Partners in style
A professional background in construction and interior design gave this innovative young couple the inside edge when they renovated a 1930s home in Sydney’s Bondi Beach.
The move from a modern, one-bedroom inner-city apartment to a three-bedroom Federation home in the Eastern Suburbs was certainly a big transition and a complete lifestyle change for Sergio and Jacqui. However, both of them say they were drawn to this property from the start.
Jacqui says they were inspired by the location and the potential for renovation down the track. “We’re in the construction industry so it’s automatically something we think of when looking at property,” she explains.
The husband-and-wife team are both directors of design and construction company Valmont, which Sergio and a friend founded fresh out of university. Needless to say, between the two of them this creative couple had all the know-how necessary to renovate and decorate their new home, transforming it into a bright, welcoming, fresh space that is as relaxed as it is sophisticated.
Jacqui has used her skills as an interior designer to create a home that is chic and contemporary with edgy design elements. Being so close to the beach, their house also has casual, coastal flavours, particularly in the rear of the home where the kitchen and dining area open onto the backyard.
And Jacqui achieved all this while still staying sympathetic to the Federation-style of the house and the many original features that were retained. The integration of styles and themes is effortlessly achieved and there’s nothing generic or standard about the space – their personalities shine through in every area of this smart home.
PUT TO WORK
Although the house was liveable when they bought it, Jacqui and Sergio did a major overhaul of the property to put their stamp on it and create the perfect space. “Before moving in, we ripped out the bathroom and refurbished it completely; repainted, added new light fittings, installed wallpaper, carpeted the bedrooms, painted the floorboards and painted the exterior,” Jacqui says.
The kitchen was pretty much new and the layout worked well so they did little to the existing installation. Over time the couple then ripped up the older tiles in the kitchen/dining/living space and fitted new bluestone tiles. They also completely landscaped the front and rear of the home, which included excavating to create split levels as well as adding a plunge pool/spa.
MAKE IT MINE
Built in the 1930s, Jacqui explains that the house is quite a typical semi in that it has a long entry hall with three bedrooms off to the left-hand side. This part of the house has 10-foot-high ceilings with original decorative cornices, skirtings and wide floorboards.
“In the entry hall, we wanted to create a more dramatic space that accentuated the high ceilings and set the tone of sophistication,” she explains. To do this they added a chair rail along the length of the hallway and painted the walls in midnight blue. Large pendant lights in the hallway create warmth and add to the visual wow factor. Jacqui and Sergio chose to paint the floorboards white to brighten up the area and to contrast with the dark walls.
The hallway opens up into the fabulous library and sitting area with its luxurious golden Florence Broadhurst wallpaper. From here the living and dining space with the galley kitchen flow out onto the back entertaining area through bi-fold doors.
“In creating this space it was about keeping the light, beachy feel through the use of finishes and furnishings. Most of the furniture we used in the living area is actually outdoor furniture, which really creates that ‘bringing the outdoors in’ kind of feel. Then it was really about making it a home by adding all those personal touches,” Jacqui says.
The layout and open flow of this house automatically lends itself to fabulous entertaining, something which Sergio and Jacqui do regularly with passion. “Our friends will vouch for some rather long and loud dinner parties we have hosted! We’ve had up to 12 people for dinner, and around 20 for cocktails,” Jacqui says. They love to cook, whether its drinks and barbecues in summer or cosy winter roasts in the cooler months.
“We haven’t had much of a chance to entertain in our new backyard because we finished it in autumn, but we predict there will be many spa parties at our house over the coming warm months!” she adds.
STORY SUNNY DE BRUYN
PHOTOGRAPHY TONY POTTER
STYLING KATHRYN BORGLUND