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This once-bland house on Sydney’s Lower North Shore has been transformed into a glam family home with a distinctly Mediterranean flavour.

For the well-travelled owners of this home on Sydney’s Lower North Shore, every day feels like a Mediterranean holiday thanks to the imaginative makeover executed by Three Birds Renovations. The transformation is impressive: once a bland, ‘patchwork quilt’ of a house with a rabbit warren of rooms, it’s now an open, bright and glamorous abode with spectacular views of the harbour and surrounding bushland.

Introducing curves and arches throughout, adding textured render and an organic stacked stone wall as well as a colour palette of soft blue-green against a warm white backdrop has brought the flavour of modern Mallorca to the house that is perched on a sloping block. The 900m2 site is tiered upwards from the street-level garage with the pool on the same level as the main entrance to the five-bedroom, three-bathroom house.

Zanzibar armchair and Lux terrazzo side table, Freedom. Doors, Stegbar, painted Dulux Coalition. Seaforth floor tiles in Beige and Northbridge floor tiles in Peach, TileCloud.
By the pool, custom curved day bed made by builder, with seat in Rawson Stripe in Butter, Grace Garrett. Capri Yellow outdoor cushions and Speckle side tables, Bonnie and Neil. Beanbags in Flowers by Kane Lehanneur and Jardin patio umbrella, Basil Bangs. Terrazzo stool and Sanur chair, Oz Design Furniture. Lux terrazzo side table, Freedom. Picnic basket and towel, Sunnylife. Sandstone pavers, Australian Sandstone Merchants.
Having bought the home in 2017 the owners and their two school-age daughters persevered with its awkward layout until contacting Three Birds in 2020. Handing over the keys to the team required a leap of faith as the owners also entrusted their budget and creative control, returning to a fully renovated and styled home.

With their winning formula, the Three Birds principals – Bonnie Hindmarsh, Lana Taylor and Erin Cayless – set to work gutting the interior and reorganising, adding to and refining details during the process. Their particular brand of stylish yet practical magic was layered on top of the owners’ brief to deliver four bedrooms, two studies (one permanent and one flexible space) and an overall Mediterranean vibe.

Custom front door painted Dulux Coalition, Corinthian Doors, with Ora entry pull, Lo & Co. Staircase finished in Dulux Acratex in White Dune Quarter. Custom handrail, Genneral Staircase. Abstract Expression artwork, Mayla cushions and Wave candleholder, Oz Design Furniture. Seaforth floor tiles in Beige, TileCloud. Odette bouclé sofa, Castlery. Sasha coffee table, Satara. Kristin Sand Beige Diamond shag rug, Miss Amara.
Alma armchairs, James Lane. Custom curved day bed (on back wall) and bar, made by builder. Day bed seat and cushions in Palermo Sugarcane, Grace Garrett. Klaxon side table, Merci Maison.
“There were some pockets of beauty that we found in the original home,” says sales and marketing director Lana, “things like arched windows and rendered walls. Our vision was ‘modern Mallorca’ – a beautiful blend of Spanish island style, with luxe flourishes to enhance modern family living.”
Laufen ‘Val’ freestanding bath, Reece. Stirling floor tiles in White, TileCloud. Jurang offering bowl and Toscana ceramic vessel, both James Lane. Soap and brush, Saardé. Terre bath towel and assorted room sprays, Freedom.
Sorrento sofa and lounge chair set in Oat Beige, Castlery. Lux Terrazzo coffee table, side table and Asven outdoor cushions, Freedom.
The team wished to create sociable areas for the family to live in and entertain, maximising the indoor-outdoor flow and adding window seats to capture the views. An open-plan design was the key to eliminating the awkward floor plan. The kitchen and living areas were brought forward to embrace the view and multiple internal walls were removed to achieve this.

“Wherever possible, we created more access points to the view such as replacing windows with doors and adding a new balcony upstairs off the parents’ retreat. We also moved the main entrance to the lower-ground floor [that now houses a lounge room and guestroom] and the middle level is dedicated to the kitchen, living and dining,” says Lana.

The standout feature of the expansive living area is the stacked-stone wall surrounding the fireplace and TV.

Cobble Fabric occasional armchairs, Grande coffee table and Avoca rug, Freedom. Adina round side table, Satara. Accessories, Freedom and Oz Design Furniture.
Dry-stacked limestone wall, Veneer Stone. Custom cabinetry by Carrera by Design. Cabinet and drawer handles, The Society Inc. Benchtop in Talostone Carrara Gold. Majestic series AM100 canopy rangehood and RAL1013 dual induction cooker, Ilve. Memo Harper butler sink and Scala pullout mixer, Reece. Handmade wall lights, Lighting Collective. Downlights, Beacon Lighting. French oak flooring in Stoney Grey, Woodcut. Decorative ceiling battens, Intrim. Ines bar stools, Satara. Distinta Perla toaster and kettle, DeLonghi. Wooden bowl and black pedestal bowl, James Lane. Vase, platter and Luisa throw, Freedom. Ladder, Oz Design Furniture.
Adding texture and a certain rusticity to the luxurious space accentuates the Mediterranean mood that underpins the design. Ceiling battens add further texture and interest and help to elongate the room.

