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Hamel Rocks the Terrace World

Thursday, 04th August 2011

He's worked on some of the most palatial homes in the USW and Australia, yet internationally-renowned interior designer Thomas Hamel admits to being honoured to have been entrusted to decorate a brand new terrace in Sydney's most historic precinct - The Rocks.

He’s worked on some of the most palatial homes in the USA and Australia, yet internationally-renowned interior designer Thomas Hamel admits to being honoured to have been entrusted to decorate a brand new terrace in Sydney’s most historic precinct – The Rocks. The grand three-bedroom, four-bathroom terrace is one of five crafted on the upper two levels of a Federation-style warehouse used by the famous Reynell wine-making company to store its produce until the 1950s. The heritage-listed Walter Reynell & Sons building has frontages to both Gloucester Street and Cumberland Street. “The terraces are located where the First Fleeters settled, so this area holds special significance to all Australians,” said Hamel, an ex-New Yorker who established his design practice in Sydney in 1991. “I feel privileged to have had the chance to be involved.” The Rocks is always in demand but opportunities are scarce. Even rarer is a new terrace of this proportion and free-flowing space, with such added bonuses as secure parking for two cars, rooftop gardens, a library, use of an indoor heated lap pool and gymnasium, a concierge and an on-site building manager. The terrace is 201sqm and gains filtered views through Gloucester Street’s elegant canopy of trees. It is a modern interpretation of the much-loved Victorian terrace, being seven-metres (23-feet) wide and boasting such eye-catching features as an 8 metre-high (27-feet) glass atrium that bathes the interiors in natural light. “My decoration intent was to maintain a clean contemporary feeling with the furnishings, and add a layer of sophistication and interest to give the terrace world class credentials,” said Hamel. “We set out to convey the terrace as a home fit for a ‘citizen of the world with a discerning eye for the finer things in life’, and brought together design elements from Asia, Italy and the USA. “We started with a B&B Italia modular sofa in the sitting area and added bespoke coffee tables and a hand-designed dining table. Italian leather dining chairs add the required comfort level. “We sourced hand-woven tribal carpets in natural dyed tones from Melbourne’s Behruz Studio to add texture and plushness over the wide solid European Smoked Oak floorboards.” The triple-storey, timber-clad glass atrium over the dining and living rooms was ideal for Hamel to embellish – and he hasn’t disappointed, hanging a sculptural light fitting that adds drama to the interiors. “Local lighting design company, Diffuse, brought our vision to life with asymmetrical bronze metal rods and hand blown glass balls, all approximately 3.5 metres high,” said Hamel. The three generous bedrooms - all located upstairs - are private havens so serene it’s hard to comprehend they’re in the heart of Sydney’s most invigorating precinct. Each has an opulent ensuite of lustrous white-veined marble, while there is a guest powder room downstairs. “We wallpapered some of the rooms to add a subtle layer of texture and to soften the ‘new building’ feeling of the terrace,” said Hamel. “Accessories are an important aspect of making this terrace into a world class home so we went to great effort to collect objects and books that convey this feeling.” The terrace fuses classical elements with penthouse-style finishes, such as Zimbabwe Black granite benchtops and stair treads, and glass balustrades and staircase surrounds. The open-plan kitchen is a mixture of practicality and opulence, with top-of-the-range Miele appliances, including an integrated refrigerator/freezer, wall-mounted steamer, oven, microwave and Vintex wine fridge. “The Reynell Terraces combine the vibrancy of New York, the leafy charms of Paris, the urban sophistication of London and the true heritage of Sydney,” said Murray Wood of Colliers International. “They have plenty of space and storage, good security, and the location is energising. The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority has injected even more life into the precinct by transforming the southern end of Cumberland Street into a landscaped plaza.” The Reynell Terraces adjoin the 30-storey, 122-apartment Stamford Residences, which is the last approved high-rise development in The Rocks Urban Conservation Area. Demand has been extraordinary, with only seven of these luxurious apartments and penthouses remaining. Inspections of the The Reynell Terraces can be made by appointment through Colin Griffin of Colliers International on 0419 233 689. More information is available on: www.gloucesterstreet.com.au

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