House Tour

IN PICS | An all-white palette allows the furniture in this serene home to pop

A light-filled home on Sydney’s Northern Beaches emits holiday vibes thanks to a mix of natural materials and a calming colour scheme

15 December 2019 - 00:00 By Maree Homer
The family loves to dine and entertain on the multi-level deck.
The family loves to dine and entertain on the multi-level deck.
Image: Bauer Syndication/Magazinefeatures.co.za

When you step inside Olivia Babarczy's home you can't help but let out a deep sigh of relief. It might have something to do with the sounds of the ocean in the distance; the fresh, open spaces, or the refined mixture of natural elements and sumptuous textures. But it wasn't always like this.

When interior designer Olivia and her husband, Julian, first came across the house on Sydney's Northern Beaches, it wasn't so perfect. "It was very much in need of some TLC, and I thought that it was just my kind of project," says Olivia.

COOL CHANGE

Prior to the Babarczy family moving in, the home had mainly been used as a holiday house and was fairly neglected.

"We undertook a full renovation, gutting most rooms and replacing all of the rotten decks - nothing was left untouched," Olivia says.

The downstairs living room is swathed in raw materials, including cowhide. A sandstone fireplace and a large rock, which protrudes through the floor, are standout features.
The downstairs living room is swathed in raw materials, including cowhide. A sandstone fireplace and a large rock, which protrudes through the floor, are standout features.
Image: Bauer Syndication/Magazinefeatures.co.za
The home is split into different zones. "Everyone has room to breathe," Olivia says.
The home is split into different zones. "Everyone has room to breathe," Olivia says.
Image: Bauer Syndication/Magazinefeatures.co.za
All-white paint allows the furniture to pop in the upstairs living room.
All-white paint allows the furniture to pop in the upstairs living room.
Image: Bauer Syndication/Magazinefeatures.co.za
Homeowner Olivia likes to decorate with a mix of local finds and vintage pieces such as this dining table.
Homeowner Olivia likes to decorate with a mix of local finds and vintage pieces such as this dining table.
Image: Bauer Syndication/Magazinefeatures.co.za
The kitchen follows the natural tones and hues of the living space.
The kitchen follows the natural tones and hues of the living space.
Image: Bauer Syndication/Magazinefeatures.co.za

However, many of the home's original aesthetics were retained. "My rule of thumb with interior design and styling is to work within the boundaries of the architectural style of the house, otherwise the space may lose its identity," she says.

REFINED TOUCH

This balance of old and new is testament to Olivia's experience as an interior designer. "I love hunting for items at flea markets in Europe during my travels," she says. "It's a great way to find pieces that you know won't be replicated elsewhere."

Olivia is drawn to neutral tones and natural materials - in particular, bamboo, linen, rattan and leather.
Olivia is drawn to neutral tones and natural materials - in particular, bamboo, linen, rattan and leather.
Image: Bauer Syndication/Magazinefeatures.co.za
Each bedroom features a framed photograph taken by Olivia while on holiday. 'They trigger happy memories,' she says.
Each bedroom features a framed photograph taken by Olivia while on holiday. 'They trigger happy memories,' she says.
Image: Bauer Syndication/Magazinefeatures.co.za
The oversized bath was re-enamelled and brought back to life.
The oversized bath was re-enamelled and brought back to life.
Image: Bauer Syndication/Magazinefeatures.co.za

And as for the new, she says: "I've found some little gems on the Northern Beaches. When it comes to furniture, I believe it's better to buy well and buy once, if the budget allows, as timeless pieces will last you a lifetime."

GET THE LOOK

FOUR SIMPLE IDEAS TO STYLE A HALLWAY

1. To fill the space, go for a sideboard or narrow console table that you can top with your favourite things, like books, candles, vases and family photographs.

2. Bring some life to your hallway with lush plants in cool pots. Here, a fiddle leaf fig works well. A vase of flowers or foliage would do the trick, too.

The hallway has been styled with an antique bamboo and marble sideboard as well as a huge pot plant, rug and art.
The hallway has been styled with an antique bamboo and marble sideboard as well as a huge pot plant, rug and art.
Image: Bauer Syndication/Magazinefeatures.co.za

3. Hang art to add personality, colour and interest to the often neglected space. Try a large print like Olivia has done, or a trio of smaller works.

4. Depending on the size of your hallway, use an area rug or long, narrow runner to help define the space. It also feels lovely underfoot when passing by. - Bauersyndication.com.au/Magazinefeatures.co.za