Furnishings in neutral shades and tactile fabrics including leather, bouclé and slubby linen call to mind the sleek sophistication of an Armani runway show, with pops of black in the coffee table, fireplace, lamps and accessories adding punch.

Designed by Three Birds Renovations, this harbourside beauty captures the laidback spirit of the Med for a modern family.
Hallie dining chairs and Norte vase, Freedom. Cook Loom carver chairs, Satara. Ravello dining table, Conway rug, Nuvolo decanter and Roma vase, Oz Design Furniture. Travertine slab, Unrivalled Interiors. Loft 3 pendant light, Beacon Lighting. Windows, Stegbar.
Built-in window seats encircle the dining area offering the best views of the water through the dramatic arched window. The space flows seamlessly to the kitchen that was repositioned from the back of the house.

The spectacular rounded island bench topped with Talostone Carrara Gold with a chunky bullnose edge is a focal point when the family entertains and the butler’s pantry/laundry through the archway behind takes immaculate care of storage needs.

The Three Birds Renovations team (from left) Lana Taylor, Bonnie Hindmarsh and Erin Cayless. Custom window seats with cushion, The Foam Booth.
Custom cabinetry by Carrera by Design. Memo Harper butler sink and Scala tapware, Reece. Kyiv wall sconce, Gypset Cargo. Talostone benchtop in Carrara Gold. Balmoral floor tiles in Duck Egg and Seaforth floor tiles in Beige, TileCloud. Bespoke Bowl of Orange artwork by Whitney Spicer. Pompei urn, marble serving boards, Calypso striped bowls, plates and platter, Oz Design Furniture. Canopy pitcher, Pesce salad servers and Leja placemats, Freedom.
Also on this level, a second living area leads to the outdoor dining area and pizza oven, while the study, with its shapely desk, enjoys wonderful light flooding in through the arched window. A small but perfectly formed powder room is tucked into the curves created by the new staircase.
Custom desk, Carrera by Design. Paloma bouclé armchair, Castlery. Platypus cushion, Freedom. Kyiv wall sconce, Gypset Cargo. Hourglass stool, Pucker marble vase and Brutus marble sculpture, Oz Design Furniture. Grange artwork by Justine Taylor. Studio carafe and tumbler set, Freedom.
Custom barbecue bench and seat, made by builder. Mowen concrete table, Terrazzo stools, Calypso striped bowls, Nuvolo dome and Vaso jute floor basket, Oz Design Furniture. Studio glassware, Soho cutlery and Puglia dinner set, Freedom. Tiny Checkers outdoor cushions, bamboo salad servers and Marina napkins, Bonnie and Neil. Premium umbrella in Flowers by Kane Lehanneur, Basil Bangs. Barbecue and bar fridge, Artusi. Pizza oven, Pizza Ovens R Us. Balmoral exterior floor tiles in Duck Egg and Seaforth exterior floor tiles in Beige, TileCloud.
Upstairs, the children’s bedrooms are separated by the main bathroom and are set into the corners of the house, allowing both to have windows on two sides.

Designed to grow with them, the colour palette in cool gelato hues along with more curves in the furniture lend a sense of softness.

Bondi floating bed base, Create Estate. Bedlinen and cushions, Sage x Clare. Speckle side table, Bonnie and Neil. Sculpture (in arch), Cascade candleholder and candles, all Oz Design Furniture.
Custom cabinetry by Carrera by Design in Dulux White Dune Quarter. Carrara Gioia stone benchtop, Talostone. Laufen Palomba vessel basin and Milli Pure tapware, Reece. Jenson mirror, Oz Design Furniture. Downlights and MFL by Masson Tanimi wall lights, Beacon Lighting. Fehn vase, Adairs. Vintage Wash hand towel, Saardé.
Cremorne wall tiles, Seaforth floor tiles in Beige and Balmoral floor tiles in Dusty Blush, all TileCloud. Kado Lussi freestanding bath and Milli Pure wall hooks, Reece. Pirouette window shades, Luxaflex.
The second study opens out to the new balcony with its restful views, and is furnished to facilitate multiple uses. But the pièce de résistance is the glamorous main bedroom suite with its exposed rafters, a generous day bed under the window and a luxurious ensuite and walk-in wardrobe.

While Lana, Bonnie and Erin correctly anticipated that this renovation – number 15 – would be the most challenging given the difficulty of getting materials up onto the site, all agree that it is one of their most spectacular transformations.

Three Birds Renovations, Sydney, NSW; threebirdsrenovations.com
Dawson bed, Castlery. Bedlinen, Cultiver. Flossy travertine side tables, Unrivalled Interiors. Everest wall sconces, Beacon Lighting. Bobby lamp, Rubble. Claude rug, Miss Amara. Calypso dish, Nuvolo bowl, and Bedouin cushions, all Oz Design Furniture. Pirouette shades and Amadora sheer curtain, all Luxaflex.
Custom cabinetry, Carrera by Design with Dot handles, Lo & Co. Valentine wall sconce, Klaylife.
Make-up table topped with Talostone White Onyx. Celine chair, Clo Studios. Candle, Bordeaux Candles.

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