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  • Sydney
  • Home Tours
  • Home Tour: An Eastern Suburb’s Duplex With New York Hotel Vibes

Home Tour: An Eastern Suburb’s Duplex With New York Hotel Vibes

A design-driven family home with a whole lot to boast about.

Location: Dover Heights, Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs

Designed by: Shona McElroy of Smac Studio

Interior style: European New York-style Hotel

Favourite room: The entry. We only had 4.8m of internal width to play with, so to have it quite grand, I think that was pretty incredible to do. I find it quite luxurious that you walk through this marble forecourt from your entertaining spaces, that big kitchen, living, dining, and external area.

When owners of this newly built semi-detached home in the Sydney suburb of Dover Heights engaged interior designer Shona McElroy of Smac Studio, they knew they were in for something special.  

Their brief was to create a family home that feels like a European New York-style hotel. Elegant but warm and comfortable, an entertainer's house that impresses. 

From the moment you step inside the four-bedroom home, bold choices take you on a journey that celebrates art, beauty and design. At every turn, beautiful sculptural forms and natural textures – timber, marble and brass – interplay with one another, celebrating the unexpected.


Wanting a defined entry into the house, the owners – Dan and Cassie – worked with Shona to create a spectacular entry point featuring a curved Elba marble staircase with natural light filtering through from the above void and artistic lighting by Christopher Boots and a sculpture by Tom Corbin. Hidden behind the stairs is a powder room crafted into a stunning dark green Venetian plaster cave with Elba marble on the floor and sink and Verde Antigua marble on the vanity offset by a rose-quartz Petra sconce by Christopher Boots.

"It was a big priority to get the formality of that entrance and allow people to come in and have their wow factor moment," explains Shona. 


Off to one side is a relaxed living room, and to the other, an entertainer's dream; a large kitchen, living and dining zone that extends out into an outdoor area. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the interiors with natural light, and built-in timber joinery and thoughtfully placed mirrors that hide the mini butler's pantry reflect the natural landscaping beyond.

"I love the materials that have been used, the quartzite and the kitchen profile and then having the mirrors reflect the light from the garden. It makes it such a warm and inviting, user-friendly space. I love spending my time there, being able to sit up at the island with other people sitting around it," says Cassie.

The kitchen island bench, crafted from Esmeralda quartzite stone, is designed for people to sit facing each other. The stone continues along with the kitchen backsplash, making the solid burnished brass range hood pop. 

"The stone is almost like an onyx. It has this depth and character, but it is also quite airy and light. I always say it's ethereal. It has little bronzy veining reflecting our range hood, greys, and white. It's stunning," explains Shona. "I thought it was really important for the range hood to be a feature. It's not a very big space where you're cooking, so I want it to feel high, grand, and entertaining to cook in."


The dining and living area has a curated collection of art. From the Gervasoni Brass 96 via Anibou pendant light above the Holo Dining table by Fanuli to the striking piece, Commission by Anya Pesce via M Contemporary in the living room. 

"We love our art and lighting. The pendant over the dining table comes as one big round, thin sheet of brass. And when you hang it, it drops and flops like a wave," explains Dan.

Shona continues, "The Mohave rug has a bronze colour that matches the rest of the house. But the art is the focal point. It changes with the light, and everyone's really drawn to the rosy gold element." 

Elegant, warm and comfortable, this family home was everything that Dan and Cassie were hoping for in their family home; the feel of a high-end hotel with a calming, natural element filled with beautiful furniture and art.

"The final result is very striking. It's one of those projects that many people wouldn't have expected to love but do because it comes off as maybe loud. But when you're in, it has so much personality and warmth. I guess this mishmash of materials actually feels rich but still quite homely," says Shona.


Dover Heights has always been an Eastern Suburbs gem with its prime location and stunning views of the city skyline and ocean. It offers a laid-back lifestyle away from the crowds of its world-famous neighbour Bondi Beach. Although life is a lot quieter up on the hill, this seaside suburb also borders Rose Bay and Vaucluse. Meaning, locals have their pick of Sydney's hottest dining spots, pulsing nightlife and shopping precincts.

Porch and Parlour
Porch and Parlour


For breakfast: Porch and Parlour or SHUK, both in North Bondi, are an absolute must to kickstart the day.

For lunch: Fika Swedish Kitchen blends Nordic dishes with Aussie favourites.

For dinner: Hotel Ravesis in Bondi Beach is a dining hotspot with great cocktails.  

For drinks: For drinks and a feed with iconic views, Icebergs

Go-to local boutique: We can’t choose one when there are so many good ones around Gould and Hall Streets.


Christopher Boots
King Living


Interior Design: Shona McElroy of Smac Studio
Lead Architect: Gary Meyers of Van Rooijen Meyers Architects
Photography: Anson Smart @smartanson
Words: Margaret Quilter @inky.content

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