When architect Kyra Thomas set out to transform a place for her family to live, she wasn’t looking for an ordinary challenge. Fortuitously, this led Kyra to an old warehouse in the middle of a suburban block in Sydney’s Queens Park, which she describes as a “total anomaly”. “We knew immediately that we could create something very special with the old warehouse. Great friends of ours had converted a shed nearby, and it inspired us to find and do something similar,” she says.
Working within the original red brick boundary walls, Kyra has maintained the essence and history of the original building while introducing a new home shaped around four garden courtyards. Finished just weeks before the first Sydney lockdown in 2020, Kyra and her husband moved into their new home with an eight-week-old baby and a toddler. “Having a curated completed home to settle into, quietly away from the world was an enormous blessing. We felt so safe, grounded, and settled,” she adds. We spoke with Kyra about the risks she took pulling off the project, what design decisions she’s most grateful for making, and why the indoor-outdoor spaces are fundamental to the overall experience.
“Substantial in structure but devoid of spirit” is how Alexander &CO. director Jeremy Bull personifies this ’90s clifftop home in Sydney’s East. Admitting the home “wasn’t saying very much” when they first visited the site, Jeremy and his team set out to tell a story that’s both personal and genuine – an exercise that underpins Alexander & CO.’s revered residential design approach.
Recognising its structural clarity and integrity, the Alexander &CO. team proposed a materially-rich evolution for the built form and its surroundings, drawing on the homeowner’s European “Story of Origin”, the dramatic coastal environment and the ebbs and flows of family life. And with this coalescence of place and influence, Jeremy happily admits, “The building is once again breathing and quite alive”.
At the end of a beech-lined driveway, two magnolia trees lean towards one another in a gentle gesture that frames the impressive Victorian heritage facade of a traditional homestead resurrected by Robson Rak. Named for the magnificence of its moment of arrival, Magnolia House sees the design studio bring contemporary design into accord with tradition.
Magnolia House’s immaculately restored facade acts as a sentinel for a time long passed, while inside, a striking transition has taken place. Passing through an arched entryway, the kaleidoscope of sunlight through stained glass, which becomes a secondary layer upon interiors of meticulous innovation, a new relevance has taken hold. Home today to a young family, the stately residence has come to embrace elegant modernity that wholly aligns with contemporary living patterns.
Like its vibrant surroundings, Potts Point is a home with a coalescence of rooms and creative leanings. With its crisp white facade, slate roof tiles and established palms, the 19th-century Victorian terrace alludes to the charm of Chateau Marmont mellowed by its distinctly urban pied-à-terre simplicity.
When designer Tamsin Johnson first went to see the site, the interventions required to bring this home once again into rhythm with contemporary living patterns quickly unfolded. “I wanted to reinstate the bones of what would have originally been there while not recreating the past,” she says of the “contemporary twist” that the home has embraced.
Constructed in 1856 in Melbourne’s historic Williamstown precinct, Park House has been reimagined by Melbourne-based firm Mim Design, carrying the architecturally-significant home into the present while respecting its legacy.
In collaboration with architectural firm Pleysier Perkins, Mim Design merge the character of the former with its robust contemporary. The interior design firm’s principal Mim Fanning says they ultimately set out to create a nuanced response to place. “We contrasted rugged materials and refined architectural gestures to offer subtle changes in the atmosphere of this unique space,” Mim says.