There’s a very pared-back vibe going on here. A few candles, twinkling lights and a wandering star,’ smiles Sommer, who is mother to four-year-old Lyla-Rose and five-month-old India. ‘When I was growing up in Sydney, Christmas lunch was a barbecue or cold cuts on the beach. And while I have embraced the sit-down turkey with the all trimmings here, this huge sunny space always reminds me of home. When it comes to the day, we have an open fire pit at the back of the garden, where we toast the traditional Australian Damper, which is a type of soda bread.’ When Sommer and husband Will, chief creative officer at a digital media company, bought the house in 2014, they were determined to put their own stamp on it. ‘We wanted to combine contemporary Australian sophistication with the traditional elements you associate with a period property,’ she says. ‘We opened up the whole of the ground floor, so that you could look straight into the garden, while at the same time creating three separate living spaces which each feel different.’ The elegant family room at the front of the house leads on to the cool and moody living room, with its marble fireplace and there is also the wide open space of the kitchen and dining room, which is ‘very Sydney’ according to Sommer, with its polished concrete floor and marble island.

‘We wanted the whole house to be full of interesting surfaces, colours and textures, so we have stone, brass, marble and wood – and it is all put together in a sophisticated way. Our kitchen designer Graham at Matrix Design did a wonderful job interpreting our vision. The idea was to get a classic and timeless feel with an industrial edge. Originally I wanted the cooker on the island, but because of the massive Wolf hob I wanted, we would have had to have an enormous fan hanging down in the middle of the room, and I wasn’t going to let anything spoil my through view.’

The whole build – including digging out the basement to accommodate a cinema room and bar and the first floor, which was transformed into the couple’s master suite – took a year-and-a-half to complete. In the process Sommer created concept store House Curious, an online interiors outlet. Many of the items dotted around her home are available to buy on the website and Sommer also runs workshops here, where like-minded people can gather and learn new skills like calligraphy, candle-making or simply make new friends and connections over lunch or dinner. ‘Inevitably, someone usually asks me where I sourced our taps or the door handles,’ she says, laughing.

Kitchens from Matrix Design start from £30,000.
Photos by: Gavin Smith

Article by: Susan Springate