When the owners of this Sydney penthouse apartment stepped into the property as interested buyers for the very first time they were instantly swept of their feet. And who’s to blame them: occupying the entire top floor of a charming house built in the Spanish Mission style in the upscale suburb of Double Bay, the apartment is blessed with unobstructed views of Sydney Harbour, generous amounts of natural light, beautiful vaulted ceilings, exquisite Art Deco plasterwork and fluted archways. The “love at first sight” sensation that the owners experienced became the starting point for local design practice Arent&Pyke’s interior design, which was conceived as a gesture of endearment to the property’s architectural heritage and scenic beauty. From the elective selection of art and furniture to the flowing layout and refined finishes, the apartment conveys a romantic sensibility that transcends styles and eras in order to establish a liveable home.
Undoubtedly the heart of Villa Amor, as the apartment is charmingly called, is a flowing progression of spaces consisting of the vestibule, the regal living room and the adjoining sunroom/dining room. Crowned by an elegant vaulted ceiling and decorated by a subtle plasterwork frieze, the living room’s uplifting grandeur is matched by the expansive vistas of Sydney Harbour out of the dining room which are framed by an elegant fluted archway. The all-white palette of the plaster walls and ceilings is complemented by the warm hues of the oak parquet flooring whose chevron pattern creates a dynamic geometry that counterbalances the supple flourishes of the plasterwork garlands and the black & white sumptuousness of the Calcutta viola marble heart.
The spatial continuity of the vestibule, living room and sunroom acts as a buffer between the private quarters on the right and the casual lounge, kitchen and guest bedroom on the left. Conceived as an intimate sanctuary, the private quarters consist of a master bedroom and bathroom, dressing room and Pilates studio.
Inspired by the Art Deco aesthetic of the apartment’s heritage, the designers have assembled an eclectic collection of artworks and furniture that embodies the courtship of past and present. “There is something of the French tradition of collecting that we have brought to the apartment where you would expect to see Chinoiserie, European furniture, unusual market finds, as well as contemporary art, all sitting together,” says Arent&Pyke principal, Sarah-Jane Pyke. Indeed, the collection defies a uniform style or period for unique pieces that speak directly to the heart rather than the mind, comprising what is in effect an idiosyncratic love letter declaring the owners’ passion for their new home.