Watsons Bay Beachfront Home by Handelsmann + Khaw

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    Interior designers Tania Handelsmann + Gillian Khaw are the archetypal design duo who create homes imbued with whimsy and romanticism, made entirely for the purpose of liveability.

    The work of their Sydney-based eponymous design studio Handelsmann + Khaw skirts the periphery of trend, to occupy an elusive sweet spot between vintage eclecticism and contemporary timelessness.

    Tania and Gillian methodically compose residences suffused with relevant tactility and an intuitive sentimental sense of place, at a time when our homes are being subjected to ever-increasing expectations on aesthetics, sustainability and functionality.

    This feature originally appeared in est magazine issue #39.

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    “We think nostalgia, for a holiday, or for a house you may remember from childhood is very powerful.”

     

    – Tania Handelsmann

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    The living room has a nostalgic atmosphere with custom sofa and armchairs and Daphine floor lamp by Tommaso Cimini.
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    Watsons Bay Beachfront Home artfully illustrates the studio’s distinctive DNA. Sitting above a breathtaking view of a Sydney Harbour beach, the 70’s home has a pagoda-style exterior that instantly places it ever so slightly on the mainstream side of quirky. The home has been subjected to a design dichotomy, rectifying several previous iterations over the decades to simultaneously enhance and pay homage to the original charm, while gently orienting it towards an idyllic future for its current owners.

    On paper, the design intervention and resulting outcome shouldn’t really work. An exterior silhouette reminiscent of Asia is contrasted by interior Vienna Straw and polished plaster reminiscent of Southern France, curved doorways and tiles with North African sentiments, with breeze blocks and elongated door frames that are reflective of the cool relief interiors found in arid climate homes. Yet the skill in aligning each element with its rightful aesthetic counterpart regardless of existing geographic connotations, together with the home’s reprogrammed schematics and its leafy aspect, bestow something much more than beauty upon this Sydney haven.

    Together, the pair have created an environment distinguished by overtures of continental luxury, grounded by an unaffected and intrepid warmth. Watsons Bay Beachfront House is a deep dive into an indulgently cosmopolitan narrative, with notes of old Hollywood elegance, unified by a monastic air that brings it firmly back into the realm of Sydney.

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