SPEED READ » Architect Polly Harbison took on the transformation of a dowdy 1950s red brick house, painting the exterior an elegant pale grey, for a couple and their two children. » Drawing on one of the couple’s Portuguese heritage, Polly has given the property an Iberian air with arches through the garden and evocative planting by landscaper Michael Bates, who also added timber decking to the existing pool. » Adding to the effect is a beautiful garden room that enjoys sweeping views of Sydney’s Middle Harbour. » Much of the cluttered internal structure was removed to free up space for a generous living area on the ground floor. » Bedrooms on the next level were reconfigured and a sleeping and play area over the garage created for the children. » French-style steel-framed doors and windows capture cooling summer breezes.