Bondi House is a row house designed by Fearns Studio in Sydney, Australia’s Bondi Beach neighborhood showcasing how light and framed views define a space. The client requested the need for more privacy and lack of natural light filtering into the narrow Victorian terrace house. The resolution for both issues was to confine most sources of natural light to the ceilings. The 2,800 square foot house was originally built in 1980 and various remodels were done over the years. It’s one house in a row of four. It is nestled on a narrow lot that is about 20 feet wide by 139 feet long, it’s apparent that privacy — for both the homeowner and the neighbors — was a primary issue.
A garage and guesthouse loft are nestled into the back of the lot. Tasmanian oak doors slide open, connecting the garage, landscape and main house seamlessly. The same polished concrete floors used in the main house continue in the garage.
Fearns resolved privacy by designing the home like a tube. “The purpose of the tube idea was simply to direct views from the house away from neighboring properties by placing openings only at the ends,” he says. “I wanted to leave the side elevations largely clear of windows to de-clutter them, as well as eliminate the overlooking impacts.”
Deep door frames capture exterior moments like paintings. Light and shadow play animates the bare walls.
The back deck, shown here, projects off the master bedroom.
Though this was primarily a contemporary renovation, the home shows its age through subtle details like this archway and the baseboards. Fearns brought sunlight to central areas of the first floor with multiple skylights. The natural light works as a push-pull tool: the dark, compressed hallway pushes you toward the glowing light at the end of the tunnel.
The living area rounds out the great room. It can be difficult to create intimate spaces in open plans, but Fearns employed various techniques to bring the home down to human scale. “In this case the rhythm of solids and voids [walls and glazing] primarily helps create a sense of smaller spaces within the open plan,” he explains. The walls and door frame various areas of the great room, suggesting how to furnish and lay out the space.
The ground level is broken up into various zones that can be opened or closed off to maximize flow, while always maintaining strong visual connections between spaces. “When doors are open, the rear portion of the site effectively can become a single open space — albeit modulated by various smaller areas within it,” Fearns says. A skylight directs more sunlight into the living room.
The materials and finishes developed as the project progressed. “The palette in the end was limited and simple and comprised mainly [of] clear sealed hardwood doors, windows, flooring and joinery — almost all Tasmanian oak with some blackbutt,” Fearns says. Polished concrete floors connect all the spaces in the great room.
The dining area connects to the kitchen — the heart of the house, as Fearns calls it. “It’s set between the lounge and dining areas to be a hub for both,” he says. Though oversize and solidly built, the Tasmanian oak island and cabinets inhabit the room, rather than dominating it. Fearns detailed the kitchen features to “look like items sitting in the space, rather than elements which the space has been built around,” he says.
The sliding doors in the main living room are hardwood, with bottom rolling hardware and low-e glazing. “The reveals are about 2½ feet deep on the side elevation, because the doors are mounted externally,” Fearns says.
In the dining-kitchen area, the void (as Fearns calls it) brings light from the roof down to the first floor. The skylight is roughly the size of a queen bed and is central to the design of the house. In addition to illuminating the space, the light creates permeable boundaries that define the eating space within the open floor plan.
Vintage dining chairs by Australian American sculptor Clement Meadmore and a vintage dining table by Alessandro Albrizzi disrupt the otherwise linear language of the kitchen.
The master bedroom and bathroom are upstairs.
Unlke the first-floor bathroom, the master bath couldn’t have a sliding glass door to connect it to outside. “I didn’t want a window there to keep the side clear, so I convinced the owner to have a hatch,” says Fearns. After trying out various mechanisms, they ended up using a heavy floor-spring pivot that works like a friction hinge.
With the natural light from the skylight, the pivot window isn’t necessary, but Fearns has discovered its other charms. “From the bathroom it also manages to frame a very small view of mature planting on the rear lane, so it’s a nice space to use,” he says. It also “adds a sense of oddity to the side elevation. People have to look twice to figure out what it’s doing.”
Smaller rooms on the first floor open up onto the deck, including this bathroom. The sliding glass door provides natural light and an outdoor connection. (This part of the path is closed off and private.)
