Australia’s most recent ultra-luxe eco-resort located at Evan’s Lookout amid the UNESCO world heritage Blue Mountains National Park, in the pretty alpine village of Blackheath.
Presenting luxury in harmony with its natural surrounds, Chalets at Blackheath is a boutique retreat that sits on 17 acres of bushland.
Previously Jemby Rinjah eco-lodge, a popular, award-winning wilderness getaway – the ownership dramatically changed in December 2019 when it was destroyed by the bushfires. The new owners rebuilt with a vision to establish a bush escape combining eco-conscious values with luxury and comfort on the seven-hectare site & the luxe eco-resort Chalets at Blackheath was born.
To revive the charred land was an extensive collaborative project. The owners worked closely with local experts, ecologists, and bush regenerators to restore the property sensitively. Hundreds of indigenous plants sprouting from the charred earth were gently removed so they could be cared for in a nursery during construction before being planted back when strong enough.
It was crucial an intrinsic connection between the occupants and the surrounding natural environment was created so the design was focused on a biophilic approach.
We wanted to create an atmospheric, dreamy space to relax and unwind; reconnect with nature whilst in the same breathe, excite guests to explore & enjoy the breathtaking wilderness at their doorstep.
Architecturally, the cabin exteriors are enfolded by charred timber speaks of a legacy past. The Shou Sugi Ban is a reminder that the natural world reigns supreme and the chalets, a place to reconnect with the natural world and explore; thus the selection of materials were kept organic and tactile, truly sympathetic to denote the connection to the land.
The interiors incorporate a fusion of modern Australian aesthetics, with two global sensibilities which are both strongly connected to the core defining elements we strived for with the chalets design; the notions of Wabi Sabi – beauty in the imperfect & Scandinavian minimalism, simplicity and functionality without sacrificing beauty to create this chalets unique Je ne sais quoi.
Lofty ceilings open wide to the bush drawing focus to the blackbutt timber frames and the hemp imbedded clay plaster which cocoons the walls.
Warmed by the cast iron Cheminees Philippe fireplace, each cabin features its own unique earthen rendered bed head wall – Cleverly hand crafted with pebbles and surrounding earth by Sydney artesian Tadelakt Sydney, these striking masterpieces ground and unifies each cabin.
Oversized ensuite bathrooms smoothly formed in limestone render wraps around a terracotta twin shower cove & recessed backlit mirrors.
The snug library offers extra creature comforts, community, local reads and feeds.
Exciting plans to develop the grounds & luxe experiences around Chalets at Blackheath are to come. Exploration never felt so good!
Builder by Maple Leef Design & Construct
Architecture by James Southern
Special Finishes by Tadelakt Sydney
Landscaping by Garden Life
Outdoor sensory experiences by Therese Moussa, The Grounds
Photography by Dominic Loneragan & Details by Natasha Lorenzen
Rockcote Marrakech Ensuites by Custom Finishes Sydney
Window Treatments by Blinds By Peter Meyer & Piega Window Furnishings
Materials + Inspiration
2099 Dee Why
Conceptually, less is always more, so we wanted to pare back the design and allow the natural, tactile finishes to speak for themselves.
This beautiful house was originally designed by SuperSoma architects in early 2000, with aesthetic heavily influenced by a combination of East and West. The core bones of the house remained strong, however the three bathrooms had been untouched and there were certainly other areas in need of reviving.
The aesthetic intent was to modernise the interiors for a sophisticated Australian coastal lifestyle with organic textures and tactile layers. We also wanted to keep practicality in mind whilst bringing this transitionary house to life.
And so the journey began!
Joining forces with Ellwood Building Co, the exterior is given a facelift with a modern twist: vertical weatherboard cladding adds essential texture to the exterior whilst the sandstone clad fence (installed by the client!) creates impact and offers true street presence.
The sandstone cladding continues inside, framing the freestanding fireplace which was also lovingly installed by the client.
The entrance hall remained as originally intended; inviting pause and contemplation before flowing into the heart of the home where spacious open-plan living awaits.
