This week we take you on a home tour of one of Australia’s most influential families – the Hemmes. The family runs the Merivale hospitality empire. Most of the pubs, bars, and clubs in Sydney have the family’s fingerprints on them in some way shape or form. It’s safe to say the Hemmes is a family that knows how to entertain, so when Justin Hemmes decided to give his family home a makeover, it was a given that he would create a large open space for family and friends to socialize and enjoy themselves.

Justin, CEO of Merivale, moved back into the family’s heritage-listed mansion, The Hermitage, in 2011. The huge waterfront home in Sydney’s exclusive Vaucluse neighborhood overlooks the stunning city harbor. Hemmes took his time with the renovation. The property sprawls over 7000 square meters so this wasn’t a job he wanted to rush into. Once his ideas had calcified, he took on Brian Hess, of Sydney firm Hess Hoen, to help oversee the construction and interior design. Creating a seamless transition from indoors to outdoors was crucial for Hemmes.

– “I’m very much an outdoor person, so the flow from the internal to the external areas had to be seamless, The outside had to come in and the inside had to come out.” Justin Hemmes says.

As this was the home he grew up in and of which he had so many fond memories, it was decided that the renovated home should combine a blend of vintage and contemporary pieces.

– “I like to mix in vintage pieces because if you fill a home with new pieces you can lose a sense of individuality,” Justin Hemmes says.

In the beautiful dining area, a stunning Lindsey Adelman chandelier hangs over a table from BDDW and a set of Baxter ‘Summer Arms’ chairs by Paola Navone. A soft blue and white chevron tiled floor run underneath. On the back wall, the exposed brickwork provides a nice contrast to the space-age chandelier. If you head upstairs you’ll come across a vintage Milo Baughman chair.

Hemmes’ redesign of the kitchen is simply stunning. It is choc-full of bespoke pieces in a number of deluxe materials. The huge copper range hood immediately catches the eye, followed by the blackened steel and Carrara marble breakfast bar. A stylish bench is fashioned from oak and tadelakt, which is a traditional Moroccan lime plaster that is applied by hand.

Connecting the inside and out are enormous five-meter steel and glass doors. They completely open up the house to the incredible views of the harbor outside. The outdoor area has a distinctly Balearic feel to it and is reminiscent of a number of Hemmes-owned venues throughout Sydney. It’s not hard to imagine some fairly raucous parties taking place by the pool overlooking the bay. We’d love an invite! It can be difficult reimagining a home you have lived in for so many years, but we take out hats off to Justin on this one.


Are you looking to renovate your space? A professional set of eyes is invaluable and that’s why at Austin Home Interiors we provide free design consultations for our customers. Contact us today and our design team will help you get the ball rolling.

We drew inspiration for this article from Vogue Living, Georgina Safe & Prue Ruscoe Original article here.

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