Tess Regan Design
Tess Regan Design is a boutique design studio which is committed to good design. Through her love for honest materiality, natural light and creative functionality, Tess Regan creates a sense of connection and belonging between space and occupant. Through a sophisticated mix of re-use, refurbishment and new, innovative design elements, Tess is committed to sustainable design and allows each space to become both an extension of itself and the client’s character and lifestyle.
SJB comprises of architects, interior designers, planners and urban designers who share a vision for the built environment. Working across Australia, Asia and Europe, SJB focuses on imagination and innovation, delivering stylish environments designed to enrich the lives of those who inhabit them. The Buena Vista Hotel renovation was headed up by interior designer and SJB director, Jonathan Richards and associate interior designer, Georgia Hickey.
The story behind the design
Built in the early 1900s, the old Mosman court house was in much need of restoration after changing hands several times. Renovation after renovation saw the hotel lose its way, says interior designer Tess Regan. “The renovations completed in the past had stripped away all the original heritage features and it just became this battleship. You couldn’t see in, you couldn’t see out.” When Fallon Brothers, a local Mosman family, took ownership of the hotel, SJB had already completed the design concept and submitted the DA to council. As a condition of sale, the owners were to continue in the same direction that would see the hotel be restored back to its formal glory.
The Fallon brothers introduced Tess Regan to the project to collaborate with SJB. Besides opening the hotel up to the outside, consolidating all the services to maximise profitable floor area was one of the top priorities. “It was vital we created flow between the spaces to improve the floor plan,” explains Tess, as the hotel comprises of three different businesses under the one venue: Bistro Moncur, Buena Bar and Vista Bar.The creatives wanted each space to have its own feel, as they all attract their own demographic. Tess says: “We wanted to make them identifiable on their own and at the same time connect the spaces so they don’t look like they’ve been just chucked together.” This was achieved through transitioning the materials, such as the timber panelling, through the spaces. “It was about using traditional finishes, but in a different way.”
It’s just about creating a visual connection between the spaces while providing a different feel in each of the areas
For Tess, one of the design’s most successful elements is the layout of the Buena Bar. “When we stripped the space back, all the original tiles were still laid on the floor showing the outline of where the original bar was positioned in the early 1900s,” says Tess. Their planning for the new island bar was about 500mm off this position, shining a light on what they were trying to achieve.
It’s the muted colours, textural tones, light and space that is consistent throughout
The inclusion of the cotto wall tiles was one such finish Georgia particularly loved. Laid in a custom herringbone pattern, the tiles wrap the downstairs bar giving the space a “cellar-type feel”. Georgia explains a soft sense of space achieved through the colour palette, combination of textures and use of light ties it altogether.Design elements such as the custom light fittings designed to reflect the finish of the wall they’re fixed on are particular highlights, explains Georgia. “They reflect the finish of the wall from the timber panelling to the terracotta tiles.”A restoration of this stature required collaboration, open communication and an impeccable finish. The end result is a testament to all involved.