When Phillip Alphonse purchased this apartment inside a circa 1910 building in Sydney’s McMahons Point, it hadn’t been renovated in over 40 years save for a cheap bathroom makeover. The home had layout issues, three different floor surfaces, exposed pipes and electrical wiring and an unusable kitchen. But Phillip could see the potential in its beautiful 3.2 metre coffered and ornate ceilings and gorgeous harbour views.
“The apartment is surrounded by gum trees so it felt like somewhat of a treehouse which I liked. I knew I had stumbled on a really special space that was just crying out for attention,” says Phillip who set about renovating the apartment with his mother Vanessa Alphonse, an interior designer.
Formerly a corporate lawyer, Phillip has made a COVID-inspired pivot to build an interior design career with his mother – the duo have set up AlphaMade, a design and build company focussed on luxury dwellings in Sydney and surrounds.
“Along with many people around Australia and the world, the COVID lockdown gave me some time to reflect on my life path at that point in time and made me confront the fact that the law wasn’t necessarily my true calling,” says Phillip who has always been fascinated by architecture and design. And while on the lookout for his first creative outlet, he thinks the apartment entered his life at just the right time.
“Mum and I have always shared a love for architecture and design and much of my tastes have been influenced by her. It only made sense after I purchased this rundown apartment that we would set out to renovate it together,” says Phillip.
The duo decided they wanted to turn the abode into a grand European inspired apartment with a contemporary Australian touch. The surrounding water and gum trees informed some of the design decisions including the use of timber and shades of green and blue. “The grandeur was infused into the home with mouldings, elaborate light fittings, chevron floors, ceiling roses and marble. Overall, I think we really hit the brief as the home is modern whilst retaining character and a quintessentially Australian feel.”
And while a lot of money was spent on new timber floors, custom joinery and marble, Phillip feels that it’s the apartment’s Intrim mouldings that provided the greatest bang for buck. “The mouldings easily get the most compliments and, in my opinion, made the most impactful difference,” says Phillip. The effect of the new mouldings can be most keenly felt in the living room where full wall mouldings complement the existing coffered ceiling.
Mouldings were also integral in creating a secret door through which the apartment’s study is accessed. “The living room contains the entrance to the study and being able to conceal the study door also helped make the living room feel like the destination space, rather than an awkward walk-through room,” says Phillip.
“The mouldings were the most inexpensive and time-efficient feature to purchase and install. They really gave the space the much-needed character that was lacking when I purchased the property.”