WORDS Amelia Brown IMAGES Adam Letch
Respected local architects SAOTA, with its interior studio sister company ARRCC, have completed a residential property in the exclusive Double Bay area of Sydney, Australia, that is reflective of its signature design sensibilities: sharp lines, light forms, and the integration of nature.
The property is set in a north-facing cove in Sydney’s large natural harbour, and is bordered by a recreational park and a public pier that juts out into the bay. A pristine beach fronts the house, which is in a U-shape: The entrance is a link between the two wings, separated by an internal garden, which allows views through the spaces to the bay beyond.
The internal staircase at its centre is a showstopper. Visible through the glazing, it is wrapped with gently curving timber louvres. It also delineates the downstairs space, subtly separating the raised kitchen and family dining from the formal areas.
Materials, such as wood and travertine for the floors, and white walls reflect the seaside setting. Off-shutter concrete is used as an accent and appears, like the rendered walls, almost soft and textured when juxtaposed with the geometric screens and aluminium.
The staircase’s warm wood is echoed in the oversailing timber roof canopy, which serves to protect and define the collection of internal and external spaces, and the timber cladding and wood-clad soffit. These elements help to reinforce the building’s appearance as a collection of planes. Graphite grey sail screens (made from “Kaynemaile,” a polycarbonate chainmail developed in New Zealand for the Lord of the Rings movies) are rigged just off the house. They provide privacy while maximising light and views of the park.
Privacy has been carefully considered. From the street and bay view, the largely glazed lower story is concealed below white walls and foliage. On the beach side, the garden is raised above the towpath for both privacy and to dissolve the distinction between the garden and bay from within. In fact, the orientation of the pool strategically makes it appear to extend to the water.
Overall, with the work of ARRCC to create designer interiors that reflect the designer exterior; architects in association, TKD, who worked closely with the client; and a dedicated main contractor, Horizon, that strove for a high-quality finish, the result is a conscientious play of space and privacy, and a fresh, layered composition.