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House Curious

Lifestyle and interior shop. Social workshops for the creatively curious.

House Destinations - Australia

Sommer Pyne

Photo by  Kevin Bosc

Photo by Kevin Bosc

We’re taking you on a journey around the globe as we share our favourite design led homes that are bursting with interior and architectural inspiration. Each week we’ll be visiting a new country, sharing hand-picked drool worthy homes for you to feast your eyes on. First up we’re starting with Sydney, Australia, my home town.

As a city Sydney has so many varying characteristics from chic city living to beachy vibes, laid back living, colonial history and a love of the outdoors. Mix this in with influences from Asia, UK and India as well as Australia's own hot and rugged landscape and you have an exciting and eclectic selection of interior trends to pull from when designing your own home. We have picked 4 home styles that represent this cocktail mix of interior design.

Photo - via BresicWhitney

Photo - via BresicWhitney

Spatium Warehouse

Annandale, Inner West, Sydney

First up is this industrial warehouse space that has been transformed into a multifunctional space. Cleverly designed to be used as a family home and a workspace. The building is located in Sydney’s Inner West suburb and was formally a 3 unit warehouse space with metal foundry and automotive workshop.

In November 2013 Joe Sidoti, acquired the property. Inspired by a passion to bring new life into it’s worn out walls. Joe’s vision was to transform this vacant warehouse into an exquisite family home and still respect and display it’s warehouse history.

Photo - via BresicWhitney

Photo - via BresicWhitney

Photo - via BresicWhitney

Photo - via BresicWhitney

The former warehouse in Annandale has been opened up to have a double height living and dining area which is flooded with natural light from the courtyard and terrace. A mezzanine floor links the bedrooms above. The history of the building has been uncovered and restored revealing the building's past. Windows have been restored and the structure has a raw industrial feel to it which is softened through the interiors and furnishings.

Photo - via BresicWhitney

Photo - via BresicWhitney

Photo - via BresicWhitney

Photo - via BresicWhitney

With bi-folds doors the interiors flow into the courtyard which is a key trend when it comes to properties in Australia, making the most of the great weather.

Photo by Prue Ruscoe and Robert Walsh via Madeleine Blanchfield

Photo by Prue Ruscoe and Robert Walsh via Madeleine Blanchfield

Queen’s Park House - Sydney

This home isn’t all that it seems from the offset. Based in a heritage conservation area in Sydney’s East suburb, the challenge from the homeowners to the architects was to give a modern update to the house whilst keeping the existing facade, so that the house continued to blend in with the houses on their tree lined street.

Photo by Prue Ruscoe and Robert Walsh via Madeleine Blanchfield

Photo by Prue Ruscoe and Robert Walsh via Madeleine Blanchfield

The architects kept the facade, plus the two front rooms and part of the roof form of the original home which seemed the most suitable for the street. By doing so the property flows and allows the two storey extension at the rear to remain somewhat concealed. The structure behind blends into the roof due to the clever use of the folded form and angles that merge with the existing slate roof.

Photo by Prue Ruscoe and Robert Walsh via Madeleine Blanchfield

Photo by Prue Ruscoe and Robert Walsh via Madeleine Blanchfield

There is a modern, open and airy feeling to the homes living areas that reaches out in to the garden. The rear of the property is lower creating 4m high ceilings which adds a different dimension to the property. Windows and glass feature throughout allowing light to flood in. A large cantilever over the veranda provides much needed shade from the Australian sunshine.

Photo by Prue Ruscoe and Robert Walsh via Madeleine Blanchfield

Photo by Prue Ruscoe and Robert Walsh via Madeleine Blanchfield

Photo by Prue Ruscoe and Robert Walsh via Madeleine Blanchfield

Photo by Prue Ruscoe and Robert Walsh via Madeleine Blanchfield

The materials and palette used on the exterior and interior have been quite simple with black, white and timber being key. The neutral interiors, mix natural wood, white walls and concrete floors. The properties furniture, fixtures and fittings follow suit and add softness with soft furnishing and a touch of luxury from the marble in the bathrooms.

Photo by Prue Ruscoe and Robert Walsh via Madeleine Blanchfield

Photo by Prue Ruscoe and Robert Walsh via Madeleine Blanchfield

This building really proves that you can keep original features or even the front of a house and blend it with a modern extension seamlessly. With simple updates at the front like the fence and paint refresh to tie up the look. It is simple but stunning.

