As the owners of a building and interior design company, Deniz and Gamze pride themselves on creating beautiful, contemporary spaces to enhance the living experience. Case in point is this four-bedroom duplex home that they built for their young family in Sydney’s Little Bay. Minimalist in design and filled with family-friendly features, it enjoys a constant connection with nature, no matter which room you find yourself in.
“Being in such a beautiful part of Sydney and having a wonderful ocean outlook, we wanted to create a minimalist home that didn’t take away from the landscape,” says Gamze. “We believe that a built space, when designed well, can have a transformative effect on your mood.”
She and Deniz live in one duplex with children, Charlie, six, Thomas, three, and Audrey, now eight months, plus pet pug Oscar, and rent out the mirror-image house next door. Inspired by brutalist architecture, both duplexes boast rendered cement facades, hard-wearing surfaces, high ceilings and a neutral palette. “We love concrete, and with a young family, having a robust concrete floor was important, especially in the living areas,” says Gamze. “Upstairs, oak floors add softness and warmth.”
Who lives here? Gamze and Deniz, who own building and design company Built Lifestyles; their children Charlie, six, Thomas, three, and Audrey, eight months; and Oscar the pug.
Top home inclusion? Deniz: “The Hebel substrate PowerFloor under the engineered oak floors. It feels solid to walk on and was cost-effective.”
Favourite thing to buy? Gamze: “I adore ceramics, especially by Katarina Wells. I love a mix of organic and unrefined shapes and textures.”
What do you love about where you live? “It is a beautiful little peninsula with views of Kamay Botany Bay National Park and the Pacific Ocean. We feel so fortunate to be within walking distance of beaches, golf courses and the National Park.”
Conscious of the space limitations that come with duplex builds, the couple opted to forego a fifth bedroom upstairs to maximise the ceiling heights in the living and dining. Strategically placed windows – from highlight windows in the living area to a skylight in the bathroom, and floor-to-ceiling glazing spanning the width of the master bedroom – help to capture sunlight and provide perpetual views to the outdoors. “Catching glimpses of the sky and garden fills me with a sense of inspiration and motivation for the day ahead,” says Gamze.
Furniture pieces have been kept classic and minimal, with marble and charred timber accents, sheer curtains and woven rugs bringing layers of texture. In combination with the fresh white walls, these selections act as a subtle backdrop for the family’s cherished artworks.
“Art is so important in inspiring us and adding dimension to a space, and we feel fortunate to have invested in these beautiful pieces,” says Gamze, who, as an interior stylist, has the pleasure of selecting artworks for clients on a daily basis. “I love so many artists and styles, but art is subjective and I need to feel an immediate connection with an artwork.”
So where is all the kid-related clutter, you ask? Well, the house has just the right amount of storage, so most things have a home. “This makes it easy to maintain, and a more relaxing, enjoyable space to live in,” says Gamze. In addition, while the kids are little, the downstairs bedroom is used as a playroom. “They are always in earshot and have their own space. We close the door if the toys are out of control!”
Gamze’s kitchen is packed with useful features. Think soft-close hinges in the kitchen cabinets, a durable, low-maintenance Caesarstone benchtop and a family-sized Westinghouse oven and cooktop. Her favourites? “The Schweigen silent undermount rangehood and the Franke wide single-bowl sink – it’s so easy to wash up large oven trays and other big items,” she says. Visit thegoodguys.com.au.
“My inspiration here was for a moody, darker-toned bedroom,” says Gamze of the main bedroom. At night, a Muuto ‘Grain’ pendant light from Surrounding casts a warm glow over Globe West bedsides.The window is lined with sheer curtains from Millenium Blinds and looks out to a raised roof garden that runs along the facade of both duplexes. “We planted hundreds of different succulents, which require minimal maintenance,” says Gamze. “The area invites different creatures, from frogs to beetles, snails to birds, and the kids love sitting in our room and engaging with the garden.”
There’s plenty of room outside, too. A covered entertaining area flows from the living and dining zones and is complete with outdoor kitchen and pizza oven. The adjoining grassed area is big enough for the kids and dog to play, with room for a trampoline and a herb and vegie garden. “Our garden is the perfect size right now,” admits Gamze. “With three small kids and running a business, we couldn’t manage a larger garden.”
Best of all, the young family renting next door are super-friendly and have become good friends.
Interior design: Gamze Erkoru, Built Lifestyles, builtlifestyles.com.au.
Architect: Martin Bednarczyk, Archispectrum, (02) 8399 2807, archispectrum.com.au.
Builder: Deniz Huseyin, Built Lifestyles, builtlifestyles.com.au.
Kitchen/Joinery: INZ Kitchens, (02) 9607 5511, http://www.inzkitchens.com.au/.
Landscaping: DRH Landscapes, (02) 4647 8351, drhlandscapes.com.au.
Tiler: Thynk Group, (02) 4028 6311, thynkgroup.com.au.