Holbrook Ave | Vellum Interiors | Sydney Interior Designer and Decorator
Photography by Pablo Veiga

Holbrook Ave

Our clients, a couple with grown up children, had recently downsized to this harbour side beauty when they contacted us. Moving from a much larger, older style home, the client’s main challenge was making their new, mid-century style home work for them, functionally and aesthetically, while also honouring the original architecture of the house. The house had an unusual layout, with rooms of varying proportions which also presented a challenge in making the house work for today’s lifestyle.

 

A key requirement was to bring in colour and personality, without it dominating the original features of the house. 

 

In the clients’ words “The lighting was dreary, cold and uninviting and the curtains and blinds tired and faded. The house had some wonderful features we wanted to retain but we had no idea how we could incorporate them into a home that worked for us.”

 

The starting point for the design was the existing architecture, and the surrounding area — the harbour and surrounding bushland. I also wanted the home to feel warm, welcoming and fun for large family gatherings and entertaining, which meant making the most of every space.

 

To achieve this, first of all, I created a colour palette incorporating blues, greens, lilacs and pinks that referenced the harbour side surrounds, and beautiful sunsets, with a nod to mid-century style colours. The clients also gave me photos of recent overseas trips of places that inspired them, and these contributed to the colour palette as well.

 

I then went about creating a furniture plan that made the best use of each space, functionally and aesthetically. The foyer was a particular challenge here, as the space is quite large but is also a thoroughfare. Here, I created various “zones” — one for a key/mail drop off, another for coats and shoes, and a central round table and pendant as the focal point.

 

In the living room, I designed custom joinery next to the existing fireplace, which served multiple purposes — a practical storage and display area, as well as filling in what was previously an empty void, and balancing out the unusual angles of the fireplace.

 

In the dining room — quite a narrow, small room — my idea was to make it feel as though you were in the captain’s hull of a ship. Custom wall panelling was installed, which references ceiling details in other parts of the house, a vintage oval table was selected, and a custom designed buffet added fun (and function!) to the room.

 

The result was a complete transformation in the spaces, especially in how they “feel”. Each space now has purpose and beauty and the clients are very happy living in a home that feels more like “them”!.

The foyer of a mid century house on Sydney's Lower North Shore designed and decorated by Alex Gourlay of Vellum Interiors The foyer of a mid century house on Sydney's Lower North Shore designed and decorated by Alex Gourlay of Vellum Interiors The foyer of a mid century house on Sydney's Lower North Shore designed and decorated by Alex Gourlay of Vellum Interiors The foyer of a mid century house on Sydney's Lower North Shore designed and decorated by Alex Gourlay of Vellum Interiors The foyer of a mid century house on Sydney's Lower North Shore designed and decorated by Alex Gourlay of Vellum Interiors The guest bedroom in a century house on Sydney's Lower North Shore with harbour views. Featuring items from Gubi, Jardan and Hermes The guest bedroom in a century house on Sydney's Lower North Shore with harbour views. Featuring items from Gubi, Jardan and Hermes Original mid-century staircase and lighting by George Nelson Original mid-century staircase and lighting by George Nelson Colourful armchair and rug in a mid century home on Sydney harbour. Interior design and decoration by Alex Gourlay of Vellum Interiors Living room overlooking Sydney harbour featuring Cloud pendant by Apparatus and custom joinery Living Room in Sydney with colourful rug, sheer blinds and cloud pendant light The foyer of a mid century house on Sydney's Lower North Shore designed and decorated by Alex Gourlay of Vellum Interiors

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"We moved into an original 1950’s three bedroom home that hadn’t been updated since 1974 and was in urgent need of help. We knew we had to quickly get rid of the ‘salmon’ pink but what to replace it with? The lighting was dreary, cold and uninviting and the curtains and blinds tired and faded. The house had some wonderful features we wanted to retain but we had no idea how we could incorporate them into a home that worked for us.

After seeing the work Alex had done for others we had confidence that she was the right person for our transformation. She redesigned and oversaw the decorating of our living and dining rooms, our entrance hall and bedrooms. This included paint work, lighting, window treatments and sourcing furniture.

Alex listened to our needs and ideas and created a space that was sympathetic to the style of the house and our lifestyle. She ‘oozed’ enthusiasm and creativity in a calm, relaxed and confident manner. The trades people Alex employed were all very respectful and courteous and thought highly of Alex and her work. She has sourced a great team of people to support her. Alex’s communication throughout the project was impeccable and she kept us well informed at all times.

We were very impressed with how smoothly the whole process went. We are so happy with the result that Alex has achieved. Our ‘mid-century’ house is now such a warm, inviting, light and fun home that feels just right!"

Pip & Andrew S.

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