Tracy and Peter Fleming spent considerable time searching for the perfect spot to retire, and they found it in this Neutral Bay penthouse.
The couple loved the apartment’s size (enough to turn a third bedroom into a walk-in wardrobe for Tracy’s shoes… #goals !) and of course its views across Sydney Harbour from the outset, but considerable work was required to update the dated interiors. Luckily for Tracy and Peter, their son Jono Fleming is an interior designer, and together with Sophie Bowers of Strutt Studios, he came on board to transform the entire place!
Jono describes the apartment at the time of purchasing as a state of disarray. ‘A product of many years of cosmetic renovations, it had old ripped carpets, layers of wallpaper peeling, and cheap renovations that had dated,’ he says. Ordinarily, the designer would approach a project of this nature by knocking out walls and opening up the space, but a combination of low ceilings, budget limitations and body corporate restrictions meant a plan B needed pursuing.
In the end, the apartment’s staircase ended up influencing the entire spatial design scheme, calling for fluid curves and organic lines to be incorporated throughout. Jono and Sophie came up with the idea to curve off the ends of structural walls, enabling them to feel more intentional rather than an obstacle in the space. ‘The inclusion of these repeating curves connects each room and also brings a sense of comfort and creativity,’ says Jono.
The interiors had been subject to many cosmetic updates over the years, from a large raised marble platform in the living space, to an ‘80s gold and black bathroom, and a glossy teal kitchen. Given these mismatched details, Jono and Sophie decided the best solution was to strip these back entirely and start from scratch. Jono describes his vision for the space as ‘a bit quirky – something of a ‘90s New York penthouse filled with art and colour.’ The colour scheme was largely derived from the peachy Kelly Wearstler ‘Graffito’ wallpaper, with soft curves in the furniture choices adding to the retro aesthetic. The choice of statement sconces also plays into this scheme, selected in lieu of wall art and pendants due to the low ceilings. ‘The navy kitchen with the patterned tile was another way to add that artistic aesthetic to the home,’ says Jono.
One can’t talk about this home without mentioning the amazing rooftop overlooking Sydney Harbour… I mean!? This previously completely blank outdoor space was updated with potted hardy succulents and an outdoor kitchen to form the perfect entertainers haven…’especially come New Years Eve!’ adds Jono.
The opportunity to collaborate with Sophie from Strutt Studios was a highlight of this project for Jono, but nothing compares to seeing the enjoyment his parents get from the apartment. ‘It was a very personal project… To see my parents loving the space is all I could ask for!’
Visit Jono Fleming’s website and listen to his podcast House Of Style, featuring conversations with prominent Australian design figures. You can see more Strutt Studios projects on their website, and revisit our feature on founder Sophie Bowers’ home here!