- Article by Jan Henderson
Renowned for her hospitality projects, Pascale Gomes-McNabb is also an expert designer of residential interiors. In this Sydney warehouse, Gomes-McNabb has created a beautifully resolved interior design that is both elegant and practical.
Inner city living can sometimes present challenges. Generally, there are smaller interior spaces to inhabit and this requires the designer to work hard to enhance place and provide comfort. From restriction can come creative solutions, however, and some of the most beautiful interiors have been born from the need to be imaginative, resourceful and inventive.
With Sydney warehouse, the spatial footprint was challenging; however, the design Pascale Gomes-McNabb, principal of Pascale Gomes- McNabb Design, has achieved is a resounding success, utilising every space and creating a light-filled environment with all details perfectly in keeping with the ideas of fine design. This residence is one of three homes positioned side-by-side within a large inner city Sydney warehouse.
The floor area is a long narrow rectangle, barely five metres wide and 26 metres long, with public and entertaining areas on the ground floor and bedrooms and study on the level above. Gomes-McNabb has maintained an urban warehouse feel by retaining the raw brick walls throughout and leaving service pipes exposed, affixed to the sealed concrete ceiling on the ground floor.
There is a light grey polished concrete floor with white aggregate and this utilitarian material complements the mortar within the brick walls. The interior has been designed to complement the sophisticated lifestyle of the client and every utility has been incorporated through careful planning and spatial management. For example, instead of the usual long side corridor from front to back, Gomes-McNabb has designed a vestibule that separates the entry from the house proper.
This is a small design inclusion, but one that breaks up the length of the space, offers privacy and also excites the imagination as to what lies ahead. And then there is the placement of the floating folded steel staircase to the level above. Located in the middle and to the side of the floor plan, the stair is ‘contained’ by perforated metal walls.
Using this material allows light to penetrate but also affords glimpses through and beyond the stair to the rear of the house. There is also a powder room tiled in glass mosaic tiles in a startling bright yellow (the client’s favourite colour) incorporated beneath the stairwell. Opposite is a large courtyard that brings the outside in and separates the living areas at the front of the residence from the kitchen and dining areas at the rear. This becomes a void and, cleverly, Gomes- McNabb has mirrored the walls of this space so that maximum light is reflected to the upstairs.
The first level and sleeping quarters are designed with pared back luxury in mind. Engineered oak timber flooring, soft drapery and smoky dark timber veneer within the master suite define good taste and afford tranquility within this urban oasis. Fine brass fixtures and fittings have been specified and the burnished gold adds pizzazz to the general colour palette of white, honey, soft grey and dark chocolate brown with splashes of black.
Perforated steel walls have been positioned around the void to separate the various rooms and the inclusion of this material adds gravitas to the interior design. There are two bedrooms on either side of a bathroom at one end, a study in the middle and the master suite beyond. Gomes-McNabb has again used mirror in the bathrooms to increase volume and light, and the addition of brass taps and showerhead complements the white bright interior.
As an inner city apartment this is one of the best and would not be out of place in New York, London or Paris. Every amenity is included and there is even a two-car garage at the very rear of the property. Although the width of the house is modest, there is a generosity within the design that creates a spaciousness and easy flow. The interior style is minimal; however, large striking art installations have been strategically placed to complement the four-metre ceiling height and augment the colour palette. Gomes-McNabb brings restraint and finesse to this project and the outcome is perfect inner city living.
Photography by Murray Fredericks