Custom American oak kitchen table by The Wood Room with custom panelled leather banquette, Hoffman dining chairs.
Custom American oak kitchen table by The Wood Room with custom panelled leather banquette, Hoffman dining chairs, Wastberg light fittings and painting by Rick Amor.
Painted timber finish kitchen joinery with American oak timber shelf and Cortona quartz splashback.
Painting by Jonathan Richards.
View toward the kitchen with a reeded glass vestibule at the entry door.
View through white steel framed French doors toward the potted garden.
It’s such a treat to give you an exclusive look at the latest residential project by one of my favourite Australian interior designers, and all round excellent humans, Jonathan Richards of SJB. To top things off, this is Jonathan’s own pad, and we all know snooping around other designers’ home is just the best. These types of interiors are guaranteed to deliver plenty of inspiration, along with, let’s be honest here, a healthy dose of envy, bitterness and resentment. And let’s just say this place is a little bit alright, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
This elegant home is located in an 1880’s building in Sydney’s Darlinghurst, originally constructed as a two-level residence with an integrated horse stable on the ground floor. Over the years, the building evolved with many different uses and functions – it was once also a mechanic’s warehouse. Described by Jonathan as a “lovable mongrel”, the building now consists of three levels, with top two housing the lust-worthy home.
“This project was very much a collaboration with my wonderful wife, Olivia Beynon”, says Jonathan. The couple lives here with their two children, and their dog and cat. The duo fell in love with the unusual nature of the building, with hardly a right-angle in sight. “There are windows everywhere, and two internal courtyards. It’s a hybrid warehouse and terrace house, with steel factory windows on the ground floor and federation details on the upper floors. Strange and very charming!”
With an awkward triangular floor plan, the design intent was to unveil the charm of the original building and re-sculpt the interior to suit the family of four. “In an area like Darlinghurst, characterised by row terrace houses, this building started like no other and has continued over time to become even more unusual,” says Jonathan. “We saw enormous character in this history and wanted the new design to effortlessly settle in besides these old bones.”
The master suite looking toward the bedroom; steel framed reeded glass screening allows a transition of natural light while providing obscured privacy.
Master ensuite vanity; Elba marble vanity top, natural timber joinery, Flos Mini Glo-ball wall light and polished rendered walls.
Reeded glass shower screen with rendered walls, Vixel mosaic tiles and Agape Novecento Bathtub from Artedomus.
Side table by Studio Ilse, Aran bed by Adam Goodrum and Gras wall light from Spence & Lyda.
Jonathan Richards of SJB. What a legend.
Space was rationalised and the floor plan completely reworked. Original front entry opened straight into the living room, so a small glass vestibule was inserted to contain the arrival experience. Colour was used to create a sense of intimacy and provide separation between the spaces.
In lieu of a dining room, a new built-in banquette seat serves a family kitchen table – one of Jonathan’s favourite corners of the home. “It receives beautiful light in the morning and a lovely breeze with windows into the garden. It is a place for family and friends to get together, in the hub of the house. It suits us perfectly,” he says.
The garden terrace, located in the middle of the plan, is fundamental to the interior experience. The connection to the garden is now celebrated with framed outlooks through new French doors and new windows from the kitchen.
When asked about the most challenging aspect of designing his own home, Jonathan admits prioritising was the toughest part. “We make time for so many projects and prioritise everything but our own,” he says. “In the end, I just had to get the builders to start so that it forced decisions.”
With a building containing generations of changes to an already unusual typology – a triangular site, no square rooms, no window the same – the new design carefully adapts this home to suit the needs of its new owners. By stripping the original fabric, and adding new architectural elements to the project, it was deliberately kept a little unclear what is new, what is old and what, if anything, was original.
“Discovering the charm of this unique building and putting another layer to it, with the understanding that this layer is just another one in its ongoing history, is what excited us the most about this place,” concludes Jonathan.
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