Marco Meneguzzi is more than familiar with this particular Sydney property that, perched on a rock hundreds of metres above street level, overlooks the city’s iconic harbour. The designer has now been involved with this home’s decoration and design not once, but twice, and for two very different sets of owners.
‘It was a compliment to be asked by the present owners to work on a redesign of the house,’ he says. ‘This was based solely on the fact that they liked what I had created for the former occupants. It was a case of keeping those design aesthetics in mind, but personalising the home to suit the new owners’ tastes and needs.’
The first task was to reconfigure the layout, and Marco worked closely with architect Michael Suttor on the project. ‘The house consisted of five bedrooms, which didn’t really work for the present owners,’ says Marco. ‘We decided to take it to three, which then meant we were able to increase the floor space of the master bedroom and incorporate an en suite bathroom and dressing room.’ With grandchildren an important consideration, the owners were also keen to add a purpose-built nursery as well as a guest suite. Finally, a state-of-the-art gymnasium and an internal lift were installed into the impressive new footprint.
When it came to the decor, Marco explains, ‘I wanted to give the house a comfortable and relaxed feel inside and out. I introduced lots of textures, such as the grass cloth wallcovering that lines the hallway and the Belgian linen used on the walls in the bedroom and study. The intricate wall mouldings were also installed to add interest.’
Chocolate-brown herringbone parquet floors and off-white walls form the perfect neutral backdrop for a collection of classic furniture, many of which were custom-designed by Marco to complement the owner’s antique pieces, such as the exquisite gate-leg occasional table that sits in the hall. A custom-made dining table with a parquetry inlaid top was made by a master craftsman to Marco’s careful design and teamed with a set of dining chairs upholstered in an elegant Venetian damask.
‘The owners love to entertain, so the kitchen is a very important area – we actually equipped it with two of everything!’ explains Marco. The generous island was finished with dramatic Calacatta marble that was used extensively throughout the space. Three treasured Hundi lanterns bought on holiday in South Africa hang overhead, while a butler’s pantry extends the work area and creates essential storage space. Fresh blue and white patterned fabrics give the soft furnishings a crisp, contemporary look and have been used both inside and outside on the terrace – a favourite area for entertaining and relaxing.
A central courtyard framed with French doors links the home’s many areas and allows natural light to flood into the interiors. Landscape designer Annie Wilkes was responsible for the garden and added a distinctly European feel with oversized planters in dusty green, as well as olive trees and sculptural succulents. A water feature made from a French urn is a soothing focal point.
Marco admits this has been a very enjoyable and special project for him and one that he hopes will continue as the home – and its owners – naturally evolve over time.