Every day a holiday


Natural, earthy tones and a resort-inspired renovation have created an award-winning tranquil oasis in Vaucluse, writes Judy Barouch.

Take globetrotting clients whose favourite holiday destination is far north Queensland, team them with an architect whose background is hotel-resort architecture, add an elevated site with lush tropical foliage and you have the perfect elements for creating a fusion of city living and resort lifestyle.

Architect Bruce Stafford recounts that for the major renovation of this 1980s Vaucluse house - which won the Master Builders Australia excellence in housing award 2010 for its builders, Horizon Habitats - the owners Sandy and Ross King were inspired by the sense of wellbeing that beautifully designed resorts evoke.

The Kings requested an organic, natural palette: "lots of wood, slate and stone", Sandy King says. Stafford incorporated these building materials into his design, which centres on a spacious internal courtyard that is backed by a dramatic sandstone rock face.

Large glass doors slide open on two sides of the courtyard, merging both the formal and informal living areas with the outdoor deck and pool. The L-shaped main house is connected to the floating parents' pavilion, an eyrie perched high atop the imposing rock.

"It has a bird's-eye view across the courtyard to the living areas," Stafford says.

The interior designer, Lisa Stein, interpreted the tranquil theme with laid-back furniture and accessories. "The interiors had to be relaxed, with nothing too precious," she says. "No areas are off limits to the [three] children, so everything was chosen with durability in mind."

Artefacts collected from the Kings' years spent living in Melbourne, New York and London introduce a rich, decorative layer. And, in a nod to their South African heritage, Stein added pieces such as rustic stools for occasional tables. "Plus, there's lively Aboriginal art to add splashes of bright colour to the neutral walls," she says.

"The home has become a calm oasis. The feeling is of being permanently on vacation."

Useful contacts

Horizon Habitats 0403 183 202, horizonhabitats.com.au
Lisa Stein Interiors 0410 525 315, lisasteininteriors.com.au
Bruce Stafford 9327 7889, brucestafford.com
Robert Plumb 9316 9066, robertplumb.com.au
Mokum 9357 0555, mokumtextiles.com
Gundooee Contemporary Indigenous Art 0419 993 032, gundooee.com.au

Sydney Morning Herald - Essential Style
Story by Judy Barouch