Design duo Karen McCartney and David Harrison have listed their Dangar Island weekender, which has been their Sydney retreat for two decades. The Clontarf-based couple are going through the traditional family generational shift so they just don’t get up to the Hawkesbury as often enough these days.
And the Belfast-born home design doyenne is increasingly focused on her desire to spend more time back in Europe. “We have had a shift in family thinking,” she said.
The weekender was an original island fibro shack which the couple replaced in 2006, with family in-laws Jan Robertson of architecture firm Robertson & Hindmarsh designing the house which Robert Harrison then built.
It has been listed for sale by Marcus Lloyd-Jones at the Modern House agency.
Clad in an Australian hardwood blackbutt stained a dark grey and featuring Indian sandstone and lime-washed floors, the home is hidden among the gum trees.
“The brief was to create an open space that captured the views and as much northern light as possible,” McCartney recalls, plus ensuring it was “robust and practical”.
McCartney says many Sydneysiders don’t know where Dangar Island, adding that was “fine with us” as part of the appeal of the island is that it feels so remote.
She said going to the island on the ferry after the working week “lets us decompress”.
“We will be deeply sad when we leave for the last time, but we are at the age and stage to move on” she said.
There are only about 200 houses on Dangar Island, which is only accessible by boat.
The island recently had a $1.425 million sale, plus a two-bedroom cottage that sold for $500,000.
The couple also own a rustic barn overlooking fields of sunflowers at Duras in the southwest of France, which they secured from her parents and is now being run as an Airbnb.
Inside Out magazine founding editor McCartney has just launched her latest book ICONIC Modern Australian Houses 1950-2000.