An existing double-storey apartment in Sydney’s eastern suburbs is given a dark and moody design treatment by long-term collaborators Lawless & Meyerson and MHNDU.

Lawless & Meyerson director Jo Lawless describes their design intent as ‘dramatic, but liveable’, in an apartment redesign for an international client relocating to Sydney with their two young girls. The brief called for a home that levelled up to the Sydney Harbour locale through exceptional quality and detail.

Taking the home on as a blank canvas, Lawless & Meyerson have carved out a refined interior palette that balances light and shade through metal lacquer, rich chocolate limestone and light grey timber. As Jo Lawless puts it, “light for the kids and dark for the adults”.

The clients wanted a similar colour palette to their previous all-black apartment, but with more balance and contrast with lighter tones. “The client likes black (and so do we), so we used a lot of it,” Jo explains. “The idea was to create a sexy and sophisticated interior that worked well on a sunny day with the light streaming through, and equally well at night looking out over the dark harbour and the twinkling lights.”

The five-bedroom apartment extends across two levels with 180-degree Sydney Harbour views. Downstairs houses four bedrooms, four bathrooms and a study, while the second storey features the living space, dining room and kitchen unfolding onto the terrace, alongside a powder room, guest bedroom and ensuite, laundry and separate family room for the children.

A standout feature, the Boffi CODE kitchen system is concealed behind a full-height black timber wall. “The clients wanted the kitchen to stand alone and didn’t want it to be visible from the lounge or the dining space,” Jo says. The island bench is clad entirely in Pietra Grey marble, including the drawer fronts and stone sink. Wolf appliances and Sub-Zero refrigeration is integrated within full-height cabinetry, in a lustrous lacquered-metal finish.

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The dining space features a black Dale Frank painting, Porro Voyage dining chairs, Emmemobili UFO table and the Roll & Hill 2 Globes pendant.

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The Minotti Alexander sofa and Christophe Delcourt Hug armchairs in the upstairs living space.

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Both levels are connected via a timber staircase, where a statement Dale Frank painting is hung – titled ‘They had a studio room with spa booked usually $150 but because of the virus $130 every Thursday at the Quest, 787 Hunter Street in Newcastle West she would wear a pinafore nightie and he would wear disposable nappies’, 2020.

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Lawless & Meyerson called on the glamour of the theatre when designing the ambient powder room.

True to form, furniture pieces by esteemed Italian designers Maxalto, Minotti and Porro are pared-back and considered; right at home next to custom-designed pieces by Lawless & Meyerson. Texture features through unconventional elements like the soft oak flooring and grey stucco lustro render walls, catching and reflecting the light rays beautifully throughout the day. 

Jo says she’s constantly inspired by the understated elegance of a quintessential Belgian home. “I adore everything the designers from that part of the world do,” she says. “Their aesthetic has a sense of glamour about it, but it’s quiet and not flashy; that ‘just right’ balance is what I’m always striving for,” she adds. This balanced aesthetic rings true in the Penthouse III. Lawless & Meyerson have captured the sophistication of Sydney waterfront living, emphasising restraint and craftsmanship over extravagant detail.

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