This Bungalow Turned Beach Retreat in Sydney Nails the On-Trend Monochrome Look

| © Felix Forest

Architecture & Design Editor

At first glance, you wouldn’t know this glamorous Palm Beach House was a former ’80s bungalow. Now, it’s been transformed into a glamorous holiday villa that focuses on bespoke detailing to achieve its sophisticated and timeless feel. Take inspiration for how to achieve the pared-back monochrome style at home in a way that won’t date.
Inspired by traditional European style but with a contemporary twist, Sydney-based architecture and design firm Alexander & Co worked with the former property to create a light and airy retreat with a high-end finish.

The owners desired a ‘home away from home’ and wanted to make the most of the property’s position near the water, so Alexander & Co created a large-scale opening to enhance the connection between the main living and dining areas and the exterior, providing the family with the opportunity to dine outside while enjoying spectacular views of the waterfront.

Alexander & Co said of the project: ‘The design of the home as a holiday house meant that the open-plan living space and garden were to become the central focus, as entertaining and hosting guests is a regular activity.

‘The core idea focused on neutralising the exterior in a way that fits in with the landscape to avoid detracting from the beauty of the surrounding context. A contemporary and minimalist approach for the garden allowed for the view to become the main focus.’

This pared-back design approach continues inside with regards to the restrained colour palette. By keeping the decor relatively neutral, it allows the details and materials to shine through, with the finishes, fittings, lighting and cladding all chosen with an artisan aspect in mind.

The owners wanted a ‘lived in’ feel and to add a sense of history and character to the property, so the handmade elements were introduced to prevent it from looking stark and clinical. The light-blonde wood adds warmth to the space, while key details are picked out in black, such as the Crittall-style windows and contemporary stair rail, adding an architectural, linear dimension to the space.

This focus on the finer details and use of materials pervades many of Alexander & Co’s projects – see a range of the company’s work here. For more contemporary homes, check out this house makeover by a Canadian designer and this home that also uses a monochrome palette for a retreat among the trees.

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