Lana’s Forever home 

North Shore - Sydney

Our next property is Lana’s Forever home which was created by our favourite ladies Three birds Renovations and as we do with all their renovations, we fell in love with this home in Sydney's North Shore. It’s totally up our street and we want to move in.

The design has been influenced by the greek islands of Santorini and Mykonos and the modern hotels that keep popping up. There is such a huge trend at the moment for this modern boho look.. The property has gone through quite a transformation, however Lana has kept original features such as the front door, shutters and cornicing whilst adding the Three Birds stamp on it.

There is one key colour, white , which is used throughout the house from the walls, floors, and furniture. She mixes in accents of natural wood and marble for a luxury feel. There are splashes of soft colour which break up the monochromatic interiors. Blush pinks and oceanic blues are picked up in the soft furnishings, the rug in the living room which reminds Lana of the ocean and a fish scale tile wall in the bathroom that is a great statement feature. 

The indoor/outdoor feel was a non-negotiable for the property and is a theme in most Australian properties. And of course a stunning and inviting pool which was a late addition rounds off this stunning property.

Since the renovation and design process Lana shared a few words of advice in hindsight.

  • Be open to the opinions of others, a visiting tradesman remarked on extending the space to open up the living area which wasn’t part of the original plan. He had seen 100s more properties in his career and looked at the house with fresh eyes. 

  • Having your heart set on certain design features might not always work on the specific property. "I had my heart set on floor-to-ceiling mirrors in my room, as I thought it would open up the space and bring the outdoors in. I was so set on it that Bonnie had to stage an intervention! She said it was too modern and flashy and didn't suit the Mediterranean look. I was so annoyed at the time, but I knew that it didn't suit what I was trying to achieve so I had to let it go. Now, I have pure white wall with a beautiful piece of art on it and it's just perfection."

  • Re-evaluate what is important to you and how you’ll use the space when planning. "We have two kids, we're not having any more and we don't love having house guests – so we didn't need a guest room collecting dust and taking up valuable floor space,"


Ocean House

Great Ocean Road, Lorne, Victoria

Just 1hr and 45min drive out of Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road and you’ll find the Ocean House. It blends into the rugged wilderness surrounding it and sits above the crystal clear swirling ocean below, blink and you’d miss it. Designed by architecture company Robert Mills Architects and Interior Designers it is simply stunning.

Photo by Caitlin Mills

Photo by Caitlin Mills

Photo by Caitlin Mills

Photo by Caitlin Mills

Photo by Caitlin Mills

Photo by Caitlin Mills

The glass and timber pavilion really does sink into the landscape around it.  Complimented by the soft colours of the chalk-rubbed hardwood and polished concrete, the house features circular bedrooms, curved staircases, wrap-around terraces and a rooftop deck with an open-air bath, it’s a real place to escape. 

Ocean House by RMA | est living

Ocean House by RMA | est living

Ocean House by RMA | est living

Ocean House by RMA | est living

The interiors feature statement furniture pieces tie the exterior and interior together. Est magazine visited the Ocean House and wrote that ‘Sinking into the Piero Lissoni sofa to soak up the sea views is a sure treat when it comes to getting comfy at Ocean House. Other notable design objects to grace its halls are the Andrew Lowe table and Patricia Urquiola bed, as well as the lower floor curation of furniture by De Padova, Jardan and Eero Saarinen – some of Rob Mills’ favourite designers’.

Photo by Caitlin Mills

Photo by Caitlin Mills

We love the timber ceiling and how all the materials and design blend into the landscape. The biggest take away for me is to to draw inspiration and have respect for the natural surroundings. Everything works so beautifully together. You can tell that every detail has been carefully thought through even down to the soft furnishings that compliment the natural timber and polished concrete adding calming tones to this Ocean House.

Tune in next week as we reveal our next series on our global house tour x


Sommer Pyne

House Curious

House Curious

Ceviche salmon Larb with Lime Caviar

 Hands down this is one of my favourite dishes and it’s my take on a traditional Thai dish called Lamb Gai. It’s light but packs a punch in flavour. In true Thai style it’s spicy, sour, salty and a little sweet. The flavours literally dance on your tongue. Once you get the hang of it this is so simple to pull to together and is great for casual entertaining with a beer or as a starter to a three course meal. You can follow along with Sommer on IGTV but don’t forget to like or comment below.


1 extra large fillet of Sushi grade Salmon

Baby Gem lettuce washed and divided

1-2 Finger limes

Handful of fresh mint

Handful of fresh Coriander

2 x red chilli ( 1 if you don’t want it too spicy)

½ x shallot

½ x red onion

100ml Lemon Juice

100ml lime juice

Teaspoon of sugar or honey

Tablespoon of white wine vinegar

Tablespoon of Fish sauce.

