Next Level

This cliff­side Syd­ney home is the height of con­tem­po­rary so­phis­ti­ca­tion.

Australian House & Garden - - Content - STORY Deb­o­rah Grant | STYLING Kayla Gex | PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Ma­ree Homer

Late 2016 saw the re­al­i­sa­tion of a dream for a Syd­ney fam­ily, who fi­nally moved into the north­ern beaches home they’d been plan­ning for years. Hand­ing them the key was Michael Kilkeary from Ca­dence & Co, who’d helmed the de­sign team, in con­junc­tion with land­scape de­sign­ers Ju­lia Le­vitt and Fiona Eric­s­son from Sticks & Stones Land­scape De­sign. Be­tween them, they’d spent more than 18 months work­ing on the four-level, six-bed­room home that fit­ted per­fectly into the front-line beach lo­ca­tion.

Though ex­cit­ing for all in­volved, the project wasn’t without its hitches. “The pre­vi­ous owner, a de­vel­oper, cleared the site and built a con­crete bunker as the base, but ob­jec­tions from neigh­bours to the DA’s five lev­els had made it un­vi­able,” says Michael. The present own­ers, who have a num­ber of chil­dren, were happy to re­duce the foot­print to bet­ter fit the site.

Ca­dence & Co has worked on a num­ber of the own­ers’ houses and Michael, the firm’s ar­chi­tec­tural de­signer part­ner and lead in­te­rior de­signer on this home, was able to take them from the de­sign stage through to con­struc­tion and project man­age­ment while en­sur­ing a su­pe­rior level of fin­ish, in­side and out. “The ex­ter­nal fin­ishes – painted ren­der, ver­ti­cal zinc pan­elling and stone rock­face cladding – pro­vide a low-main­te­nance struc­ture that can with­stand harsh beach­front forces,” says Michael.

De­sign-wise, the house had to be sym­pa­tico with the site and of­fer pri­vacy in each of the bed­rooms and var­i­ous liv­ing ar­eas, as well as out­side ar­eas, in a lo­ca­tion that beach­go­ers fre­quent all year. An­other chal­lenge was bring­ing light into the lower lev­els. Trim­ming a floor from the orig­i­nal plan meant Michael could in­crease the ceil­ing heights and win­dow sizes to let more sun­shine in and cre­ate bet­ter views. At the sides and rear of the home, where there wasn’t a di­rect ocean as­pect, he al­lowed enough room for lush gar­den vis­tas.

En­try is on level two, above the base­ment garage and gym. The liv­ing and pool en­ter­tain­ing ar­eas flow from here, as well as two bed­rooms. Up on level three are the main liv­ing and din­ing ar­eas, bar­be­cue terrace and me­dia room, and on top are two more bed­rooms plus the par­ents’ suite. The own­ers wanted a mod­ern, warm and live­able home with a be­spoke feel. This has been achieved through con­trasts of stone and wood on the floors, walls and ceil­ings, in­spired by some of the tex­tures out­side.

Glass is an im­por­tant fea­ture and used lav­ishly to cre­ate sight­lines up and down stairs and across rooms. There’s a frame­less glass wall in the hall, glass in the lift at the back of the stairs, and even in the din­ing room’s pen­dant lights, where the vol­ume is gen­er­ous but doesn’t ob­struct the art­work be­yond.

Lux­ury abounds, from the sim­ple (an el­e­gant cedar bench seat in the sec­ond en­suite’s steam room) to the sub­lime (the Lagano gran­ite in the foyer). “The en­try walls fea­ture it in a di­ag­o­nal ribbed tex­ture that gives the im­pres­sion of a lovely cor­duroy fab­ric,” says Michael. As well as a fully ap­pointed home, there’s an acous­ti­cally con­trolled me­dia room, a swim­ming pool over­look­ing the beach and a cel­lar next to the din­ing room.

Land­scap­ing was key to the suc­cess of this house and Sticks & Stones has done an amaz­ing job. “We were brought in to soften the spa­ces and cre­ate an in­stant gar­den,” says Ju­lia. “There were more than 3500 plants care­fully spec­i­fied and grown for this home. We sourced from as far afield as Queens­land, as well as a 50-year-old Dra­caena draco tree from a spe­cialty grower.”

The slop­ing site called for a re­laxed, me­an­der­ing tim­ber stair­case that con­nects with each des­ti­na­tion. “Ev­ery pocket of the spot­ted-gum deck­ing, tim­ber stair­case or re­tain­ing wall is filled with dif­fer­ent tex­tures and hues of green,” says Ju­lia. The top deck, which is se­cluded and pro­tected, is her favourite: “It’s a nice es­cape from the heat and bus­tle of the day.”

In re­cent months, the cus­tom-formed con­crete fire pit on the pool terrace has been a real hit with the own­ers. As Michael says, “It al­lows the fam­ily to sit out­side in win­ter, over­look­ing the beach yet warmed by a spec­tac­u­lar open fire.” > Ca­dence & Co, Ter­rey Hills, NSW (02) 9450 1950 or ca­dence­ Sticks & Stones Land­scape De­sign,

Surry Hills, NSW; 0439 822 079 or stick­sand­

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