by Sohil SoniAug 04, 2022
Located on a Sydney hill that offers stunning, expansive views of the city skyline and its harbour foreshore, the Hill House owes its rather signature architecture to Luigi Rosselli Architects, and is built with the jaw dropping view as its focal force. The interior spaces of the house make themselves seen as you navigate through the residence, slowly revealing, culminating in a large open court-like space, a reminder of the affluent lifestyle in Bellevue Hill, Sydney. Decus Interiors, founded by Alexandra Donohoe Church, handled the interior design for the project, including developing the interior language, its looks and feel, finishes, lighting layouts, and details from conception to execution. The brief from the clients, a professional couple with a large family, asked for “a space that was sophisticated yet durable, classic and contemporary” for a family of six. They wished to enjoy the house with their children’s children, with the most luxurious finishes specified, and yet remain an inviting cocoon with a sense of elegant warmth at its heart.
Building on the brief, Decus Interiors picked up from the visible European inflexion in the language of the architecture, attempting to mix “timeless pieces with fun personality pieces” throughout, building depth through layering in the finishes, joinery and furnishings. The materiality too reflects a strong emphasis on the monolithic expression of purity, along with a fused luxe aesthetic. Solid timber and stone have been used wherever possible, including large format travertine throughout the house, woven bronze mesh in the entry foyer, and walls and entry doors clad with travertine slabs. The floors are adorned in dark oak, with the same timber used across all joinery to ensure consistency. Interestingly enough, the timber has been stained through three shades, depending on the formality of the location: informal areas the lightest, the study and dining displayed a relative richness in tone, while the walk-in wardrobe, a very private expression, didn’t shy away from being just ritzy enough.
The furnishings, while lending a standing-out contrast to some of the bespoke, singular furniture, were otherwise chosen to be easy on the eyes and visually lightweight. Similarly, draperies complemented the simple fabric line-up in translucent linen as opposed to silk or synthetics, inculcating a feeling of airiness and openness that the house relies on to express its outward nature. The colour palette, despite being dominated by the deeper, cooler shades of blue, green and grey, emanates a certain warmth from the brief, and a freshness. Shots of mustard and pink accentuate and highlight, while exuding a playful hand.
One of the defining features of the house is the ample availability of natural light that allows the interiors to be flushed with daylight during available hours, something that is afforded by the house’s enviable location in Bellevue Hills. In response to that, the house only has three signature light pieces in its scheme, while the other choices were intentionally made to be quiet, to allow other aspects of the room to talk, amongst each other and with the spectator. The organic stairwell design is complemented by a five-metre tall branched drop pendant lamp, while the dining room is adorned by two conceptually similar Gallotti e Radice pendants, described by the team as two beautiful earrings. The dining room is unsurprisingly one of the best corners of the house, even for the design team, with its curving walls and bar partition, bronze banding in place of a dado rail, and fluted glass steel framed doors. The table itself is a 14-16 seater Christoph Delcourt piece, that has been described to be beautifully textural, chalky, white-brushed, and a sculptural beauty.
The kitchen is another space where a very particular brief by the clients for the hearth of the house leads to one of the most endearing spaces in the stunning residence. A sculptural stone island is the focal point of the kitchen, intended as an informal waiting and play area for the family whilst food was prepared. It also incorporates a hidden scullery for service of large kitchen appliances, and a “prep zone” for entertainment. Informal seating surrounds the island to eat for when not all members of the family were home. According to the designers, the kitchen “articulates a unique design language by marrying the functional with a refined sense of materiality”.