Modelled on a traditional Japanese genkan, it inspires one to “leave everything behind” before entering the inner sanctuary.
With breathtaking coastal views over coveted Curl Curl Beach, entertaining areas rest on split levels, allowing one to engage with the view in multiple ways. Light and airy, the open-plan design is layered with natural oak, sandstone clad fireplace and concrete, so only a few clever tweaks were required to take this seriously relaxed rustic beach abode to the next level.
The bathrooms were in desperate need of adequate storage, ventilation, waterproofing and a layout rejig. Our clients were super hands-on so we had lots of fun procuring finishes & decorative elements together. The results were both fit for use yet pleasingly chosen from outside our clients’ typical comfort zones.
The parents’ retreat upstairs was entirely refreshed. Soft textural curtains and custom study nook were installed, and the bedhead repainted in a soft French grey so there was a harmonious flow throughout. The ensuite features an oversized mirror which reflects light and creates a striking depth to the space.
The biggest design challenge was the dark lower-level integrated laundry / bathroom. With a large, underutilised footprint, this once humid laundry needed an overhaul so it could become inviting and serene, rather than hidden away.
New ventilation was ducted outside, laundry hamper drawers were installed and fixtures were neatly repositioned to stand proud beneath the bench which allowed us to integrate a brass hanging rail and open shelves.
We pared back the design and allowed the finishes to speak for themselves: arctic white Corian vanity tops waterfall towards a Japanese soak bath, cascading down the bath facing to finish on one beautiful, curved step. Natural oak, and non-marking PVD brass fixtures compliment the calming seafoam-green tiles.
Guidance on art, finishing elements and clever little styling tweaks were implemented to add essential textural layers so that both inside and out were consistently resolved.
On completion, the whole house felt revived and the clients could enjoy it while embracing their completely new lease on life.
A classically beautiful yet challenging Sydney terrace house with a narrow footprint, this home was transformed to ensure a sense of light and space whilst comfortably accommodating a family of five.
The dining area, which doubles as a thoroughfare, was furnished with modern classics to create a central feature – a round Zuster table and custom Thonet chairs upholstered in an autumnal Missoni print.
The open plan living at the rear of the terrace house was kept white in order to bounce light around the space and suggest an ethereal feel. It also allowed us to layer textures, patterns, and rich colours within the furnishings, which complimented the art.
The living area showcases Jardan’s Andy sofa in a dark indigo velvet and an Arana swivel armchair in French raspberry linen. White linen curtains billow out onto a charcoal rear courtyard, creating a focal point whilst allowing a harmonious flow inside and out.
The stairs maximise storage and offer a desk niche for home work, while the sheer soft Roman linen blind lets in light yet offers privacy from nearby neighbours.
The main bedroom was transformed into a dark and cosy space, allowing the gloss white fireplace and the vibrant rich Etamine cotton sateen paisley bedhead to truly shine.
Materials + Inspiration
Tackling an extensive renovation of this well-loved Federation-style home afforded the opportunity to contemporise the flow and repurpose existing spaces so my client could fall in love again with their beautifully positioned family home and enjoy again for many more years to come.
Forging old with new, we found ways to retain the old pieces whilst incorporating new. Beautiful Cedar timber was a prominent architectural feature of the house, which the client had an emotional connection to, so we have to devise a plan to cool down some of the warmth balance out the cedar, so it was showcased without being overwhelming.
Ellis Lane Painting revived the exterior façade with a fresh colour scheme we recreated a commanding entrance to the grand old family home.
Internally we reinstated the formal entry hall and central staircase by removing old carpet, painting balustrades and accented the lovely stained-glass transition with curated artworks.
Thoughtfully selected finishes were selected to added depth and texture; grasscloth wallpaper, soft French shimmery blues combined with velvets, hand-dyed linens all grounded by Robyn Cosgrove hand knotted woollen rugs and vintage marble tables.
