For interior designer Talia Nemes, the brief for two family homes that were visually connected, yet uniquely individual, gave the designer an opportunity to dive into the Poliform collection of furniture, kitchen and wardrobe joinery, and choose materials, colours and textures that would weave the projects together.
Located on a panoramic site in Rose Bay, Sydney, both projects express the specificities and personality of each family, while offering communal spaces that are connected and enjoyed by the three generations.
Q: Talia, what were the challenges designing for a multigenerational family and a brief that involved two homes side-by-side?
Talia: Whilst we wanted the homes to be multigenerational, the family also wanted completely different design aesthetics. At the same time each had a say in how the other house worked because they would be using the houses together so they also needed a connection and that was challenging. For example, one of the clients grew up in Australia and was happy to have his house furnished and designed in a typically Sydney way, quite relaxed and tonal with highlights of marble. Whereas his mother wanted to replicate her kitchen in China and bring in lots of pattern in the stone, wood and grain. So each house has its own personality, they were two clients from different generations and cultural influences so the interiors needed to respond in that way.
Q: It was a big and complex project, what was the design process?
Talia: The interiors were a mammoth task because at that stage the clients were in China and couldn’t get back into Australia because of covid so it all happened remotely. I designed all the interiors, from floors to lighting, selected all the materials and the joinery and furniture package with Poliform. It was a very big project but the hardest part was not having the clients here. Material samples of timber and marble look very different over a video call, especially the texture and feel, so I was very fortunate the clients had complete trust and gave me free range with everything, including the design of a series of lighting pendents.
The architecture is magnificent so that influenced my furniture and material choices because it is very important to marry the interior with the exterior. One of the clients has a young family and they wanted a home that was practical and grounded, and I wanted to be able to show off the view, the curves and angles of the architecture, but at the same time I didn’t want the home to feel like a museum. I wanted it to feel inviting and warm and cosy. We achieved warmth through the Poliform furniture and the combinations of textures and materials and joinery. With the larger spaces we added rugs that are almost the most important thing because they define and ground each space.
Q: You worked across the Poliform collection, what were some of the special customisations, and your favourite interior details?
Talia: In one of the kitchens we designed an island and backsplash made in Calacatta marble to match the Poliform kitchen joinery, and we then customised it to create the hidden pantry. For the client’s mother, we designed a few more concealed details like the shoe cupboard that integrates Poliform joinery. I love the powder room with its curved wall behind the vanity and I found a magnificent fluted Carrara marble tile that enhances that curve. For the rest of the space we chose a plain Carrara marble which just looks phenomenal, along with touches of bronze which is the predominant metal detail throughout the house. There are so many beautiful details, even the staircase is a piece of art. I would be happy to stand there all day it’s so gorgeous.
Photography by Tom Ferguson
Architecture by Stafford Architecture
Interior Furnishings by Poliform Australia
Build by Blue Label Construction
Interior Design by Talia Nemes, Blue Label Design
Landscape Design by Christopher Owen and Blue Label Construction
Production by The Local Project