YSG Studio has transformed a corner shop in Sydney’s Rozelle into a functional and beautiful family home.
The conversion of a 19th-century Victorian corner shop into a three-storey house is not your average project. “The challenge was transforming the traditional characteristics of the heritage layout with its original glass store frontage into a more pragmatic home for a family of four with a large dog,” Yasmine Ghoniem, principal of YSG Studio explains. The Sydney studio’s mantra is ‘for seekers of the unconventional’, so it would seem the stars were aligned when the owners engaged the edgy designers to revitalise the spaces that had been left devoid of personality by an earlier renovation.
A sunken lounge evolved to the left of the entrance due to the elevation of the kitchen. Moulded Marmorino plaster seating anchors the space while a custom-designed screen using handwoven fabric from Planet Furniture slides across to conceal the television. The living room features the Moebel Black Tie Island sofa and Plume wall light, daybed, rug and coffee table designed by YSG Studio and Missoni cushions. Artwork: Amanda Marburg ‘Goddess’, 2014 oil on linen, 125 x 90 cm, courtesy of Olsen Gallery.
Bush hammered salvaged granite steps lead up to the kitchen, which combines Poplar Burl veneer and a weighty leathered quartzite benchtop. The face of the island bench creates an entry corridor to the dining area without enclosing the space.
A custom pendant light combining a rectangular halo of Australian red cedar with carved Poplar burl cups hangs from the void in the dining room. Around the DK3 Ten table are Nau Molloy chairs, and on the table are a selection of Ann Demeulemeester accessories. Artwork: Zhuang Hong Yi ‘Flowerbed Colour Change’ 2020, acrylic & rice paper on canvas, 90 x 70cm courtesy of Piermarq. Sculpture – RR Enamelled steel sculpture from Rudi Rocket.
“Just as all monumental stars need a great supporting act, tactile finishes play to the splendour of the stone walls.”
– Yasmine Ghoniem
The Grazia & Co Mini Reeno bench, custom-designed table by YSG Studio and made by Med Marble and RBW Akoya pendant in the dining nook at the front of the home.
The big move was reconfiguring the spaces internally. “The owners had lived amongst its oddly configured dark and pokey rooms with no coherent navigation and were intent on colonising open space to create a combined kitchen, dining and living area in the original shopfront area as they had no formal living room on the ground floor,” Yasmine recalls.
The removal of a plasterboard clad sandstone wall to the rear of the kitchen facilitated this, and the kitchen was raised to the height of the dining room to enable a seamless transition between the spaces. Upstairs, the redundant living room became a master suite complete with ensuite and walk-in-robe. In addition, the former master bedroom was converted into a second spacious bathroom, while the existing small bathroom is now a library.
The formal lounge features the B&B Italia Tufty Time sofa by Patricia Urquiola, vintage Alky Chair and custom Tapetti rug designed by YSG Studio. Artwork: Paul Rousso The Colors of Sound, 2020, mixed media on hand-sculpted acrylic 76 x 122 x 13cm, courtesy of Piermarq.
Pieces in this space include the Ay Illuminate Doppio Grid pendant light and vintage table, floor lamp and chairs. Artwork: Lauren Kerjan ‘Two Way Turtle’ represented by Studio A (collection Rafaela Pandolfini) and Rune Christensen ‘My Little Pony #4’, 2019, oil pastel & acrylic on canvas (framed) 100 x 80 cm, both courtesy of Piermarq.
With a functional plan in place, Yasmine could wave her magic wand to create her signature mash-up of styles, materials and colours. “I was inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s delicate Art Nouveau flourishes and the quiet restraint of timber framing devices prevalent in traditional Japanese interiors,” Yasmine says, who utilised colour to link these seemingly jarring elements.
Blush pink adorns the steel entry screen, new kitchen bulkhead and vaulted fresco ceiling in the main bathroom. In contrast, the floorboards in the sunken lounge and floating threshold were stained ebony, in dialogue with the substantial leathered quartzite kitchen benchtop. Inspired by the stained-glass floral reliefs in the existing leadlight windows, jewel-coloured furnishings are scattered throughout.
The dreamy ensuite features a Volker Haug sconce, vanity in Corteccia marble from Euro Marble and a custom cabinet in American Ash made by Jonothan West. Flooring in Aren Bianco limestone from On Site completes the picture.
While the house has been completely transformed, it remains true to its heritage. Original features unearthed during the three-year process are celebrated, from the existing V-groove timber struts to the sandstone walls throughout. Yasmine has artfully provided a counterpoint with lashings of texture such as the bush-hammered granite steps, Poplar Burl veneer and wool boucle furniture.
“Just as all monumental stars need a great supporting act, tactile finishes play to the splendour of the stone walls,” Yasmine says, adding, “they softly intervene to avoid strong contrasts between old and new.” As a result, there’s an easy flow from the restored exterior to the reimagined interior and courtyard beyond, where unexpected combinations are linked by texture and cleverly consistent visual language.