Once the renovation was complete, we pulled out all their cherished art, rehung + reconfigured them in new locations so that even old pieces they were so used to gazing upon felt entirely fresh and new.
Materials + Inspiration
Nestled in bushland yet moments to the city, this new build in Cammeray was a gem worth waiting for. The clients were downsizing, finally free to enjoy the luxuries of their hard work, so we made the most of our time together planning the perfect pieces to tailor their new home. This collaborative approach allowed us to layer the apartment with nods of nostalgia and highly personal touches.
A spectacular view out to the bushland was the muse for this design. We wanted the interiors to hold their own while allowing nature to sing via unobscured views. Tactile off-white sheer wool curtains beckon the eye outward, past dark silhouetted furniture on the balcony and beyond to the sage-green bush aspect.
Natural linens, distressed caramel leather and organic prints with tribal embroidery comfortably adorn the living area behind which glimpses of the cheerfully dreamy main bedroom appear.
Textured Phillip Jeffries grasscloth wallpaper lines the main bedroom walls, layered with a shaped bedhead upholstered in a classic Schumacher linen print.
2011 Potts Point
With sweeping high ceilings and a breath-taking view over Sydney city, this oversized Potts Point penthouse mezzanine apartment had been untouched for many decades and presented numerous logistical obstacles.
With lofty dreams of a contemporary black New York loft style kitchen, intrinsic details infused a modern vision with the nostalgia of existing English furniture. The key objective for this two-storey apartment renovation was to showcase the new whilst maintaining oldworld charm in a sophisticated, cohesive way.
Playing with the concept of darkness and light: crisp white walls, black Japan floors and gloss black oversized window architraves frame the foundations.
Upon entry, handmade glass and natural brass pendant lights hover above a burnished bronze kitchen island like a cloud, lightweight in comparison to the matt black Italian porcelain that weaves its ochre veins along the benchtops and the black caviar veneer fronted cabinets.
The darkness of the kitchen is offset on one side by the richness of the original Victorian rouge coloured marble fireplace, and to the other, the prominent white staircase angling skyward.
The tired federation balcony tiles were replaced with rich coloured porcelain Micro. tiles laid in a sympathetic pattern to acknowledge the past whilst adding a modern textural twist.
Materials + Inspiration
This Spanish Mission style house with a commanding view over Middle Harbour has been sensitively recreated into a playfully relaxed, coastal retreat. In collaboration with MCK Architecture, this family home underwent major excavation and renovation, while maintaining a strong connection to the land. Utilising clever transitions, organic curves and tactile materials, this house was completely transformed into a spirited family home.
Critical considerations were taken to ensure this young family would be able to enjoy a timeless, elegant space with the confidence that the finishes and fixtures were durable enough to withstand the tests of time.
Terracotta herringbone tiles flow out via oversized arched French doors to the Cycladic white exterior, aqua pool and beyond. The renovation maximises expansive views, connects the house to surrounding bushland, and facilitates the idyllic outdoor lifestyle that Sydneysiders revel in.
Upstairs the challenge was to redesign the main bedroom, ensuite and robe. Nestled at the back of the house with limited light, we needed to maximise sunlight and ultimately create a ‘special’ feel. By opening up the entire space, with seamless and organic finishes, we created a truly spacious adult getaway.
Unadulterated materials were selected to create pared back simplicity. Natural oak, rattan, brass and reeded glass were combined so that the pièce de résistance – Tadelakt – could truly shine. Hand carved and moulded, this ancient Moroccan limeplaster envelopes all walls, floor and vanity in their entirety.
Authentic materials are continued throughout: the kitchen contains ochre patterned encaustic tile floors, mixed marble mosaics and natural oak which encase the freestanding Smeg Portofino cooktop and rangehood.
A freestanding stone bath stands proud on soft green colour microcement in the main bathroom, whilst the curved shower niche showcases handmade French grey glazed zellige clay tiles.
To finish off the house there is a fun surprise in the guest bathroom. The tiny space is covered floor to ceiling with an over-scale Arte flamingo-patterned wallpaper.