Photos: Tom Ferguson
Smee Schoff House is a contemporary single family home with industrial features designed by Sam Crawford Architects in Petersham, New South Wales, Australia. The project is a great example of how dedicated and engaged clients together with a challenging set of site constraints make for a rich and unique design outcome. Having considered several alternate and distinct design solutions it is now clear that this particular response to the site and design brief is the right one for our clients. Key constraints were: inconsistent council requirements for street-scape and heritage, the need to maintain the privacy and solar access of neighboring properties, multiple poorly devised and implemented alterations to the existing cottage, access to winter sun to the necessarily south facing living areas and views to the park and access to the winter sun available only to the existing bedrooms. The brief also included an atypical requirement for an eat-in kitchen and an melded dining/ lounge/ music room.
Our clients have a wonderful art collection, and their own unique style, which contributed to the industrial/ craft aesthetic of the new work.
Recycled bricks are used extensively for environmental and aesthetic reasons, on both internal (painted) and external (bare-faced) walls. Black painted, lightweight steel framed windows and doors accentuate the very tall brick walls of the central court and dining room. Exposed, over-sized recycled timber beams scale the 4.5m high ceiling of the dining space. Timbers recycled from demolished portions of the building and our client’s cherished Scandinavian hand-painted ceramic tiles are incorporated into new joinery work.
The design sits on a clear continuum in our work; of pushing for maximum thermal comfort with minimal ongoing energy use. This involves a relatively large upfront cost; in the provision of substantial thermal mass via exposed concrete slab floors and brick and reverse brick veneer wall construction, coupled with solar powered/ gas boosted hydronic underfloor heating, contributing to ongoing and long term energy savings. A central courtyard, between the old and new, provides winter sun to otherwise south facing living areas.
The construction team from Buildability, led by foreman Matt Raap, were a major factor in the success of the project.
Photos: Brett Boardman Photography
This sensational cedar and glass house is one of nine secluded homes constructed around the edge of Little Lovett Bay, an inlet accessible only by boat less than an hour from Sydney. The open living room has timber floors and a wood-burning stove. The kitchen is connected to the outdoor deck with folding timber windows, and skylights bring in sunlight filtered through the spotted gum trees that surround the house. The countertops are granite, and the stainless steel sink and drain board match the stainless steel gas appliances. A built-in bookcase holds cookbooks. The ground floor has two guest bedrooms and a full bath. There is an additional downstairs room that could be used as a bedroom or a formal living room. The master suite is upstairs, and includes a bedroom with a peaked ceiling, an en suite bathroom with a soaking tub and a sitting area. A walkway suspended above the living room connects the master suite with another bedroom and an office nook.
This spectacular five-bedroom house is on the market for $2 million (2.25 million Australian dollars.)
Kangaroos, koalas and kookaburras frequent the national park behind the house.
Timber-framed folding doors in the living room and kitchen lead to a deck that overlooks the bay.
The living room has timber floors and a wood-burning stove. Above, a sky walk connects the bedrooms on either side of the house.
Large windows and skylights in the kitchen frame a view of the spotted gum trees that surround the house.
Another view of the deck. The house was built ten years ago.
A ground floor bedroom behind the kitchen has direct access to the deck.
The sky walk on the second floor leads to the study, with a guest bedroom beyond.
A skylight bathes the master bedroom with natural light.
One of two guest bedrooms on the ground floor.
The dining room windows face the back of the house and the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, a wild expanse of pristine bush.
This extra room on the ground floor is currently configured as a den.
The property has a guesthouse with a sleeping loft, a full bathroom and a kitchenette.
The house is one of nine on a secluded inlet north of Sydney. There is no road access to the house. It’s ten minutes by boat to Church Point, and from there it’s a 45 minute drive to Sydney’s Central Business District.
