Maria Villa is not scared of colour. Put it down to her training in fine art and interior design, or simply her vibrant Latino roots (she and her architect husband Eduardo Villa were born and raised in Argentina). Whatever the reason, Maria uses colour bravely and it packs a stylish punch. This house on Sydney’s north shore was the Villa family’s last home. A comfortable but unremarkable 1970s house, it was given a burst of new life and energy when the Villa’s moved in. The kitchen and bathroom were renovated, and two new living areas were added at the rear — one upstairs and one down — to improve cross-ventilation and take full advantage of the garden and views of the neighbouring national park. Transforming the spaces are walls of strong dark colour: the perfect foil for a collection of beautiful objects, artwork and furnishings.