The 1906 Apartment by Amber Road

  • A stylish gentleman’s ‘pie in the sky’ – an elegant, moody and thoroughly thought out apartment courtesy of Amber Road.

    We were glad to start the year with new design work from Amber Road  – a  unique, character-centric Bondi apartment for a client embarking on ‘new beginnings’. As you can gather from all of their projects on est, doing things differently is what the firm do well – so when we got wind of another recent residential project, we were eager to explore. Not dissimilar in its collection of curios and interesting play with colour and texture, this sky-high residence has been designed for a well-travelled gentleman. Taking in exclusive views of Sydney Harbour, Amber Road designed rich, layered and highly functional interiors in a compact mapping of space.

    The apartment appears nothing like it was. Having undergone substantial demolition before Amber Road even set foot inside, the apartment was merely an ‘unprepossessing concrete shell’ when they first set eyes on it. But even from this hollow structure, Amber Road immediately knew the flow and positioning of spaces were wrong relative to the views and the openings were too small. Amber Road Co-director Yasmine Ghoniem said rather than focusing solely on the views, the team quickly ensured the interiors experience would be equally as special. “Our objective was to turn the 80 square-metre, one bedroom/two bathroom apartment into a two bedroom/ two bath, chic and [sexy] penthouse,” Yasmine said.

    Their client made entertaining a priority in the brief, frequently visited by interstate and overseas visitors. He hoped the space could be both accommodating for large gatherings but also have an intimate atmosphere for small dinners. “Right from our first meeting, we knew this was a client with an adventurous spirit, and his willing to embrace, and delight in, the design journey we ultimately took him on,” Yasmine said. Another big plus for the client was creating a home with depth and character, where his collections of paints, sculpture and objects could sing.

    “The fabric-covered pendant light hanging above the dining table we custom designed with a maker in the USA, using vintage ticking material. A pulley system means it can be lowered or raised high above the table for a full view of the client’s favourite painting on the wall behind.”

    Amber Road Co-director Yasmine Ghoniem

    Before anything, this apartment required some intense reworking. “The logic and ease of the finished apartment belies the complex design and building work required to achieve this result,” Yasmine explained. The kitchen was opposite of where it is now, the existing floor was raised and new terrazzo tiles became a flooring of choice in every room of the house. From then on it was then decided the apartment would comprise of a simple yet striking material palette of exposed concrete ceilings, terrazzo, timber, stone and burnished brass fixtures.

    Amber Road credits the client for the strong sense of colour threaded throughout. “The custom pink terrazzo vanity in the master bathroom reflects our client’s adventurous spirit, while in the kitchen, living and dining, sophisticated cool greys and strong black injections, have been paired with smart navy accents found in dining chairs and feature walls,” Yasmine said. Chocolate timbers were selected for their warmth, while the rust and ochre tones of the kitchen stone are a beautiful backdrop to the kitchen.

    “Form and function were inseparable from the outset of the design process to ensure that everything the client desired would fit within the space”, Yasmine assured. With space at a premium, they had to maximise storage capacity and ensure every element worked hard, with multiple uses. “Everything here has been carefully designed to do more than one job. Due to the formidable size constraints, every square centimetre of the apartment has been optimised,” she said. Cleverly, the living room doubles as a guest bedroom with a fold-down bed and a custom louvred timber screen that can be pulled across to shut off the dining area. When the fold-down bed is not in use, the grey stained panel is used to watch movies on, with a concealed projector screen in the mix. At the entry, a laundry is disguised between sliding doors with a custom off form terrazzo ledge to place your keys.

    As Yasmine superbly sums up, “In this highly considered and elegant apartment, everything has its place, nothing is wasted and most things are much more than what at first they seem.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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