A former workman’s cottage in Sydney enlivened by Arent&Pyke’s particular approach to colour and materiality

Featured in the interior design practice’s new book, Arent&Pyke: Interiors Beyond the Primary Palette, this family house in the city’s eastern suburbs reveals how a broad spectrum of colour, pattern and texture can be used to create a pleasingly coherent feel

These elements enhance the island’s appeal as a unique piece of furniture in a kitchen that feels opulent yet not overly formal. It is special enough for entertaining, without being too refined for everyday life. We came to understand the importance of this for our clients – after living in different houses, they required spaces with a big individual impact for them to be able to claim this place as their own.

Working with the burl to balance all that green is the peach terrazzo floor we introduced in the kitchen. We believe pink is the perfect foil for green, and that palette interplay also occurs in the master suite upstairs. Betty also encouraged us to embrace colour and pattern in the bedrooms, and the fabric choices on the bedheads reflect this. In the master bedroom, the dark green velvet bedhead by colour aficionado India Mahdavi, with its pink and ivory pattern, sets the tone for a sumptuous space. The bedhead is teamed with burl bedside tables and a carpet in deep coral pink. In the adjacent walk-in robe, a softer green appears in the eucalyptus-coloured joinery, offset by the coral-hued carpet.

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Unifying both spaces and connecting them to the en-suite bathroom is the pinkish nougat colour of the downstairs bookshelves, which washes over the walls and ceilings of these rooms. It softens the interiors, enveloping you without shouting its presence, and adds character and comfort while complementing the house’s contemporary aesthetic. In the en-suite bathroom, a room that was formerly all white, the colour also anchors the strong blend of materials – the burl veneer of the vanity cupboards, and the pinky purple vein of Calacatta Viola marble on the vanity benchtop and in the architraves of the entry, shower and toilet recesses.

This is a house where the language of detail and texture continues between rooms. The marble architraves feature a double bullnose element that we used in the travertine fireplace downstairs, and the curved edge of the kitchen island reveals a similar consideration of detail. Kitchen and bathroom share the same Moroccan wall tiles and peach terrazzo floors, while that nougat hue reappears just off the kitchen, on the walls and ceilings of both the walk-in pantry and cellar. It enhances the experience of those smaller areas and is a reminder that the power of colour exists as much in the quieter moments as the bold statements, defining the different spaces that turn a house into a home.

Extracted from Arent&Pyke: Interiors Beyond the Primary Palette, £35, published by Thames & Hudson Australia (thamesandhudson.com).