At Home with Designer Cushla McFadden

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    Step inside the newly renovated Annandale home of Tom Mark Henry director Cushla McFadden, her husband, their young son and beloved cattle dog Maxie.

    Sydney-based designer Cushla McFadden and her husband took on their home in Sydney’s Annandale as a run-down, one-bedroom terrace. Equipped with an understanding of reworking small spaces with steadfast attention to detail, Cushla gutted the home and added a second floor. Introducing two more bedrooms and a bathroom to the home’s footprint, every space and the materials within them work hard to prove their worth. Illuminated by natural light, Cushla’s home exudes a relaxed and refined atmosphere that’s characteristic of her unpretentious approach to design. 

    The home calls on modernist and minimalist interiors for inspiration while being extremely mindful of scale and space. Here, all of the materials selected have been chosen for their hard-wearing quality and tactile warmth. “The aesthetic is realised through textural and timeless finishes, such as the natural clay rendered walls, limestone joinery, a mix of oak floors and polished concrete and an abundance of natural light,” Cushla says. A powder-coated steel balustrade and concealed fixtures reinforce the designer’s desire to keep form and function front of mind throughout. 

    Cushla wanted to create a nurturing and calming home to retreat to. Moving in three weeks before their son was born, she says it was the perfect place to be in with a newborn, welcoming visitors and enjoying their first few precious months as a family. 

    Naturally, the open plan ground floor is the most frequented space in the home.We have our meals around the table, I often roll out a yoga mat to work out here and the sofa is always there to sink into at the end of the day,” Cushla says. “We’re fortunate that we have a spare bedroom/study to work in so this space is exclusively used for family time,” she adds. 

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    The terrace is instilled with passive solar design including double-glazed windows and doors – which also muffle outside noise – and a concrete slab on the ground floor with underfloor heating. The clay rendered walls also regulate the humidity in the air, meeting both functional and aesthetic requirements. 

    When it comes to the special objects in her home, Cushla says it’s the Australian art they’d started collecting while planning the renovation. “I love our ‘Lemons and White Plate’ by Esther Eckley purchased through Walcha Gallery, which brings freshness and a pop of colour to the kitchen,” she says. “I also love the work of artist Hannah Nowlan, and was quick to purchase ‘Stretching Time’ from her show Lacuna at Saint Cloche, which is hung over our stairs.”

    As we’ve all found ourselves spending a lot more time at home, Cushla says they’ve been particularly grateful for their rear courtyard – “a beautiful space to be in and enjoy” when it’s sunny outside.

    Cushla sees ‘home’ as a place where you can be yourself – where you shed a layer, relax and cook up a storm – or spend time with family and friends. “Home is the exhale upon walking through the door,” she says – exactly the sentiment that captures her space-efficient and soothing family terrace. 

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    The bedroom features the Read Wall Light for Fritz Hansen.

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    One of Cushla’s favourite spaces in the home is the rear courtyard. It features the Tribu Nodi Easy Chairs by Yabu Pushelberg.

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