The Quarterdeck by Studio Gorman is a mid-century home nestled into a secluded bushland setting in Sydney’s Sugarloaf Bay.
It was essential that the integrity of the original 1950s architectural house was maintained and revered, whilst also integrating all the latest technology and services to bring the home into this century and beyond. Quarterdeck was reimagined for a tech ‘guru’ wanting to create a family home for himself and his three teenagers. The brief required that the home be doubled in size while simultaneously ensuring it would feel cosy when the client was living there alone, as well as functioning seamlessly when hosting a dozen or more extended family members staying at any one time.
The concept for the interiors drew upon the original distinguishing modernist details of the home. The butterfly roof, exposed structural steel beams, shiplap panelling to the front façade, bagged brick interior walls, and original timber 1950s windows and doors were restored, then subsequently the unique characteristics of these original features informed the design response. Subtle shipping references incorporated by the original 1959 architect, Glynn Nicholls, were also restored, such as the fine steel wire balustrading to the upper deck.
Subtle shipping references incorporated by the original 1959 architect, Glynn Nicholls, were also restored, such as the fine steel wire balustrading to the upper deck.
The client’s relaxed lifestyle and his beloved yellow kombi, known as Little Miss Sunshine, were further inspirational springboards for the project. Little Miss Sunshine was parked behind a fixed glass viewing panel adjacent to newly relocated central stair, allowing glimpses of her sunshine form whilst passing through the home. The interior designers played with colour – referencing Mondrian palettes, primary blue, red and yellow were sparingly introduced as bold brushstrokes, which were layered over a base of limed and natural oiled American oaks and lashes of white. Needless to say, the bushland setting was also an enormous inspiration in the design response for the outdoor areas and in the master suite, which virtually hangs in the surrounding bush of Sugarloaf Bay.
Memorable, playful moments designed into the home are a further unique feature, including allowing the combi to be viewed via the stair, the sunny yellow children’s bathroom and a cave-like hidden cellar behind bookshelves, all of which respond to the client’s playful, relaxed personality. The cellar, with its complex secret entry operated by movement of a special book on the shelves is lined with recycled timber. A moody escape was crafted to juxtapose against the fresh white palette throughout the main home, while incorporating the client’s love of tech, surprise, and red wine.
There were challenges around the sheer size of the desired final home to accommodate extended family on visits to Australia, whilst also consciously working to keep the integrity of the original, much more modest modernist home, and particularly to maintain the humble original façade. Two new wings were designed by the architect to feel like natural extensions. Studio Gorman’s role as interior designers was to manage materiality throughout both the interior and exterior of the home, to craft the cohesive look between new and original that they were seeking to achieve.
Further challenges for the whole team were working within the constraints of the council’s bushfire ‘flame zone’ rating, due to the house backing onto a bush reserve in Middle Cove. This challenged the exterior materiality as well as the overall configuration of windows and doors throughout the house. It also meant that two bathrooms, on the eastern side, could not have any external windows, making their design challenging in terms of introduced light to ensure it looked and felt natural.