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An interior designer’s six-year dream home renovation

A mid-century bachelor pad in Sydney is turned into a dream family home.
Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch

The owner of this relaxed family home, interior designer Nikki, has a confession. “There’s one piece of coral on our credenza,” she says when asked if the home’s coastal location on Sydney’s Northern Beaches has influenced her styling decisions. “It doesn’t portray a coastal aesthetic, but the light, bright spaces, smoked oak floors and palm trees do give a subtle beach vibe.”

Artek ‘A440’ pendant lights hang above an island bench surrounded by ‘Revolver’ bar stools from Hay (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)

Who lives here? Nikki, an interior designer; her husband Scott, who works in the commercial fit-out industry; their children Luca, 10, and Nico, three; and Indi the lilac Boston terrier.

What is coastal living for you? Nikki: “Fresh ocean air, coffee and brunch at the beach.” What was your biggest splurge? “The spa was a financial sticking point. We have no regrets now, as it actually gets used a lot more than the pool itself.”

Any renovation lessons learnt? “Whatever your budget, double it and allow for a decent contingency fund.”

Nikki’s kitchen is as effective as it is visually enchanting. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)

“When it came to creating my own kitchen, I was like a kid in a candy shop,”

Nikki, homeowner

Tucked away in a cul-de-sac, this Mid-Century house is home to Nikki, her husband Scott, their daughter Luca, 10, and son Nico, three. Born and bred in New Zealand, the couple moved to Australia to a beachside unit in the same suburb as their current house, with nothing but a “passion and knowledge of joinery and interiors – and our Kiwi accents”, says Nikki. Within two years, they started craving more space, a garden and a “sunny deck to chill out on”, and found this abode with its Mid-Century facade and asymmetric roof line.

‘Revolver’ powder-coated bar stools from Hay offer practical kitchen seating. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)

“Upon stepping inside, a pretty nasty paint job had been carried out by the previous owner, who was a bachelor with an eye for bold ’90s colours. The walls ranged from a deep aubergine to electric blue, then on to a mix of turquoise, violet and apricot.” Ignoring the questionable palette and dated floor plan, she focused on visualising the home’s expansive potential. Six years of renovations, a reconfiguration and a new second storey later, and her dream vision has finally been realised – a modern, functional home comprised of family friendly spaces where she and Scott can entertain and appreciate the sunny western aspect of their alfresco areas.

The considered layout in the kitchen creates a natural flow around the luxurious island bench crafted from a 60mm Calacatta Statuario marble slab and a Scandinavian Profile base in Dulux Mt Aspiring. These pared back elements work perfectly against the dark integrated wall cabinetry. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)

“Flipping the layout front-to-back and squaring off the house with a small extension was paramount to achieving a true entertainer’s kitchen and living area which flows out to the deck and rear garden,”

Nikki, homeowner.
The entry’s bespoke bench seat was made by Intermain and designed by NXN Interiors, who also designed the steel balustrade rail for the oak stairs. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)
Vitra ‘Akari’ lights (from left) 21A, 23A and 55A (try Arrival Hall) in the stairwell. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)

“The pool and landscaping was completed a couple of years later, and being able to see the kids in the pool from the kitchen bench is something I couldn’t imagine any other way.” Another integral part of the renovation, the set-back second storey, was added when Nikki fell pregnant with Nico. She and Scott played with the idea of a contrasting, modern addition but decided to imitate the original architecture and reflect the house’s Mid-Century heritage, even though the contemporary interiors tell a different story.

Chic and inviting, the dining area is the gateway between the living and alfresco areas when four stacker doors are opened. The Vitra ‘EM’ dining table and ‘Standard SP’ chairs reflect the home’s black and timber theme. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)

From the kitchen to the bedrooms, each space here channels the design ethos Nikki abides by at her own interior design consultancy, NXN Interiors – “clean, minimal design with a refined palette and visual contrast”. And, perhaps, a tiny little bit of coastal decor, too.

Living area 

In the living area, a Vitra ‘Akari’ 10A lamp on the console and a pair of ‘Zara’ Carrara marble coffee tables from Life Interiors. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)

“This Vitra sofa by Jasper Morrison fits all of the family – plus extras,” says Nikki of the living area. “We ran the Smoked Oak flooring from Royal Oak Floors horizontally so that when the doors are open, there is a relatively seamless transition and continuity of lines.” The interior walls are in Dulux White Exchange Quarter, while bespoke joinery in American oak veneer from Briggs and an ‘Atlas’ rug by Armadillo complete the look.

“The white walls were chosen to bounce the abundance of natural light around the internal architecture,”

Nikki, homeowner

Main bedroom & ensuite

The Vitra ‘Cité’ armchair invites you to retreat into this relaxing space. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)

Spanning more than five metres, Nikki and Scott’s bedroom has a wall-to-wall oak timber bedhead by Intermain in American oak veneer from Briggs to create visual cohesion. “The bedhead houses electrical components to power the (Örsjö Belysning ‘Lean’) bedside lamps, USB chargers in the bedside tables and a recessed LED light along the top,” says Nikki.

Above it are ‘Bottom Up’ honeycomb blinds by Veneta. ‘Defined Charm’ wool carpet in Light Clay adds softness. The Vitra ‘Cité’ armchair is from Living Edge. A large adjoining walk-in wardrobe features Polytec joinery in Natural Oak with black steel, custom made by Intermain.

Everything is on display and easy to find in this modern wardrobe. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)

An abundance of overhead and below bench storage is a hallmark of the ensuite, finished in American oak veneer by Briggs. ‘Gesso’ wall tiles by Perini in Matt White are paired with ‘Hobart’ concrete-look floor tiles from Tile Cloud.

Mustard-hued bath linen bring an earthy feel into this sleek ensuite. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)

Deck & pool 

Nikki sums up the aesthetics of the home’s outdoor areas as “tropical, Mid-Century, staycation vibes”, thanks in part to the verdant palm trees, breeze blocks and bold Strelitzia nicolai palms in planter boxes rendered in Dulux Monument. “The pool and spa are finished in a light, neutral mosaic which makes the water a beautiful minty blue,” she adds.

Summer is a dream in this Mid-Century outdoor pool area. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)

Paying tribute to the house’s heritage, Nikki (pictured with daughter Luca and Indi the Lilac Boston Terrier) included a feature wall of crisp white breeze blocks on the deck, behind which is a burgeoning vegetable garden. On a balmy evening, it’s time to sink into the comfortable modular lounge by Osmen (now discontinued) before firing up the barbecue. The motorised external blind is from Shade Design.

Nikki, Luca and Indi enjoying their spacious outdoor haven. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)
Outdoor entertaining area deck and swimming pool
Velux skylights near the pool and spa. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)

Source book

Interior design: NXN Interiors, [email protected], @nxn_interiors, nxninteriors.com.
Builder: Brehar Building, breharbuilding.com.au.
Joiner: Intermain, (02) 9318 2272, intermain.com.au.
Pool: Focus Pools, 0417 668 556, @focuspools, focuspools.com.au.
Landscaping: Green Look, 0425 260 465, greenlook.com.au.

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