The successful building and interior design duo behind Rylo, Ryan and Lauren Pearse knew they were in for a challenge after purchasing this pre-war Camp Hill home dating back to 1896.
Having grown up in the surrounding streets of Camp Hill, both Ryan and Lauren loved the area and knew the potential to create a dream family home there. “We chose Camp Hill mainly for the house, but we knew the prestige of the suburb,” Lauren admits. Although visibly rundown, there were certain aspects of the home enticing the couple to take the plunge. Remnants from the previous owners remained throughout the house, some more obvious than others. “When we actually bought the home there was still furniture in it and food in the fridge,” she says. The first owner had painted all the windows black, fearing that if light escaped the house she could be bombed during World War 1.
She also cut a trap door in the floor in one of the rooms – a feature which remains in what became the home’s nursery. These nooks and crannies told a unique story, which only added to Ryan and Lauren’s love for the home. Not surprisingly, the renovation was a huge undertaking. As a heritage home, strict demolition control meant restoration was the only option; however, damage to the rear of the home meant it had to be partially rebuilt. This new addition is complete with a beautiful, generous five metre deck, but the façade has been kept as original as possible – even the old front fence was given new life. “When we started taking the linings off, we realised there had been a fire in the house,” Lauren reveals. “A couple of the trusses were fire damaged.” Fortunately, the original floorboards could be restored in most places.
“The old floorboards came up beautifully,” she says. “We used a very watered down Japan black stain so we could still see the grain”. This perfectly complements the home’s shining classic style, while being Rylo’s own personal touch. “We do this floor in all of our houses – it’s like our little signature.” The couple also kept the home’s original fretwork. Originally unable to be seen, Lauren and her team recovered three beautiful pieces that are now placed proudly over each bedroom door. From start to finish, the renovation took six months – an incredibly timely turn around, but there was a lot riding on its completion! “We moved in on the day that our son was due, so we had to get it done!” says Lauren.
Now, the home is the epitome of suburban chic where old and new seamlessly meet. Although not an ominously large home, it boasts a meagre 405m2 block, Rylo has managed to integrate inside and out to make the home feel grandiose. With three bedrooms and two bathrooms, it still has the capacity to be built in underneath. Ryan has completely opened up the lounge and kitchen area with soaring ceilings, oversized windows and characterful exposed beams. Lauren’s interior design style shines through the home, in equal parts traditional and modern. “To me, a house doesn’t feel like home without the nanna factor,” she says. Whether in the form of a family heirloom or an antique, something traditional is always present in Lauren’s designs.
Although clean lines and straight edges are not Rylo’s way, this home has an effortless elegance about it. From its brisk white walls to its warm stoney exterior, the home feels fresh and sleek. “I knew I wanted to inject colour in all of the interiors so I wanted to keep everything else really neutral,” explains Lauren. “This home is very much a benchmark for Rylo,” she continues. “For me, the best part of this project, as with all of our projects, is seeing people’s faces when we show them the before and after.”
Photography by Elouise van Riet-Gray.