With its stepped landscaping surrounded by formal clipped hedges, manicured lawns and creeping vines, this Sydney house has a transportive quality. Blink and you could be at a European villa, huddled around the stone outdoor fireplace in winter or sunning under a nautical umbrella in summer. Framed in no less than two different tiles, the glamorous aqua pool is the ultimate showstopper, ringed by Tunisian handmade tiles.
Built in the 1960s, the house had a kitsch, Tuscan-inspired look but sentimental value for the homeowner, who has memories of visiting the property as a child. "Family friends used to own it and I spent a lot of time here growing up and always loved the feel of it," he says. "After having my own family, I knew it would be a great house for us. I loved the functionality and estate-like feel with its gated entry, levelled lawns and mainly single-storey living, so I approached the [previous] owners off-market and they just so happened to be ready to downsize. We were really lucky. You could say the stars aligned. Quiet, leafy and private with 1600 square metres of land, it fitted all the requirements."
The house hadn't changed much and although liveable, it lacked any sort of design direction. Interior designer Emma Buchan had worked with her clients for more than a decade across various residential and commercial projects, so there was an instant and innate understanding of their aesthetic preferences. They gave her a simple brief that included a desire for dark colours with an edge that would "amplify the individuality of the home", says the owner, a real-estate agent in Burraneer, where the house is located.