The classic modernist home from the early 1960s, authentically designed by George Reeves, is set in a subtropical garden in Bellevue Hill, NSW. Restored by Luigi Rosselli, it is indeed an ‘Homage’ to Oscar Niemeyer, with influences of his work and Lúcio Costa’s taken into account during the renovation of the voluminous and organic house. An amalgamation of the classic with a conscious contemporary counterpart was the idea behind the overall approach for Luigi Rosselli & Studio Schelp as Architects, Alwill Interiors as Interior Designers, and landscape design by Dangar Barin Smith. The clients unsurprisingly chose to retain the majority of elements of the design, only to look forward to an improved relationship between the indoor and outdoor spaces.

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As Seen From The Entrance_©

The Design: Philosophy and General Planning | Luigi Rosselli

Classically white yet playful on account of the bold combinations of blue and green from its landscape and interiors, the Homage to Oscar combines undulated shapes, curves, and the open premises right through all scales and aspects of design. Themed around the fluidity of movement, views, and solar elements, mindful alterations were done along with an all-around refinish to improve the quality of construction. The focus of the renovation was to enhance the design alignment with the original architect’s intent. While architects & landscape designers approached this in a raw, literal form, the interior designers diverted their approach to a more polished and subtle approach, elaborated as follows. 

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An Exterior View Showing Landsape_©PrueRuscoe

An all-white aesthetic, light, open, and airy with a balance between its timeless elegance and mid-century detailing to create a more open family home, was the client’s brief concerning the prospects of the renovation. Luminous with a Brazilian, Mediterranean, and mid-century design influence, the existing plan was carefully modified to make it more open. The voluptuous concrete awning over the entry and the richly planted long driveway leading to it were accordingly enhanced to recreate the intended first impressions. The grand staircase was retained with a new modernized handrail, and the sinuously curved lounge ceiling was carefully restored. Communal spaces boasted ample light and ventilation, as selected walls were removed to provide infinite space opportunities; introducing skylights, and replacing traditional windows with slender full-height ones that seamlessly connect to the outdoors are significant upgrades to the iconic home along with Luigi Rosselli’s signature curves.  

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Landsape And The External Fireplace__©PrueRuscoe
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The hierarchy of spaces in open plans was defined with furnishings selected based on maintaining a cohesive space. Alwill Interiors’s ‘Homage’ to Oscar House was to tastefully combine elegant colour palettes of whites and light-turquoise blues with organically shaped functional objects influenced by the Mediterranean sense of the house. Various designer pieces were chosen to adorn the interiors with their valuable artistic and aesthetic characteristics. The landscaping was amplified with lush soft, and hardscaping, complimenting the natural softness of shapes. Various succulents and spill-over plants were used on the garage rooftop. Retaining the feature trees, landscape designers from Dangar Barin Smith carefully moulded the circular theme around the subtropical garden to endorse the outdoors as an equivalent to the timeless indoors. This element, the use of the garden as a diverse outdoor space interrelated to the interior spaces with an intense yet subtle transition, is what makes this tribute unique. 

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Landscape Design_©

Materials in Design: Noteworthy Upgrades

The restored entrance staircase was provided with finishes to mimic a sense of floating with blue-black granite steps, brass handrails, and a custom ocean blue carpet to elevate the dreamy ambience. The new gallery kitchen was characterized by marble bench spaces and a combination of sage and seafoam green backsplash tiles. Slatted joinery finishes opted in general and playful tones of deep teal, concrete, rust, and burgundy textures with appropriate lighting illuminated the space. Pendant lighting, brass fittings, and fine white steel doors emphasize the seamless design. A handprinted fish-on silk wallpaper in the powder room, handmade ‘sea glass’ tiles in the bathrooms, and Calcutta Vagli marble in the suites adorned with rich walnut vanities elegantly enhance the mid-century contemporary home. The curves in building design are also reflected by the unique furniture, characterized by their harmonious textures, material, and colour. Marble details, glass insertions, artistic tiles, wood, leather, and linen textiles add to the eclectic nature of the meticulously designed home. Mount White sandstone pavers with native ground cover in the gardens ensure a flawless transition between hard and soft scaping. 

Staircase In Focus_©PrueRuscoe
Staircase In Focus_©PrueRuscoe
Powder Room_©PrueRuscoe
Powder Room_©PrueRuscoe
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Seamless Interiors And Exteriors_©PrueRuscoe

Sustainability in Focus | Luigi Rosselli

Passive design strategies were adopted to amplify the functional dimensions of the indoor and outdoor spaces as an integral element of the Homage to Oscar House. Renovated walls with full-height glass windows and doors ensured ample cross-ventilation, minimizing the use of air conditioners. “It’s just not that kind of house to have all the windows shut.”, believes Luigi. The windows were also added with high-performance glass and, above it, bespoke electrical shutters. Pavers in hardscaping and the size of the swimming pool were considerably reduced owing to its various disadvantages, and lush, tropical greenery was introduced. 

An Exterior View_©PrueRuscoe

Citations for websites:

Wilson, E.-K. (2019). A Voluminous And Organic Home Set In A Subtropical Garden | Habitus Living. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Sep. 2022].

issuu. (n.d.). HOMAGE TO OSCAR. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Sep. 2022].

Lewis, S. (2019). Tribute House by Alwill Interiors and Luigi Rosseli Architects | est living. [online] Est Living | Interiors, Architecture, Designers & Products. Available at: [Accessed 24 Sep. 2022].

admin (2019). Homage to Oscar – The Heritage of Modernism by Luigi Rosselli Architects. [online] Archiscene – Your Daily Architecture & Design Update. Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2022].

The Design Files | Australia’s most popular design blog. (2019). Brazilian + Mediterranean Influences Combine In This Sydney Home. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2022].


Lakshmi Sundaram is an architect, muralist and graphic designer with an atypical and interdisciplinary outlook. Design being her finest channel of expression, strong narratives direct her work across all domains. Precisely, an aspiring little drop in a mighty ocean of design revolutions.