Focusing on subtlety with a neutral palette, The Heritage is a complex lesson in class when it comes to apartment living
William Smart and his company Smart Design Studio are the brains behind The Heritage, a North Sydney apartment complex that sits proudly behind four Federation houses. The 24-apartment block offers panoramic views of Sydney Harbour, but best of all, simplicity rules when it comes to design, with owners given the ability to create a home doused with their signature style.
“There were four heritage-listed houses here, ranging from good condition to completely dilapidated,” says William. “They read as a pair of two-storey narrow houses and a pair of single-storey houses on the south.
They each had backyards that ran up to the sandstone cliff in their backyard at Harnett Street.” With the presence of heritage-listed homes immediately raising the bar, the brief firmly revolved around creating a luxurious complex that didn’t compromise on quality and size.““The focus was to break the standard request of building mostly one-bedroom apartments and studios, and instead create a building where there were mostly three-bedroom apartments” — William Smart”
“The clients’ brief was to create a high-quality apartment building to the rear with generous-scaled apartments,” says William. “The focus was to break the standard request of building mostly one-bedroom apartments and studios, and instead create a building where there were mostly three-bedroom apartments.” By providing apartments that are larger than the norm, The Heritage is mostly filled by the owners of the apartments who enjoy all the facilities the building has to offer along with the small community who live in this slice of opulence.
Making the move from Surry Hills to North Sydney with his partner and dog, William experiences his labour of love on a daily basis, taking advantage of the simplistic design to display his impressive art collection. “The apartment was customised for myself, my partner and our dog,” says William. “We furnished it to be contemporary and comfortable to live in.”
Light is a central aspect of the development, filling the apartments with a positive atmosphere and brightness that creates the illusion of space. “The building mostly has three-bedroom apartments which span the floor to access light from both sides and allow cross-ventilation,” says William. “This creates very private and comfortable homes, with the living, dining, kitchen and master bedrooms on the east side overlooking Neutral Bay and Sydney Harbour and the family room and secondary bedrooms on the west looking back to North Sydney’s CBD.”
Although privacy can be an issue for apartment-dwellers, The Heritage features areas that are divided to signal different purposes. “These through-apartments have a core in the centre which contains bathrooms, laundry and a kitchen,” says William.
“This pod, clad with dark-stained veneer timber, is a signature of Smart Design Studio’s work and results in a functional floorplan which creates privacy and has great circulation and flow.”
To capitalise on Sydney’s picturesque views, the indoors and outdoors are seamlessly connected by full-height glass. Environmental concerns are also addressed at The Heritage. Energy-efficient fixtures and lighting were installed, along with water-saving devices, access to sunlight and louvres for solar control, offering passive solar benefits.
William and his partner have taken advantage of the neutral colour palette to let their art collection take centre stage. Most rooms are adorned with a conversational art piece that sets the tone and encourages the colour scheme of each space.
Monochrome rules in the living and kitchen area and contrasts with the natural element of pale grey flooring. “Timber detailing marries beautifully with the crisp white fixtures as well as the Shima Scuro stone used on the floor, kitchen island and throughout the bathrooms,” says William.
When it comes to nailing a design brief, often those that are minimalist in style are the most difficult to replicate. But William has successfully created a space that is softly spoken in foundation, but big on embodying who has made this house
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Written by Annabelle Cloros
Photography by Sharrin Rees
Originally from Home Design magazine, Volume 18 Issue 4