Margot and Nick Chappell moved into their Bondi semi in 2018. Margot grew up in the area and they’d swapped their apartment near the beach for a home with space to grow. When Broadsheet visits, the couple is expecting twin girls. They also have a three-year-old son, Tommy, and a cat called Bronte.

“The house has a lot of wow factors, but the design is still very functional for us as a young family,” says Margot. The couple engaged architecture and interior design practice Studio Arkive in 2020 to redesign their home and introduce much-needed light and space. The brief was to maintain the original bungalow’s charm – such as its high ceilings – but to introduce modern, material-driven features like its huge sliding doors between the kitchen and garden.

“We wanted the house to feel warm and comfortable, which I think has been achieved,” says Nick, who owns a tequila seltzer brand called Compa Drinks Co. One of Nick’s non-negotiables was a bar for his tequila collection, which is hidden away in their second living room.

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It’s a sanctuary away from the summer beachgoers, filled with plants, minimalist furniture and a specially commissioned artwork referencing the couple’s love of Mexican cocktails. And it’s one of a selection of homes entered into this year’s Australian Interior Design Awards. Winners are announced on June 14.

Names: Nick and Margot Chappell
Live: In a sunlit semi in North Bondi
Since: 2018
With: Tommy (3) and Bronte (the cat), with two babies on the way

What made you first fall in love with the place?
Nick: Before we renovated in 2020, the house was a typical two-bed semi with a separate living area to the kitchen and dining spaces. We loved the original bungalow facade and the high ceilings. We knew the house had potential, and we spent two years here before the renovation.

What do you love about your house?
Margot: The grand skylight over our stairs. It filters light through a void over our living area. I also love the introduction of rafters over the kitchen ceiling.

Nick: It was important to me that the free-flowing spaces felt connected to the landscaping. We have cacti, succulents and lush tropical plants. I love the open spaces, different textures and high ceilings. The kitchen flows into the outdoors, where we have a barbeque and bench seating. We love having people over, and it’s such a good use of space.

What’s it like living in such a distinctive house?
Margot: The house has a lot of wow factors, but the design is still very functional for us as a young family. I still catch myself admiring the design from the street, especially the first-floor rooftop garden which looks sensational when it is lit up at night.

How did you decorate it?
Margot: Most of the decor is neutral and minimalist. In the second living space we have an artwork by Melbourne artist Carita Farrer Spencer, inspired by agave fields in Mexico.

Nick: We have some statement pieces from En Gold and MCM House. My standout item is the hallway table, which was custom-made from the stone supplier, Mediterranean Marble.

Do you have a favourite room?
Nick: Our second living space was previously the master bedroom. This is where I have a hidden tequila bar – my only non-negotiable in the redesign. We have imported and manufactured tequila products from our brand Compa Drinks Co. I love sitting in the armchair in the corner of the room. It has views down the hallway to the garden where you can see the mix of timber and travertine floors, marble and glass.

Margot: I absolutely love our kitchen, especially the generous island bench and the sliding doors to the outdoor area. It’s a dream to cook in. But the second living space with Nick’s hidden bar is a close second.

What do you love about the area?
Margot: It is very family-oriented. We’re close to great cafes, parks and, of course, the beach but far enough from the chaos of summer in Bondi. It feels like our own sanctuary.

Read more in our Home Visit series.