The revival and transformation of a 1990s home, Queens Park House sees Atelier DAU work within the structural confinements of the building to create space, flow, and light.
“The clients purchased the property more than a decade ago, living in it for little more than a year before moving overseas to live in London initially, and later New York,” says Emma Rees-Raaijmakers, Atelier DAU principal and founder. “When they approached Atelier DAU, they were still living in New York, with the plan to move back to Australia within six months.” While the brief initially called for addressing the remedial problems that had gradually become apparent over the decade, the resulting design did more than revive the house, but rather transformed it from the clients’ Sydney ‘pad’ to their permanent home.
While the home required new bathrooms, and new ceilings, lighting and joinery to a number of rooms, the greatest intervention at Queens Park House was the one not briefed in by the clients. By removing the living and dining room wall to the garden and replacing existing bifold doors with a new minimally detailed sliding door assembly, Atelier DAU was able to not only open the house to more light, but also create an eye-catching connection between house and garden; a connection that is appreciated from as far away as the entry hall.
In the bathrooms, grey terrazzo, marble and curved wall sconces inject just the right amount of character into otherwise minimal space. This design gesture that is expressed throughout the house. In the kitchen, it is the statement sculptural Qasair rangehood, and in the open living spaces, the thoughtfully collected pieces of furniture and Australian art express personality.
Outside, it is the garden that brings life into the house. With trees framing each view to the outdoors, the visual impact of the garden and its influence on the overall design became apparent to Atelier DAU upon first inspection. “Dangar Barin Smith was commissioned to design the gardens when our clients first bought the property and at that time had planted a banksia and two rows of magnolia,” says Emma. In the intervenient decade, the trees had flourished (banksia growing to at least ten metres high). Dangar Barin Smith was again commissioned to restore and remodel the planting, as well as bringing a collection of plants in oversized pots to the two decks upstairs.
“While no additional square metres were added to the property, the works delivered a completely new home for the owners, light filled, surprisingly more spacious and a celebration of their magnificent garden,” Emma reflects. The result is an effortless, timeless home that does not seek attention but instead brings in the light and invites you to cast the eye outwards and celebrate the Australian way of life.