Late last year Sydney based sisters Yasmine Ghoniem (interiors) and Katy Svalbe (landscapes) of landscape design and interior architecture studio, Amber Road, were named in a magazine as the up and coming designers to watch. Little did they know their soon-to-be dream client would be browsing those pages only to take one look at the trousers Yasmine sported in the images to then promptly pick up the phone and give Amber Road Studio a call. “Where might one find those very same pants?” they enquired, “and oh, would you please design my home?” Elated at the opportunity, Yasmine and Katy got to work. The transformation of their project, a waterfront property overlooking the moored boats below, reflects the siblings fluid and honest working relationship.
Born and educated on opposite sides of the globe, the sisters reunited in Sydney in 2011 to work on a design project together, making their namesake, an ancient fossilised gem route all the more poignant. Bonded by a love of landscape architecture, interior design, music and art, the sophisticated practice these two designers have created in such a short amount of time confirms that though these sisters may have been born oceans apart, working together was written in their stars.
With the internal spaces of this Cronulla beachfront home in need of some attention, Amber Road sourced inspiration from Japanese design principles and their minimalist clients plea to keep things as unpretentious and simple as possible. Looking effortless is often the hardest task of all but the designers have outdone themselves using clean lines, and pale timbers of birch and american oak to compliment existing features like the marble floors.
A lack of flowing light and a ‘boxy’ nature was combatted by collaboration with paint colour artist Sonia van De Haar of Lymesmith. The result, a restrained yet transformational colour palette of warm greys, bright whites and rich blacks creating blocks that stop just short of the roof with rounded edges.
Art hangs on walls around the home from artists Frenchie, Dominque Sutton, Juliet Taylor, Cole Bennetts and Prue Stent. Japanese maples, native and ornamental grasses and an assortment of sculptural plants were handpicked and grouped at the entry and on the deck giving a lush sense of privacy. Amber Road are certainly on our list of young designers to watch with their eclectic restrained aesthetic, no doubt they will be now on yours too!
The white weatherboard waterfront house looks fresh against the green landscape.
A 10-meter long floating concrete bench bridges the two living areas. Perched above this bench, a 1.8m wide American Oak sliding panel, edged in bronze, cleverly hides the television. Joinery by Evostyle. When open, the sliding panel sits comfortably on the opposite of the room as if a piece of art in itself.
Nook Sofa and Stanley Stool by Jardan
Artifort Butterfly Armchairs from Living Edge, rugs by Kulchi.
The original downstairs master bedroom – a former garage with low ceilings given new life with the introduction of birch panelling to walls of half of the room. Rug by Kulchi.
Outdoor furniture by Melbourne based Tait.
Photography: PRUE RUSCOE