Home to the co-caption of the Sydney Swans AFL team Luke Parker, and his partner Kate Lawrence, this new duplex build is situated in the city’s eastern suburbs. Developed by interior designer Kate and part-time property lover Luke, the couple reside in one duplex and lease the other one out.
“We wanted the property to have a modern aesthetic but still a nod to the coast through the colours and materials,” says Kate, who worked alongside the architectural firm Arkhaus on the design of the properties. For the interiors, Kate designed two quite different schemes – one is quite dark while the other is a lighter affair.
“The dark side is more reflective of mine and Luke’s personal style, but I knew the light side would be more universally appealing, making it perfect for an investment property.” She specified Venetian plaster, black timber kitchen cabinetry and concrete bench tops in her home, leaving the lighter tones for nextdoor.
Kate’s kitchen features Navurban New Aged Veneer in Ravenswood, benchtops in Caesarstone Cloudburst Concrete and ABI Interiors tapware in gunmetal grey. The kitchen nextdoor features limewashed oak cabinetry, Caesarstone Primordia bench tops and ABI Interiors brushed nickel tapware.
When it came to the bathroom in Kate’s house, she experimented with Venetian plaster. “Although it was nearly double the cost of using tiles, the maintenance and cleaning aspect of it made it justifiable for the long term. Well at least that is what I told myself at the time. And would I do it again? Absolutely!”
To counter the spend on the plaster, Kate put IKEA wardrobes in both homes which saved her over $10,000. “We had the carpenter frame around the wardrobes to achieve that built in look. I would definitely do this again,” says Kate.
Perfect for outdoor entertaining, each duplex has a pool in the backyard but it’s not obvious that they are part of the one structure. To maximise yard size and minimise costs, Kate enlisted pool company Blue Haven to insert one shell and build a dividing wall through the middle. “This saved us nearly $30,000 given we had one pool for two homes,” says Kate.
This wasn’t the only thoughtful design aspect – much consideration was given to the shared wall between the properties. “When designing a duplex, I think it’s smart to consider what joining walls you and your neighbour will share. Our staircase is our common wall which means no other rooms share a wall. It really helps you feel like you are in a freestanding home,” says Kate.
Before commencing this project, Kate and Luke had only ever renovated single properties – a knockdown and rebuild of two new homes was entirely new territory for the couple. “I’m proud of how smoothly our first project went and I attribute this to the amazing team we built around us. It went so well that we are doing it all over again which I guess says it all!”