scene back home.

Nicole’s favourite part of the renovation is this open-plan space, where caramel tones in the Havwoods ‘Pallido’ herringbone oak floor find resonance in a ‘Hayman II’ sofa, custom-designed by Your Beautiful Home and upholstered in Mokum ‘Sahel’ fabric in Rose Gold. “We have afternoon naps here, feet up and facing out to the ocean,” says Nicole. Sheer curtains from Marlow & Finch increase privacy and “really soften the space,” she says. A ‘Summerhouse’ throw from Berry Jam Sweet Living and David Jones ‘Coastal’ teapot atop a ‘Pod’ ottoman in a Catherine Martin fabric, designed by Your Beautiful Home, enhance an inviting scene.

Their dedication reaped dividends when a rare find came their way – two three-bedroom apartments had been merged to form a seafront home on Sydney’s northern beaches.

An expanse of cabinetry and undulating splashback evokes the seaside setting of the six-bedroom home of Nicole, Evan and their daughter Charlotte. The choice of Taubmans November Rains, paired with Natucer ‘Piastrella’ splashback tiles from Academy Tiles, was deliberate, as the aim was for a palette “neither bland nor over the top”, according to Nicole. The island is topped with a Calacatta Luxe slab and Charlotte sits on a ‘Tractor’ bar stool from Uniqwa Collections.

“As we said at the time, it was good as it was – but with the right renovation it would be amazing!” says Nicole.

Nicole uses part of the bespoke entertainment cabinet (above, painted in Taubmans November Rains half-strength) as a home office-cum-storage area.

Meeting with design agency Your Beautiful Home, the pair laid out their plan for “an open, light and modern” abode that would radiate relaxation but would never descend into beach kitsch.

A’Balmoral’American oak table from Loughlin Furniture was one of Nicole’s renovation “non-negotiables” and is surrounded by ‘Rosie’ dining chairs in Soot from Globe West. She included “a chair by the window” in her brief, and sipping tea or reading in the Home Republic ‘Copenhagen’ armchair from Adairs is a delight.

The revamp kicked off in 2019, with Nicole and Evan checking off design decisions from Singapore.

A feature wall in Taubmans Catalina Green in the foyer sets the tone for the whole home – and tells a story about its owners. “Having lived in Asia for 15 years, we are a shoe-free family,” says Nicole. Her dream of a dedicated space for removing and storing shoes was brought to life by Your Beautiful Life and Luxe Joinery. The round Artifex mirror was another of Nicole’s must-haves in the renovation. “I absolutely love it!” she says.

“Their number one request was for the home not to be boring!” says Anna Williams from Your Beautiful Home. “They wanted a sense of ‘wow’ when it was all done.”

“Evan and I wanted something with a relaxed, adult feel,” says Nicole of their classy yet understated bedroom. Subtle jute grasscloth wallpaper from Style Revolutionary creates a tactile backdrop for a bedhead from Forty Winks which continues the home’s cool-colour palette, with Signature Floors ‘Florian’ carpet from Tom Flew. “We love the wallpaper and thought it was a great way to add character without going over the top,” says Nicole. The wire pendants from Urban Lighting remind her and Evan of a traditional Asian fishing basket, and the ‘Avenue’ throw is from No Chintz.

That accomplished, the sea breezes now carry the sweet scent of forever – even though, for now, the family’s primary residence remains in Singapore.

An elegant navy scheme defines the couple’s bathroom, with darkly dramatic Inax ‘Biyusai’ feature tiles from Artedomus and denim terrazzo floor tiles from Signorino Tiles. “We wanted the master space to be almost like a hotel bathroom, where you walk in and go, ‘Wow!'” says Nicole. “The blue floor tiles make it feel kind of like you’re walking on the ocean. We wanted that connection.”‘Calo’ towels in Antique Pink from Country Road and a vanity made of Polytec ‘Prime Oak’ woodmatt introduce warmth into the zone. “We didn’t want it to be safe,” explains Nicole. “We wanted it to be different.”

“We see this as our long-term home for many years to come,” says Nicole.

Formerly Nicole’s office, this space fills multiple functions. “We wanted an area for Charlotte to be able to hang out with her friends,” says Nicole, who also uses it as her own relaxing retreat. A custom day bed from House Of Orange turns the media room into an extra guest room if required. “When you take all the cushions off, it’s another bed,” says Nicole of the L-shaped banquet seating, which is upholstered in Mokum ‘Infinite’ fabric in Petrol and adorned with scatter cushions from Escape To Paradise. Grasscloth wallpaper in Harbour from Porter’s Paints is a cohesive touch, while a custom sign from Neon Collective is a reminder of what really matters.

“I love the openness of the living and dining area, which allows us to entertain family and friends.” ~ Nicole, Homeowner.

Starring an ombre-effect wall that was Charlotte’s idea, her bedroom is simultaneously serene and uplifting. An ‘Ocean Grove’ bed and bedhead from Snooze contrasts with ‘Claude’ wallpaper in Ombre Teal from Emily Ziz, while Rebecca Judd Loves linen from Adairs softens the scheme.

A ‘Mara’ velvet lounge chair from Matt Blatt is a versatile addition, and a vivid artwork from Adairs draws the eye. All in all, “Charlotte had a lot of input”, remarks her mum.

“Nicole and Evan’s vision was for a carefully planned apartment with a surprising use of colour.” ~ Selena Mohr, Interior designer, Your Beautiful Home

“Sometimes I think her space is better than ours – it’s amazing!” marvels Nicole. Her daughter’s gorgeous bathroom features Inax ‘Arcaico Border’ tiles in a summer-lovin’ aqua shade from Artedomus and marble-look wall and floor tiles from Tiles By Kate. “We wanted to continue the colour theme through the house,” says Nicole, adding that there’s also plenty of storage here for Charlotte. “In Singapore, there’s not a lot of storage, and we really missed that, so that was a big part of the design brief.”

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