To elevate the function and overall experience of a three-bedroom, single-level brick home on Sydney’s upper North Shore. Remove all extraneous additions and reconfigure the floor space to a northerly more light-filled aspect. Most importantly emphasise a sense of Gezellig — the Dutch word for optimum comfort and cosiness — for the owners who spent time living in the Netherlands, and a more intuitive, natural sense of flow to better embrace the calming tranquility of the outside garden.
Call it a temple to relaxed living. Informed by the art and ethos of Californian modernist architects Craig Ellwood and Pierre Koenig the newly refreshed home is a celebration of natural light, smartly utilised space and the soothing elements of clean lines and natural textures. A new entry accessed via an intimate paved pathway lined with graphic breezeblocks now punctuates the centre of the home, providing balance and a sense of anticipation and discovery upon arrival.
The entrance foyer, purposefully built to display the client’s contemporary art collection, leads the eye from colour-filled walls to warm cascades of sunshine, which stream through an over-sized dormer window and series of skylights in the open-plan living area. A cream stone fireplace complemented by the subtle shimmer of silvery travertine floors adds an elemental feel to the home, evoking the comfort and reassuring solidity of nature.
A passageway, which interlinks this communal living space with the more private bedroom and bathroom areas, is lined with heavy linen curtains that unfurl to reveal a cosy feature garden. The effect is equal parts aesthetic drama and functional illumination, transforming the simple act of transitioning from one space to the next into a joyful journey touched by glimpses of sky and the scent of fresh green foliage.
Crown-cut walnut panelling throughout the home references a mid-century aesthetic influence while generous windows and glazed doorways not only act to extend the physicality of living spaces but also to emphasise a natural sense of connection with the outdoors.
Like the Dutch name, Gezellig implies: a soothing, graceful 21stcentury update on classic mid-century modern imbued with warmth, comfort and an overall sense of wellbeing and serenity.
A slice of modernist-influenced heaven
An oasis of calm and comfort
A place to clear the mind and calm the soul
A graceful, humble and honest retreat
Photography Felix Forest
'There was a wonderful feeling of sharing and togetherness throughout the entire process that is echoed in the comfort, ease and joy of the final result. It's moments like these that truly embody a sense of gezellig.'
Rebecca Gross - 'Living Well' - Design Anthology Australia Edition 05