Places and Spaces: This Woollahra Terrace House Feels Like a Contemporary Art Gallery

In the desirable East Sydney suburb of Woollahra, neat rows of original terrace houses are dotted along the tree-lined streets that are perfectly placed to take advantage of a multitude of beautiful boutiques and neighbouring seaside suburbs. Aside from admiring their striking, detailed façades from afar, it's not often that we get a glimpse into how these historic homes are being utilised by their modern-day residents. Luckily, we've been given a rare look into "Icilus", a recently-renovated Victorian-era terrace that's home to a young family with a contemporary art collection that could rival an art gallery.

At the helm of the careful and considerate interior works is Claire Delmar of Studio CD Design, a prominent figure in the interior styling and decorating game who has gifted us with some truly swoon-worthy projects over the past few years. It's no wonder, then, that Claire's most recent residential design project in leafy Woollahra is a game-changer for what a modern home should look and feel like. With five bedrooms and multiple living zones over split levels, Claire had her work cut out for her to provide her design-savvy young clients with a home that was both cutting edge and extremely practical for their children to grow up in. This has been accomplished by the use of restrained elements such as the soft (kid-friendly) grey walls that contrast with quirky decisions like the various patterned wallpapers throughout that offer an element of surprise and breathe fresh life into this authentic Sydney gem.

As art lovers through and through, Claire's young clients had already amassed an impressive collection of artworks, from portrait photography to bright pink neon sculptures and everything in between. Leaning into the unconventional aesthetic and drawing even more inspiration from her client's impressive and extensive wardrobe, Claire steered the design direction of the renovation in a bold and whimsical path that has a similar atmosphere to a high-end hotel. In the formal living room, a rosy-pink sofa perfectly complements a large-scale abstract work and geometric wall speakers in plum tones. Each piece has been thoughtfully curated and selected specifically for a purpose, whether to entertain or to relax and unwind. It would be easy for a home of this scale and extravagance to feel unapproachable, but Claire's trained eye keeps things grounded, with mixed metals and organic vessels and ornaments adding a handmade element that keeps things subtle and homely.

From a magical kids playroom to a very grown-up master suite, there's a definite mix of formal and informal spaces throughout the home. The daring palette has been combined with refined, sleek furniture that further accentuates the original architectural details that make this home so appealing. Authentic fireplaces remain intact but are refreshed with printed wallpaper that is both a nod to the past and to a new type of terrace house where history and playfulness are encouraged to co-exist. The addition of carefully-placed wall panelling throughout adds a certain element of French chic that's so fitting with the eclectic, art-focused scheme. We can't stop staring at images of this outstanding terrace house that makes us want to visit an art gallery as soon as possible.

Images Courtesy of Studio CD Design. Photography by Anson Smart.

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