Tusculum Residence is a modern renovation and extension of a turn-of-the-century terrace house by Smart Design Studio, situated in Sydney, Australia’s Potts Point. The design of the 3,498 square foot (325 square meters) home centers on a grand and gracefully spiralling stair that forms the pivotal junction of the old and new parts of the house. The staircase, spanning the width of the building, features delicate fan-like steel treads cantilevered from the central steel post and winding their way past six split levels, offset between the old and new sides of the house. The stair was conceived as the element that grafts the contemporary and new minimal structure to the refined, trimmed and formal older portion of the dwelling.
Spacious living areas and private zones open out from each side of the stair with one area per level alternating between the old and new building. Formal living, dining, kitchen and informal living; master suite, guest suite, study and laundry: each zone maintains a natural sense of privacy from the other through the offset in level yet maintains a sense of interconnection in the openness and movement created by the stair.
Externally, the connection to the outdoors is accentuated through a 13 meter clear span wall of sliding doors that overlooks a pocket garden. An addition to this, the bi-folding doors are concealed by joinery to provide a seamless connection to the tiered rear garden with mature pepper tree. This house offers extraordinary spaces complemented by confident forms, understated design and exquisite detail.
Internally, finishes in the old portion of the house are contemporary and elegant in a stripped-classical style with deep flush skirting boards, mannered panelled doors and wide timber floorboards, all in gloss white paint and offset by richly coloured set plaster walls. In contrast, the mainly white extension with the same gloss white floorboards, features a black stained timber-boarded joinery element across three levels. Bronze window frames, ironmongery and trims unite both portions of the three-storey home.
Photos: Courtesy of Smart Design Studio
The Quedjinup captures the epitome of a down south dream home designed by The Rural Building Company, situated in Perth, Western Australia. One of the first things you notice about this urban home is how beautifully the traditional elevation blends with the surrounding bushland. Stone feature walls and an Australian landscaped garden add to the authentic outback feel as you walk through the paved double carport to the front entrance. If preferred, the carport could easily be converted to a two car garage.
The large free form living and kitchen area is enhanced by raking ceilings and views through stackable sliding doors to the back alfresco area. Being the heart of the home, the living room is perfectly designed for those on acreage with beautiful 360 degree views or for others who desire open space living.
The Quedjinup has been beautifully designed with a contrast of soaring ceilings and free form living areas and secluded bedroom areas to retire to for privacy.
Photos: Joel Barbitta
Balaclava Road residence is a contemporary dream home dsigned by COS Design, situated in Caulfield North, a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Here is a statement about the project from the architects, “David McCallum of DDB Design and Build decided it was time for him to build his very own dream home and turned to Steve and team at COS Design to compliment this amazing piece of architecture. The combination of the two parties resulted in MBAV home design of year award. The rear pool space is simply breathtaking yet minimal, a true testament to design at its best.”
Photos: Tim Turner Photography
The Promenade Residence is a luxury waterfront property that has been designed by Bayden Goddard Design Architects (BGD Architects), situated on an exclusive residential street in Queensland, Australia. This dream home was designed for a family of four with the brief to achieve ideal spaces for work, rest and play. The internal planning required a clever balance to achieve a house of private spaces with maximized outlooks to the Surfers Paradise skyline. Corten steel screens wrap the first floor bedrooms providing a veil for the bedroom spaces facing the river and the road.
The approach to the house, presents a structured and grounded design, balanced by the delicate screen pattern and soft landscaping. At night, the house transforms to a glowing lantern, welcoming guests for the views to come. Entry via the side arbour gradually opens upon a generous internal courtyard which looks through the main living area, framing the city skyline.
A major design feature was the inclusion of a luxury two storey space to the waterfront edge with custom double storey sliding doors. This enables views to be brought right into the heart of the house and across the internal courtyard to the street front rooms. Each layer of glazing and the waterfront screens can be pulled back almost out of sight to allow the house to breath effortlessly all day long. Louvered glazing has been utilized throughout the home to promote cross ventilation via natural breezes. The indoor / outdoor waterfront room, provides a multifunctional extension that capitalizes on the property locale and climate conditions.
The external finishes including recycled timber, corten steel and polished concrete provide a low maintenance and contemporary solution. The internal finishes compliment the external color palette and provide a practical and beautiful aesthetic.
