Project Sheet: Sanctuary Above the Trees


The Apparatus Cloud light fitting is suspended like a designer bunch of balloons above the living room, where Allen Jones’ ‘Moonee Beach’ hangs above the Minotti Seymour couches. To the left are the ‘Snow Gums (juvenile) 1 to 3’ tapestries by Shunyam Smith. Cesar side table next to far couch also by Minotti.

TREETOP HOUSE IN Sydney’s Rozelle is a childhood imagination translated into something of adult appreciation. The skyward sanctuary’s architectural envelope provides the perfect backdrop for a contemporary interior that contributes to a sense of fluidity.

The contemporary form of this penthouse took shape as the result of a partnership with architecture firm Arent&Pyke. The use of minimal joinery and a clean palette surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass windows allow the outside to be mirrored in nearly every room, with the interior serving as a quiet oasis.

“[The brief was to lay the foundations for] a contemporary start to a new chapter in their lives; a place to relax, entertain and, increasingly, to work from home,” explains Genevieve Hromas, senior designer at Arent&Pyke.

The home serves as a celebratory headquarters for the clients’ new lease on life; one that supports coming together as a family and the expression of the clients’ imagination. Necessarily, it integrates the clients’ gregarious personalities into its various spaces and design features.

Naturally, the kitchen and dining room serves as a meeting place. The loveseat beside the kitchen island – chosen for ease rather than functionality – nurtures compelling conversation.

Even with the bright pops of colour that have been incorporated into the furnishing scheme, the clients’ extensive collection of art remains a stand-out feature. The pre-existing, predominately Australian collection laid the foundations for the clients’ subsequent exploration of Korean art.

“We often guide our clients to galleries and specific artists that we feel they would respond to, but in this case, they had [already] fostered relationships with galleries in Korea,” says Genevieve.

A passion that was built on a humble interest and fostered by personal connection created the perfect formula for the insertion of personality into the space.

“It was an exercise of moving pieces [around] the house to find the right combination. The odd ones out all ended up in the study, which became a lovely tapestry of their years of collecting,” explains Genevieve.

A strong focus on the clients’ patronage allows for the juxtaposition between Australian and Korean art to come to life. This is reflected in the composition of the house, the soft pink drapes adding warmth to the kitchen with its more industrial stone island bench – a coming together of the contemporary and the delicate.

This combination is also evident in the artwork Seed Portrait 14 by Ilhwa Kim, the product of an intense labouring practice that relies on fluid freeform to create an image that celebrates the mathematical complexity of nature.

Although the majority of furniture within the light-drenched home has been newly sourced, a few pre-existing pieces remain. This gave Arent&Pyke the scope and parameters to challenge the clients’ established expectations. The insertion of rich chocolate and caramel tones, for instance, have been accompanied by shades of pink and blue to create tonal contrasts that are, on the whole, cohesive.

“You do need to be realistic about wall space to ensure a piece will fit, but you need to be led by what [resonates] with you,” says Genevieve – although this resonance will naturally grow and evolve with exposure to new ideas. “With this in mind, do your research and get to know your visual and intellectual bent then grow from there.”

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