A termite-infested home is given new life by seasoned renovators
Approaching the intriguing entry door and surrounding indigenous landscape, it becomes evident this Palm Beach home is special. Walk in and the assumption is confirmed — welcome to the Pozniak holiday home.
Contemplating the purchase of an overseas holiday home, Liz and Sheldon Pozniak concluded a second property within manageable driving distance from their Eastern Suburbs pad was preferable. The Northern Beaches was short-listed as the location of choice, and Liz began her search to find a home. Undeterred by a real estate agent’s warning about an overgrown property located on a main thoroughfare, Liz recognised an
unpolished gem that brimmed with potential.“We love: Liz’s father’s New Guinean art collection dotted throughout the couple's home”
“Sheldon and I were up for a challenge,” says Liz. “And as luck had it, we found a derelict, termite-infested home superbly positioned overlooking Careel Bay.”
With the Palm Beach property purchased, it was game on. An architect was retained and the design process commenced. Having remodelled seven homes over the past decade, the building-savvy couple prepared a project scope, set a budget and got to work. “Initially, our intent was to retain the existing foundation,” says Liz. “However, our architect, David Phillips took one look and said ‘No’. Due to the steep incline of the 750m² block, and given the land is within a bushfire zone, we decided to build a modern pole structure, opting for galvanised metal frame construction in lieu of traditional timber frameworks.”
Constructed as a 400 m² dual-level home, the entry level has a double-storey foyer, open-plan living area, master bedroom suite with ensuite and walk-in wardrobe, laundry room and guest toilet. Covered timber-decked terraces, wrap-around walkways and a heated plunge pool adjoin the living area. Three bedrooms are located on the ground level and flow onto a central lounge area, adjacent balcony and two bathrooms. There is also a double-car garage and a guest parking pad with direct access to the guest quarters. “When Liz and I are at home on our own, we have everything we need on one level,” says Sheldon. “When my sons and their families visit, they have privacy and the guest level to themselves.”
Tucked into the lush landscape and stonework, the house is buffered from the road and Palm Beach hustle and bustle. After engaging a professional landscape service for the initial plantings, infrastructure and installation of large plants, Liz took over the gardening. “My late mother loved gardening and flowers, so it must be genetic,” says Liz. From her childhood Woollahra home, Liz harvested select plants and used them at the couple’s Palm Beach home. Mature bird’s nest and staghorn ferns, bromeliads, orchids and camellia trees are now flourishing in their new surrounds.
The living area has 3 metre-high ceilings with operable glass louvre windows purposed to maximise incoming natural light and cross-ventilation. A reverse air-conditioning system was installed, but is seldom used. Alternatively, Liz and Sheldon take advantage of prevailing sea breezes in the summer months. In cooler months, the warmth generated by a gas fireplace with marble hearth reduces the chill and creates a focal point in the lounge area.
The most important factor in the selection of interior finishes and materials was minimal maintenance balanced by serviceability to entertain friends and family. A reconstituted island benchtop forms the hub of the living area, which serves as a functional work surface and casual dining space. Installed throughout the public areas of the home are prefinished bamboo floorboards, with tufted broadloom carpeting in the bedrooms and stone tiles in the bathrooms — all in a light colour palette and complemented by white-washed walls.
When it comes to interior furnishings, Liz and Sheldon often find themselves recycling items from one home to the next, particularly when they’re prized family treasures. “My dad was an avid collector of New Guinean tribal art, with many of the large pieces not fitting our Woollahra family home,” says Liz.
“As a tribute to my dad, I wanted to showcase his prized collection.” Homage to Liz’s family is paid throughout the home, with hand-me-down furnishings from her mother and grandmother lovingly restored or repurposed. “My Palm Beach home is comfortable like a favourite jumper, where we can entertain and host relaxed, long, leisurely lunches for our friends and family to enjoy together.”
Originally from Home Design magazine, Volume 19 Issue 2
Written by Lynne Malone
Photography by Marian Riabic