Darlinghurst Residence by Studio May

Sitting in the Heart of Sydney, Studio May preserve a dilapidated 1860s sandstone home that details a rich and varied former life.

Bespoke, Fitzroy-based design practice Studio May was established in 2017 by Martine Bonich and Naomi Webster out of a shared passion for highly-considered and well-executed design.

With this approach and client trust, Studio May were granted the opportunity to sensitively restore and renew a heritage home in Sydney’s covetable postcode of Darlinghurst. Sharing a street with some of the oldest homes in the area, Studio May have designed a crisp, elegant interior in a delicate tapestry where old meets new.

The Darlinghurst Residence’s brief encompassed revitalisation of the front section of the home, spanning the entry, living and dining spaces on the ground floor, as well as the staircase, sleeping and bathing areas on the first floor.

It was important to both us and the client to not only restore the building but also enhance the liveability of the spaces and their connection to one another in order to achieve comfortable, contemporary and liveable spaces,” Studio May principal and designer Martine Bonich says. According to Martine, the design studio have been enlisted for a 2nd stage, which will see the original kitchen and additional sleeping and studio upstairs join the newly restored.

Studio May selected materials to closely fit with the original details of the home. The marble hearths and bathroom vanity with Rogerseller Sublim Basin are used within the parameters of existing set-outs or as freestanding elements, mindful of the original period and intricate detailing. “Original rich and warm Australian hardwood timbers on the floor and in the existing fireplace mantels have been offset by the introduction of lighter oak timber joinery to lift the palette and differentiate new from old,” Martine says.

Studio May Co founder and designer Naomi Webster explains that the traditional wall and floor tiling was kept to a minimum, used predominantly in the bathroom to preserve the remaining hardwood flooring. “Full height porcelain wall tiling in the bath and shower area is custom to appear as lining boards, reminiscent of the period wall lining found throughout the house,” Naomi says.

Studio May focused on adding functional elements to the home, such as sun protection through the shutters, as well as improved natural ventilation and thermal properties integrated within the period framework.

The interiors are softened by the Petunia Rug – Natural and Paragon Rug – Primrose by Armadillo & Co. An eclectic mix of furnishings includes Safari Chair available at Dunlin Home and a vintage Thonet Bentwood Ottoman, with Curatorial + Co. artists Kristiina Haataka, John Born and Henrik Godsk all on display. Lighting highlights are provided by Cult Design with the Wohlert Pendant by Louis Poulsen and the Tip of the Tongue Wall Light from Hub Furniture.

We’ll be keeping our eye on Studio May after our look through this grand old Darlinghurst Residence. The Melbourne design studio have revealed a deft hand at saluting the heritage details of the home while saturating it in sophistication and sunlight.

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