Alexander &CO. has distilled the laid-back surf culture of Sydney’s northern beaches into the design of the Harbord Hotel. This multi-level venue, in what was a tired art deco building in Freshwater, is as much a nod to the long-term locals and their way of life as it is a contribution to the area’s lasting and effortless energy.
Entering through the restored heritage façade, you’ll find Balsa restaurant to the left and the front bar to your right with event spaces upstairs. Surf shack elegance encapsulates much of this project’s newfound identity. It’s easy and fluid, with an abundance of natural light and the knowing feeling that the ocean isn’t too far away. Exposed spotted gum ceilings, green marble and stone flagged floors under amber lighting give way to a sophisticated yet unstuffy vibe.
Surf shack elegance encapsulates much of this project’s newfound identity. It’s easy and fluid, with an abundance of natural light and the knowing feeling that the ocean isn’t too far away.
Across the way, the front bar is both a space to traverse and pause. It’s lively and connected, with views to the beer garden below and an upbeat energy. With a steady flow of people, the feeling is relaxed, guided by the laid-back aesthetic and lightly layered design. Each pocket exudes its own charm, creating inviting nooks and open spaces designed for people and conversation. Warm, earthy tones coat the interiors alongside tactile materials such as painted brick, timber and stone, and a mix of contemporary and vintage furniture and lighting adds depth.
Retro-inspired pieces including ceramic wall lights and cork and concrete tables enhance this language. You’ll also spy vintage surfboards and retro surf magazines throughout the space – a personal contribution from the owners that adds familiarity and authenticity.
While a contemporary design approach takes precedence, the character of this magnificent 1950s pre-war pavilion triumphs. Masonry wall detailing and original archways celebrate its history while curved windows and the refurbished original staircase recall the art deco heritage at almost every turn.
Harbord Hotel by Alexander &CO. is an expression of the Freshwater area; a reflection of the community and the easy-going culture that so readily defines it. And the design suggests there’s a spot for everyone – whether you’re still salty from the beach or settling in for an indulgent afternoon against a backdrop of uplifting, coastal textures and tones.