For the garnish:

Finger Lime caviar

Fried onion

Chopped pistachios

Micro herbs

Lime wedges

House Curious

House Curious


1.     To make the marinade take the mint, coriander, red chilli, red onion, shallot and chop finely. Add all the chopped ingredients to a large bowl.

2.     Add the sugar, lemon juice, lime juice, white wine vinegar and fish sauce to the bowl, and give it a good mix. Taste and adjust the flavour as you need too and place to one side.

3.     On a clean board chop the salmon into small cubes.

4.     Add the salmon to the marinade and give it a good mix to ensure all the salmon is coated in the marinade and pop it in the fridge for 5 mins to work it’s magic.

5.     In the meantime, wash and divide the lettuce and prepare the garnishes.

6.     Assemble by placing the ceviche in the lettuce leaves and top with the garnishes. Cut in half the finger lime and squeeze out the pods and place on top.

 Enjoy x


House Curious

House Curious

Inspiration for your dream patio

Sommer Pyne

There’s nothing more satisfying in a garden than a beautiful patio. It’s the perfect platform for entertaining, relaxing and admiring your wonderful planting, not to mention your interesting garden features.

No matter what size your garden, a patio is a great way to make a design statement and increase the value of your home, and you’ll be sure to spend more time outside in the fresh air, so there are health benefits too.

So where do you start when it comes to designing the perfect patio for your home? There is so much scope when it comes to patio design. To ensure your patio is everything you want it to be and more, it’s a good idea to do plenty of research. You’ll need to think about size and colour scheme and how easy it will be to maintain, as well as position in your garden (it doesn’t have to be right next to your house). End of garden patios are a great idea.

Think about whether you want an intricate pattern or a minimalist, modern design? And you’ll need to decide on which materials you’d like to use, such as stone, pavers, bricks, flagstone or concrete. Don’t feel you have to stick with one monotonous material. If you are planning a large patio, you could break up areas with smaller units.

Perhaps you want to hire a professional or are you keen to take on the patio as a DIY project? These are all decisions you’ll need to make before you can bring your dream patio to life.

Here’s just the inspiration you need to iron out your ideas!

Think big, scale small

Take a look at some bigger projects by high-end garden designers for inspiration. It’s a great way to gather interesting ideas. Not all of the paving ideas will be suitable for a small project, but many will. Even discovering materials and bold colour schemes can be inspirational enough to set you on your own design path.

If you want a more modern take on the patio, why not replicate your kitchen flooring to create an outdoor kitchen and patio?

These tiled areas look modern, chic and add real interest to any contemporary garden. It proves that anything is possible! Patterned tiles, sawn limestone and polished concrete work well for modern patio schemes. For great tile options check out Topps Tiles, if you can stretch your budget we love Bert & May.

Gather ideas

Gather as many ideas as you can from home improvement and gardening magazines and websites. You can find some unique inspiration from others by using image sharing platforms like Pinterest. Start to build a picture of the type of patio style you would like and how you would like to use it. Will you be using your patio just as a platform for a couple of deck chairs? Or is your plan to have a dining table, outdoor kitchen and outdoor lounge?

Here are some great patio ideas to get you started:

Source:     Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

This large patio has been made with reclaimed slabs which makes a great feature with a bit more of a rustic feel if that is the look you are going for. Reclaimed weathered paving flags are another great idea if you would prefer your patio to look worn in than brand new.

Source:   Home Designing

This simple but expansive patio is divided by lawn into zones. And what a great idea to have one zone covered with a pergola to provide privacy and shade! See more creative ways to cover your patio here.

Source: House Curious designed by  Shelly Hugh-Jones

Source: House Curious designed by Shelly Hugh-Jones

Sometimes it’s all about the view. This simple concrete patio sets the scene. Anything more intricate would detract from the gorgeous landscape beyond.

Source :  Houzz

Source : Houzz

This pretty and cosy outdoor area includes an amazing firepit, which is just perfect for gathering around on cooler summer evenings.

Source:  Tuindesign

Source: Tuindesign

This delightful patio combines lush planting and a central water feature to make the setting both more serene and interesting. A water feature nestling into the patio is a great design feature. It creates a truly relaxing and meditative space to escape to and enjoy and is sure to wow your guests too.

Don’t forget to take inspiration from family and friends if they have patios. Garden shows are also a great source for inspiration. Good luck with the patio of your dreams!

Words by Annie Button.