Amber Road design a home that breaks all the rules, thanks to the creative collaboration and consistency of designer, artist and owner.
It’s an absolute given from the outset; the Polychrome House has an infectious sense of fun and adventure. The formerly defective sixties brick home in Cronulla, Sydney, was no fit for the happy-go-lucky owner. And who better than Amber Road to create the exact embodiment of joyful living? Described by the studio as ‘an energetic design playground’, this now extended indoor-outdoor retreat by Amber Road has blossomed into a successful union of art, architecture, play and comfort.
The 1960s abode was just like a rabbit warren. The original floorpan needed to be reworked from top to bottom and the home extended to align with the existing balcony above. This allowed for the relocation of the kitchen from downstairs to ground floor, rejecting a conventional layout with its custom brick plinth that houses an open liquor display. Where the kitchen previously existed upstairs then became a study and guest loft with ensuite.
The eclectic paving that lines the floors inside and outside was a brave choice for an exposed brick home. Co-founder and director of Amber Road Yasmine Ghoniem admitted that the unusual, strong crazy paver was something that most would consider a clashing palette, but the studio felt “it was a true material choice which honoured the era to which the house was born.”
Working with longtime collaborator Sonia from Lymesmith, the artist convinced the design team that the “bricks would work if paired with the right colour palette”, Yasmine said. This led to another bold move: the electrically-coloured mural around the fireplace. The mural is inspired by aerial photographs of the home’s surrounds, where “its abstract shapes and lines are intended to loosely resemble land formations on a map,” Yasmine said. According to Yasmine, Lymesmith’s work became Amber Road’s “favourite standout” in the project.
Colour was integral to making the Polychrome House a happy and harmonious place to be. Amber Road explained this as a suite of ‘quiet colours’ that act as a base palette in harmony with the existing face brick tones, that are then altered by a secondary palette of electric colours. “Bright primary colours which were layered throughout the interior became the heartbeat of the ‘joyful’ experience we were all committed to creating,” Yasmine said. These fearless colour blocks including the Buddha Gold open pantry joinery, Prussian blue integrated fridge, terracotta kitchen backdrop and the mushroom pink stairway paired with pinky goat hair treads. Iconic furniture pieces are key to tying the whole home together and paying tribute to the home’s sixties origins.
Evolving over the five years, this playful and welcoming ‘shelter for living’ rejects all notions of normal and reflects a ‘true symbiosis’ of client, designer and artist.