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Ali Griffith’s Sydney Home | Milkbottle

Ali Griffith's Sydney Home

A generous family home that draws inspiration from its laidback beach-meets-city surrounds. That was Ali Griffith’s desire when she designed and renovated this sunny four-bedroom bungalow on Sydney’s northern beaches. So note-perfect is the home’s laidback appeal, it’s hard to believe Ali, an art director and stylist, grew up in the English countryside. A self-confessed “gypsy”, she spent her childhood climbing trees and building dens in the local woods.

As an adult, Ali moved to London and cut her design teeth as a fashion editor and freelance stylist. Work brought her to Australia; the warm weather and Sydney’s beaches and outdoors lifestyle kept her here. “I came over to do a couple of shoots and loved it,” says Ali. “It’s such a beautiful country.” The house, located just minutes from pretty Avalon Beach, was somewhat uninspiring when Ali first found it in 2002. “It was an ugly, brick-rendered bungalow with a horrible flat-roofed extension out the back and a treated pine balcony with steps down to the garden,” she says. “But I liked the land and the shape of the front of the house was fairly appealing. It had bones I knew I could work with.”

After five years living in the house, Ali began the renovation. During the project, local builder Michael Beukers of Beukers Building offered his expert advice, resulting in some smart design features and cost savings. “He’s an amazing builder and his communication skills with the client are wonderful,” says Ali. “There were no blow-outs.”

Indeed, so successful was their partnership, Ali and Michael now work together to design and renovate other people’s homes. For this house, Ali reconfigured the front section, converting the laundry into an ensuite and walk-in wardrobe off the master bedroom and knocking down the original kitchen to create the generous passageway that leads to the open-plan living, dining and kitchen area. “I wanted to create the dream property for the lifestyle of Sydney’s northern beaches,” says Ali. “I listed off everything that would be ideal for this kind of lifestyle – big kitchen, separate entertaining area, walk-in pantry.” Outside, a decked pool and four-poster daybed are a cool alternative to a dip in the ocean.

Breakfast nook: This comfy spot is a favourite with daughters Lucy and lola, who do their homework while Ali watches on from the kitchen. Yellow David Tuckey storage boxes double as stools, and the banquette seating features slide-out drawers to hide away the girls’ paper and art supplies. The view from the living room towards the kitchen
left Breakfast nook: This comfy spot is a favourite with daughters Lucy and lola, who do their homework while Ali watches on from the kitchen. Yellow David Tuckey storage boxes double as stools, and the banquette seating features slide-out drawers to hide away the girls’ paper and art supplies.
right The view from the living room towards the kitchen
Living area: Vintage film posters, framed photos, delicate ceramics and driftwood picked up from the beach add warmth and homeliness to the large, open-plan living area. The cabinetry was all custom-made and finished with a shimmery concrete surface.  A feature wall of floral wallpaper from Today Interiors frames a statement artwork from David Bromley. The pendant light is by David Trubridge. “I get inspired by the light,” says Ali. “I start off wanting to stay as neutral as possible, then add a little colour.” Detail in the kitchen
left Living area: Vintage film posters, framed photos, delicate ceramics and driftwood picked up from the beach add warmth and homeliness to the large, open-plan living area. The cabinetry was all custom-made and finished with a shimmery concrete surface. A feature wall of floral wallpaper from Today Interiors frames a statement artwork from David Bromley. The pendant light is by David Trubridge. “I get inspired by the light,” says Ali. “I start off wanting to stay as neutral as possible, then add a little colour.”
right Detail in the kitchen

Images: Prue Ruscoe via Taverne Agency

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