Sydney is home to a small hotel with big history.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Sydney is home to a small hotel  with big history.

Quirky artworks and colourful accents greet guests at the entrance of the hotel.

Cressida Kennedy, founder of Australian design studio Space Control – launched in 2010 – wants to tell unique stories through her interior design projects. She expresses herself through spaces that echo their locales – communicating, through their unique designs, their purpose as well as cultural, social and historic aspects. 

Her latest project exemplifies that approach. Opened in July, in Surry Hills, an inner city suburb of Sydney, Little Albion Guest House is a boutique hotel designed in collaboration with designer Connie Alessi. 

The hotel occupies a former Federation-era convent, which dates back to 1903, and a new adjacent, angular white brick, steel and glass extension, which makes reference to the neighbouring Brutalist architecture that was developed in the latter part of the 20th century. 

My Reading Room

The ambience is more muted and elegant in the rooms. 

“I love every stage of the process and, particularly, the early phase of discovery, especially when working with an existing building,” Kennedy says, “I was compelled to deliver quite a strong 1970s feel to the extension by incorporating one of the hallmarks of that period: the sunken lounge. From this foundation point, we threaded the design aesthetics of both the 1920s and the 1970s, in order to create an altogether engaging and inspiring interior.” 

The public areas of Little Albion Guest House (the lounge, bar and terrace) and its 35 rooms feature a mix of colours, textures, floral and geometric motifs (for example, through the original printed linen curtains by Kerrie Brown Designs, and the cement tiles) and materials (such as the classic marble flooring). 

My Reading Room

The designer turned various architectural elements of the building into interesting features of the interior design.

A few bold elements are combined with pieces of wooden furniture, and brass and marble details. Photographs by renowned artist Nicholas Samartis adorn the inspiring spaces of the hotel,  where high ceilings, irregular alcoves and tight angles have been preserved from the original building. 

In order to create consistency among all areas, Kennedy included terrazzo tiles, timber-panelled ceilings and graphic motif-papered walls in the new extension, constantly connecting the old with the new. 

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