Designing Craftsmanship Detailing In a Modern Heritage Home in Sydney 


One of the reasons I feel so drawn to heritage and period homes is the exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into building homes a century ago. Joinery, plaster detailing and glazing- the appetite for ornamentation was equalled in the care that craftsmen took in making these pieces.

When I came upon Bronte House, I was welcomed back by one of my favourite clients who was ready for the big renovation they’d been dreaming of for some time. A fun loving family, it was exciting to dream alongside them about what we could create in such a fantastic location.

With the exterior design and DA taken care of by the team at Smythe & Smythe, it came time for the interiors to be reimagined. The client was interested in a ‘Modern Australian Beach House’ aesthetic (which I loved!) and through the concept design, we gravitated towards a neutral and organic vibe with a bit of Spanish Mission architectural inspiration threading through the images that felt the most exciting. 

A Focus on Quality Craftsmanship in Design

I’ve always found myself deeply interested in trying to match the quality of any new construction with the robustness of the old. For Bronte house that meant working with local craftsmen to create one of a kind joinery and furniture, using materials in inventive ways, as well as sourcing unique vintage pieces to mix in with heirloom items and new pieces as well.

Some of the major components of this build were the curved plaster stair we collaborated on with Architect Maryanne Taskovski and the build team at Prekaro. Getting the radius of the stair just right was something that we spent a lot of time on together at site. 

A Merging of Worlds- Sourcing both Locally and Abroad

So much of what you see in this home was created locally with our partner craftsmen, but we also imported some of my favourite things from America as well (it can’t be helped, there is just so much beauty tucked into that corner of the world!) For Bronte House that meant this Rocky Mountain Hardware door hardware and also some of my favourite lighting from New York’s Apparatus Studio

“Adding to that sense of understated luxury, Jillian created unexpected moments of delights with one-of-a-kind inclusions, whether it be the imported lighting, handmade tiles, custom steel shower door or vintage pieces.” 
Sitchu Sydney

Ensuite Elegance: Where Luxury Meets Functionality

This ensuite was an absolute favourite- though it’s quick to just see the finished product, so much went into making it a reality! I just love the combination of these Zellige wall tiles, custom bronzed light boxes and Talisman sconces and the Viola marble. 

I also wish we had more images of these solid timber french sliding doors that divided the walk in wardrobe from the primary bedroom. The cross cutout details are so lovely along with the minimalist bronze hardware. I love how these came out! 

Lastly, this powder room- what a fun little jewel box! Powder rooms are the best excuse to go a bit wild. Here we created a custom muted inky blue plaster finish on the walls with Hermosa Finishes and added a floating Viola marble vanity, the Apparatus Studio Vanity Sconce and a vintage Italian mirror our client found on 1stDibs. Absolute perfection. 

Team Curation: Perfecting Every Detail Together

A big thank you to the collaborators we worked with on this project. It’s so important to ensure you’re partnered with a team that is as excited about the project as you are and are willing to go the extra mile necessary to ensure every finish is perfect! 

Photography by Pablo Veiga

Styling by Atelier Lab  

See the full Bronte House project below: