Sydney Sanctuary: Rich veins of colour bring modern warmth and serenity to a remodelled Darlinghurst flat

By Zaira Abbas
Feb 09, 2024

Overlooking the beautiful Sydney skyline and adjacent to the harbourside suburb of Woolloomooloo is this Darlinghurst apartment, an epitome of elegance and sophistication. It is located in a historic neighbourhood that has been revitalised, and likewise, this home is situated in a redeveloped period building.

The original layout of the flat was stripped and rebuilt to create a more open and contemporary flow, with outdated features replaced and rich colour and texture implemented throughout. The makeover, envisioned by Sydney-based Kaiko Design Interiors, reveals a practical and inviting space, reflecting the taste and needs of the homeowner who does enjoy entertaining but most of all seeks serenity.

A keen eye for detail and a commitment to excellence are evident throughout this stylish and functional haven. A key aim of the new layout was to transition from the buzz of the city into a home that provides a peaceful escape from its surroundings. This is achieved through the use of colour – darker, warmer hues dress the walls, floors and upholstery in a departure from the minimalistic approach of many of today’s living spaces, instilling a cosy, welcoming mood.

In addition, repeated lines and grooves were implemented in response to the building’s architecture, where external louvres of the façade cast dynamic shadows at different times of the day. These patterns are echoed throughout the apartment, becoming an essential design theme rather than just an occasional feature. They are reflected in the joinery, the wallpaper and the rugs and cushions.

The living room appears more spacious than its true size since a pair of glass walls frame the wide window that stretches along the top half of the far wall. This expanse of glass offers panoramic views of the neighbourhood that are revealed slowly as you move into the room, part of the deliberate gradual move from the peaceful inner sanctuary to energetic outside life. A spacious balcony adjoining the living area serves as an extension of the space and maximises its natural light.

Venetian blinds rather than curtains at the windows also lend brightness to the space, despite the plethora of dark colours. A large sectional sofa rests in the middle of the lounge, while the apertures serve as a backdrop for the sitting area. In a dynamic touch, a white checkered rug complements the dark wooden floor.

A fireplace and other concealed elements throughout the apartment bring a sense of luxury and subtle comfort. A bold emerald-green artwork on top of the fireplace gives the illusion of a large crumpled piece of paper and serves as a focal point upon entering the apartment. The open kitchen on one side of the living area continues the essential design statement of blending dark colours with natural tones. Here, marble slabs with prominent veining in cloud-like patterns create a mood that is both intimate and dramatic.

The solid-wood dining table is positioned in front of a large abstract painting, so the two contrasting pieces appear like an interesting installation. The metallic tones of two lustre lights hang low above the table, not only providing light for evening meals but also making the ceiling look higher and compensating for the absence of dropped ceilings in the flat.

The main bedroom is a dynamic space in which different things catch one’s attention each time you move through it. It extends into the balcony through a glass wall, which lets in abundant light or can be closed off entirely by a row of bronze curtains. This dark hue with a touch of shimmer matches the rich gleam of a colour palette spanning brown, cream and dark grey.

Ingrained with subtle swirls, the wallpaper behind the padded bed headboard adds layering and texture, and this motif is picked up on the floor by a decorative custom-made rug. The harmony of colour and texture offers a sense of immersion, which plays back to the designer’s original vision of creating a refuge from the city.

The doors of each room, including the bathroom, are as high as the wall, creating a sense of grandeur in this relatively small space.

Simply designed, the bathroom focuses equally on practicality and aesthetics, with dark floor tiles providing contrast to marble wall tiles and a plain white ceiling.

Despite their unique features and design, all the spaces in the flat have a common warmth enhanced by a clever weave of underlying patterns and textures. Affording an inviting respite from the vibrancy of city living, this home is a compelling blend of beauty, comfort and mystery. Photos: Kaiko Design Interiors – Darlinghurst Apartment