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Milsons Point by Studio George

Studio George speaks a design language that is eloquent yet precise. With their latest project, the interior design practice has completely reimagined an art deco-inspired high rise on Sydney’s North Shore, tempering the stunning harborside views with an ambience that is rich, textural and emotive. We spoke to principal Sara Horvath about her creative inspirations, collaborative approach and impeccable eye for detail.

Styling by Claire Delmar
Photography by Dave Wheeler

Do you remember the first piece of design that really mattered to you?

Rather than an actual piece, it was an incredible building that I encountered in San Francisco while traveling in my younger years. I remember entering Maiden Lane; the Frank Lloyd Wright building was home to an antique art dealer at the time. Amongst all the quirky artifacts, the presence and scale of the interior structure of the gallery was breathtaking. That was the moment I realized the artful impact that interiors can behold and where my passion for creating these individual moments is fueled from.

Tell us a bit about your career journey, and the people who inspired and mentored you along the way.

My first placement whilst studying at university introduced me to the opulent design world. Learning from an incredibly talented interior designer, who had worked alongside Christian Liaigre in Paris for decades, truly set the benchmark for me and the standard and procedures in place for our studio.

You founded your practice in 2016. What would you say are some of the hallmarks of a Studio George interior?

It is the emotional response to a completed Studio George interior for the end user that collectively defines the hallmarks. Each interior has its own identity which includes distinctive features and characteristics that set it apart. No two projects can ever be the same and our ability is to tailor the design to the specific needs, aesthetic and lifestyle of the client in its context, in a unified and cohesive style. That runs consistently throughout the design, evoking emotions that resonate with the intended audience on a personal level.

Give us a little insight into your creative process. From initial meetings to breaking ground and beyond, what aspect do you enjoy most?

Discovery and inspiration inform the creative direction of any project. In our dynamic process, I find the most enjoyment in the initial meetings with clients. It's during these early discussions that I get to delve into their aspirations, understand their unique preferences, and establish a foundation for the entire project. Witnessing the spark of creativity and collaboration at the outset sets the tone for the design journey, and it's truly fulfilling to see these initial ideas evolve into a tangible and harmonious interior space.

We were so excited to see your latest project. What was your brief for Milsons Point? 

The clients came to us with a clear brief, and that was to take advantage of the harbor views and to maximize the volume of the overall home. Significant reconfigurations took place to restore the home from its former gloomy interior and achieve its full potential. The home’s internal structure was mostly demolished to create a more open and connected floor plan. The kitchen was expanded, new bathrooms installed and ceilings heightened. Overall, the volume of the space within the home was redefined in a way that allows people to gather in a spacious zone and move freely between the rooms. Interior furnishings and the material palettes were also directed and developed to complete the interior.

The home sits right on the harbor. Did the location and natural surroundings influence your vision at all?

A “New York City” lifestyle being a high-rise apartment in the heart of Milsons Point influenced the vision. The orientation of the harbor coupled with the spatial planning was the natural influence for the vision.

What were the lifestyle needs of your clients, and how did they shape the finished product?

Each “zone” of the home represented a different aspect of the needs of the client. There are areas where they can entertain, gather as a family or seek privacy. These very much shaped the finished product and how the client moved through the space for each occasion.

How did you stick to neutrals but make them feel fresh and interesting?

Tonally, the apartment feels neutral, however it is beautifully detailed and blended with textures, natural materials and a rich palette of finishes and furnishings.

The home feels very bespoke. What were some favorite standout pieces that you sourced?

The feature lighting that glows perfectly in the bathrooms, the resin coffee table in the cocktail area, and the Adam Goodrum sofas, to name a few.

We’re honored that our rugs made their way into your design. For you, what considerations are front of mind when selecting rugs to work back with a space?

It came back to the repetition of tone and layering of textures. Each rug represents and defines an area in an open-plan environment that distinguishes each area subtly. For example, the dining rug from the House of Grey collection represents a more formal layer, while the other two have texture and pattern, playing with comfort and entertainment. It’s always brief-specific.

Do you have any tips to ensure that a home will endure and evolve over time?

I consider consistency as paramount. The ability to seamlessly narrate a singular story while effortlessly and subconsciously navigating a space, making subtle connections to the broader narrative in an unobtrusive manner, is crucial to a timeless home.

Finally, interiors or otherwise, what has been inspiring you lately?

Lately, I've found inspiration in the beauty and diversity of nature. The organic patterns and colors, and the way natural elements coexist, have been a rich source of creative energy for me. Observing the intricate details of flora and fauna, the play of light in different landscapes, and the overall harmony of the natural world has sparked fresh ideas and perspectives in my creative endeavors. Nature's timeless elegance and adaptability continue to be a wellspring of inspiration, influencing my approach to design with its inherent balance and creativity.