Home Tour | Twin Peaks by Alwill Architecture + Interiors

  • A retrospective material palette and ample connection to the outdoors characterise this restored heritage home overlooking the Sydney Harbour.

    During its lifetime, this two-storey sandstone building in Sydney’s inner west has been an art school, a ballroom and, in recent years, a home. Local architecture and interior design studio Alwill were tasked with the most recent rendition of the building, which involved rehabilitating it for a family of five. Citing various sources of inspiration – the location and the site itself coming in first – Alwill have successfully moulded a new design into an existing one, giving the home the recognition it deserves.

    Inspired by the home’s foundation of sandstone and timber, Alwill have used a mix of American oak and walnut joinery, as well as American oak flooring. The kitchen features the Giopato & Coombes Soffio pendant and Fredericia Spine stool.

    A New Era

    A heritage home’s energy and charm are difficult to match; qualities that make them an appealing challenge for designers and architects to bring into the presentHowever, in shaping a new era, one must not neglect those which preceded it.

    In the case of Twin Peaks, Alwill have approached the redesign retrospectively, letting the past inform the present. The sandstone walls and timber joinery have been given a slight update, but otherwise remain the same, with the rest of the home’s material palette following suit. Reconfigurations of the home’s plan were kept to a minimum, with the main exception being the outdoor spaces. “The goal was to restore the building’s grandeur and overall zest for life,” director Nadine Alwill says. “To do this, we needed to exercise restraint and be sensitive to its past.”

    The adjoining dining space features the Jardan Arte table and Brooklyn chairs.

    Alwill have installed a ‘casual entry’ to the right of the formal entry, which leads directly into the kitchen. “This way, there isn’t that added layer of an entry hall, and there’s always someone to greet you in the kitchen,” Nadine says.

    The Outdoor Spaces

    “The home had this big, beautiful garden and spectacular harbour views, yet, at times, it failed to make use of either. So we made it our mission to change that,” Nadine says. She goes on the say that reevaluating the outdoor spaces was what really allowed the heritage building to sing. Being a busy, social family, the clients wanted these spaces to promote fun, entertainment, and relaxation.

    Sources of Inspiration

    “The location and the site itself had a big part to play in inspiration for this project,” Nadine says. The blueprint for each room had ‘connection to the outdoors’ written in bold; even the attic, where the harbour bridge can be seen through a small window. As is the case with many heritage revivals, the home’s original material palette was another key source of inspiration. “We developed a strong admiration for the building’s history and sought to build on top of that.” And finally, the family themselves, who Nadine describes as “calm, fun and uplifting”, were a key driver in the planning and decision making. “At the end of the day, the home needed to be an authentic reflection of them.”

    “Working within the heritage constraints of a building lends itself to challenges that can actually have really beautiful outcomes.”


    – Nadine Alwill

    The home’s signature sandstone walls are visible both externally and internally.

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