When Briar Stanley moved into her Northern Beaches apartment eight years ago, her kitchen and dining space became a mental work-in-progress. As a former set dresser and now interior decorator, she was quick to spot its potential, and began planning a space that was inviting, relaxed, and spacious. After 12 weeks of renovations last year, her vision finally came to life, and the new and improved kitchen/living/dining area has become the heart of this beachside home.
The open-plan design is a far cry from its previous boxed-in look. ‘We spend most of our time in this area. My husband is a keen cook and Sunday is always our shadow, so we live in very close quarters. The layout update and removal of clutter works really well for us’, says Briar. Its seamless flow makes for easy entertaining, too, and it’s no surprise to find guests milling around the breakfast bar. ‘At first we weren’t sure about including the bench seating in the kitchen, but we’re so glad we did.’
milling around the breakfast bar.’
It’s what you can’t see that really sparks our interest here. Behind the cabinets that run the length of the kitchen and living room is a hidden office nook. What the creative haven lacks in size it makes up for in functionality, providing a dedicated workspace for Briar. When it’s not in use, the work hub is almost non-existent behind its pocket doors leaving the room with a seamless finish.
This same hidden intelligence is found in the kitchen, too, where multiple large drawers are fitted under the benches to store everything from cutlery and crockery to pots and pans. ‘I also love the built-in bins under our sink and the corner pantry that stores so much I sometimes forget what’s even in there.’
‘I’ve always loved classic Scandinavian interiors, yet I also like to live with quite a bit of colour,’ says Briar when describing her style. ‘Our home is a mixture of collected objects, furniture, and art accumulated along the way with a coastal influence as we’re so close to the beach.’ A blank canvas of whites and plenty of natural night sets the mood for this look, with the help of new floorboards in natural light oak and timeless finishes.
On the built-in shelving you’ll spy an evolving assortment of thrift shop and antique finds. ‘I’m always updating things on display,’ she says, no doubt indulging a past spent trawling second-hand stores as a former set buyer. Resting on the console is one special keepsake: a vintage garden pelican from the couple’s first house purchase. It sits in front of a mesmerising Kara Rosenlund photographic print that anchors the dining room.
It’s these quirks and subtle touches that are the icing on the cake for this renovation. And by working with a smart formula, the light and bright results are an inspired canvas for everyday living and personalised style to blossom.
‘I’ve always loved classic Scandinavian interiors,
and like to live with a bit of colour.’
© 2016 The Home
Photography: Dara Tippapart