Architecture & Interior Design
Potts Point, NSW, Australia
When designing Tusculum, Smart Design Studio worked hard to maintain the original vision and appeal of the Federation façade, the rear section of this private home is a contemporary, light-filled environment that opens onto a lush, terraced garden.
The transition from indoors to outdoors occurs seamlessly, via a 13-metre sliding glass wall, concealed in joinery when open. An oasis of calm in Sydney’s most densely populated suburb, the walled garden is terraced with seat-height tiers and planted with native violets and grasses, requiring only annual trimming.
The bucolic, meadow-like ambiance is perfect for stylish entertaining. Grey Travertine-finished floor and island bar, along with Corian bench tops and stained American Ash joinery enhance the streamlined, monochrome mood of this contemporary section of the house.
Spanning the entire width of the building, the staircase is an elegant vortex of cantilevered steel blades winding its way through six split levels. With its polished column, balustrade and edging, and inlaid white timber treads, the staircase elegantly articulates the old and the new parts of the home.
This house is effectively a series of complex, interdependent spaces comprised of confident forms and exquisite detail. Certain rooms readily transform; the study becomes a secluded guest room at the drawing of a dramatically sweeping curtain; twin guest bedrooms, divided by a cylindrical bathroom, privacy provided via a panelled door concealed in joinery.
Designed in a pared-down Classical style, finishes in the original portion of the house embody contemporary elegance: deep, flush skirting boards, grand paneled doors and wide timber floorboards are rendered in gloss white paint and offset by richly coloured set plaster walls, a different colour treatment in each room offsets the inherent darkness of the Federation frontage.
In 2012 Tusculum was the recipient of prestigious critical acclaim after winning several awards including the AIA NSW Architecture Award for Interior Architecture.