Home Tour | Elizabeth Bay by Smart Design Studio

  • Smart Design Studio explore sculptural simplicity in a two-storey home in Sydney’s Elizabeth Bay.

    Sydney-based architects Smart Design Studio are renowned for conceiving modern Australian homes, where simple materials and pure forms take precedence. The studio have brought a home on the bay back to life through an updated layout and the addition of several architectural focal points – a sculptural mezzanine being the most telling.

    A Structural Reset

    The Elizabeth Bay project involved a comprehensive structural reset. A double-height, elongated living-dining space, with a kitchen attached, was added to the rear where an unoriginal lean-in used to be. Sheltering the living space while overlooking the dining space is a sculptural, wax-rendered mezzanine, arguably the highlight of the entire project. An additional bedroom is housed in the attic of this rear pavilion, which opens out onto Rushcutters Bay Park. Beneath is a basement complete with an oak wine cellar, laundry and gym.

    The heritage part of the home – formerly two apartments – has been substantially rationalised to feel more like one comprehensive house. All rooms are now positioned along a central axis at both the ground and first level. The existing staircase has been retained and painted a glossy white, with a stone-coloured waterfall carpet lining the treads.

    Architectural Focal Points

    In addition to the sculptural mezzanine, the project is brought to fruition by other architectural focal points, including the pond attached to the living space and the marble feature wall in the kitchen. The pond lies on the other side of a single pane of glass and is lined with black granite, making it appear bottomless and glassy. In the centre of the pond lies a single tree, adding an essential source of greenery to the space. The marble feature wall in the kitchen is intended to echo a dramatic contemporary artwork: an imaginative use of the material.

    In the living space, Flexform pieces – the Peter armchair, Campiello sofa and Plain side table – are paired with the Viabizzuno Roy Lettura floor lamp, Christophe Delcourt Ouk side table and When Objects Work John Pawson bowl.

    The second living space features the B&B Italia Tobi-Ishi coffee table, Cassina 637 Utrecht armchair and Maxalto Leukon floor lamp. Artwork above fireplace by Alan Jones.

    Artwork by Subhash Vyam; bedding by Society Limonta.

    The India Mahdavi Bishop stool (pictured) was listed as part of our feature on the est best 30 bathroom products in 2022. Discover the full list of products inside est Magazine issue 46 (pp.201-235). Sculpture from Humble Matter.

    Artwork (left) by Dale Frank

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