Underground water tanks, solar hot water and LED lighting were incorporated to ensure efficient living for the owners and reduced environmental impact.
Kerr House has been designed as a modern family home by Tony Owen Architects, located close to Tamarama beach in Sydney, Australia and enjoys spectacular views of the beach from the upper level. The client sought a minimal light beach house. The existing house had a lush tropical garden at the rear. The architects sought to preserve this garden and focus the house so that it opened onto the garden as a large outdoor room which would be an extension of the living area.
The design is structured around a timber spine wall running along the southern boundary. The new house hangs off this wall. The house opens up to the rear with a large cantilevered concrete wing extending outwards to the garden. This creates solar protection and also extends the space into the garden. The remainder of the house is clad in timber battens and glass louvers to maximize natural ventilation. There is a large central glass enclosure in the middle of the house where the main stair is located. This atrium provides light to the center of the house.
The house was designed according to the principles of passive sustainable design. It uses natural materials such as timber. The central atrium and extensive use of glass louvers maximize natural ventilation and the use of large overhangs promote sun shading. The use of expansive upper deck areas maximize the use of spatial flow and integration with the site.
The house has 3 bedrooms and a family room upstairs, it has an open plan living, dining and kitchen on the lower level with separate bedroom/study, laundry and guest bathroom on the lower level.
The external – beach house’ feel of the house is typical of the area. As time goes on, the untreated external timber battens will grey to reflect a weathered sea-side feel.
The house has a sophisticated and luxurious feel but was realized for around $1mil, which is considered modest for this area.
Photos: Courtesy of Tony Owen Architects
Wentworth Road House is a contemporary suburban home that was completed in 2012, by Edward Szewczyk Architects in Vaucluse, Sydney, Australia. This house takes full advantage of being on the sunny side of the street. Where sun access and vistas to Sydney Harbour are the same you have to embrace it. Three levels of the building topped with a roof terrace create dramatic composition above the street that is controlled by interplay of horizontal elements. Unusually for houses in the surrounding suburb, part of the outdoor functions are in the street frontage and above the street, rather than being hidden behind high fences. The Ground Floor is partially suspended. Connecting garden stairs and terraces are sandstone slabs lightly supported to emphasize position elevated above the ground levels.
The composition of the rear garden is controlled by the dominant presence of an old gum tree providing protected habitat for birds and with its form displaying beautiful shapes and colors of the trunk. The main Family Area at the ground floor level is positioned to benefit from both: distant northern views towards the harbor and intimate views to the gumtree. With the change of lighting, the distant views dominate during the daytime and intimacy of the gumtree takes over in the evenings.
External sandstone slabs change internally to much finer sandstone for the floor and coarse sandstone of wall cladding relates to the entry point. Timber used internally counterbalances stone finishes, slick metal cladding to Master Bedroom and solid steel plates to roof terrace. The building displays large transparency, while maintaining sufficient mass to provide feeling of sound shelter. Simplicity of spaces is enriched by fine detailing of timber and steel elements.
Photos: Justin Alexander
When tastefully designed, a warehouse conversion can provide a strong visual appeal to a dwelling, which is the case with this inspiring property in Fitzroy, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. An exceptional inner city home with ground level double garage, cellar space and laundry are all about convenience. On all the upper levels, luxury is the key. Three large first floor bedrooms, each with built in robes, share a beautifully appointed central bathroom while on the second floor, fabulous living/dining dimensions and a dedicated study/home office zone are framed by soaring ceilings and evocative original beams. An open plan kitchen featuring stainless steel surfaces and smeg appliances adds its own sense of style. Above, the main bedroom’s glamorous en-suite and walk in robes are complemented by bi-fold doors to superb wrap around terraces with views towards the city, but even better 360 degree outlooks accompany a sensational roof-top entertaining area, enhanced by plumbing and BBQ kitchen.
This exceptional warehouse conversion home is listed for sale, from here.
This bedroom has a wonderful indoor / outdoor connection, not to mention fabulous views being on the roof deck level of the home.