Decked out with year-round com­fort in mind, this Syd­ney home holds all the cards in sum­mer.

Australian House & Garden - - HOUSES - STORY Rosa Se­nese | STYLING Steve Cor­dony PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Felix For­est

For a well-trav­elled cou­ple keen on ar­chi­tec­ture and ready to cre­ate their for­ever home, a clifftop site for sale on Syd­ney’s lower north shore pre­sented all the an­swers. Ut­terly se­duced by its har­bour views, the cou­ple – who both have back­grounds in tech­nol­ogy – snapped up the prop­erty in 2013 and set about plan­ning some­thing spe­cial.

The re­sult, by Syd­ney-based ar­chi­tec­tural firm Wal­ter Barda De­sign, is a beau­ti­fully con­sid­ered, smartly ap­pointed home com­pleted in 2017. Un­der a gen­tly curv­ing roof and sit­ting lightly on its rocky base, the house is built over four lev­els in steel and off-form con­crete, with large ex­panses of floor-to-ceil­ing glass.

“It’s de­signed as a se­ries of ex­ca­vated ter­races step­ping down the slope,” ex­plains di­rec­tor Wal­ter Barda. The ter­races and court­yards flow or­gan­i­cally into the in­te­ri­ors and nat­u­ral out­crops of sand­stone have been wo­ven skil­fully into the struc­ture, en­sur­ing the home rests com­fort­ably in its set­ting, de­spite the ex­ten­sive floor plan.

Charged with lay­er­ing up the in­te­ri­ors, de­sign prac­tice Arent&Pyke took in­spi­ra­tion from the land­scape and the raw ma­te­ri­als used in the build. “The own­ers re­ally wanted an invit­ing, com­fort­able home,” says co-prin­ci­pal Juli­ette Arent. “We were able to cre­ate warmth and in­ti­macy through the se­lec­tion of fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories, light­ing, rugs and art­work.”

Juli­ette, in con­junc­tion with co-founder Sarah-Jane Pyke and as­so­ciate Genevieve Hro­mas, came up with a so­phis­ti­cated scheme fea­tur­ing state­ment pieces sourced from around the world, to­gether with cus­tom de­signs they com­mis­sioned. Their calm­ing colour pal­ette is full of rich­ness and depth, ref­er­enc­ing the eu­ca­lyp­tus trees and stone preva­lent in the lo­cal land­scape as well as the soft grey of the con­crete walls.

The high de­gree of per­son­al­i­sa­tion be­gins at the front door, which is crafted from jar­rah in a nod to the own­ers’ roots in West­ern Aus­tralia. Once past the prac­ti­cal boot room and me­dia room, a long cor­ri­dor takes you to an open-plan kitchen, liv­ing and din­ing area. Up­stairs is the main bed­room, along with a bath­room, of­fice, li­brary and land­scaped ter­race. The low­er­ground floor has three bed­rooms, all with en­suites, and a laun­dry. On the bot­tom level is an art stu­dio (the own­ers have a great love of art and a pas­sion for paint­ing and print­mak­ing), an al­fresco en­ter­tain­ingarea,aswim­ming­pooland­chang­e­room.Con­nect­ing all the lev­els is a lift of glass and steel.

Stand­out ele­ments in­clude the be­spoke black­butt join­ery through­out, a tele­vi­sion con­cealed be­hind a mo­torised art­work in the liv­ing room, and the com­mer­cial-grade kitchen, which fea­tures a three-di­men­sional de­sign based on ab­stracted boats. The ship­ping ref­er­ence was well con­sid­ered; given the water­side lo­ca­tion, the no­tion of the build­ing as a hab­it­able ves­sel arose early in the project and it came to be known as the Slip­way House.

Af­ter a suc­cess­ful two-year build, the own­ers moved in with their two adult chil­dren in the mid­dle of 2017. Thrilled with ev­ery el­e­ment of their new home, they hosted a cel­e­bra­tory din­ner for all the de­sign­ers, con­sul­tants and builders in­volved – the equiv­a­lent of chris­ten­ing a new ship with Cham­pagne.

“They truly feel ev­ery inch of their home is what they had dreamt about and more,” says Juli­ette Arent. “It’s so re­ward­ing for us to be a small part of the joy that a won­der­ful home can cre­ate for a fam­ily.”

Wal­ter Barda De­sign, Syd­ney, NSW; (02) 9264 4240 or wal­ter­bar­dade­ Arent&Pyke, Surry Hills, NSW; (02) 9331 2802 or ar­ent­

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