Prior to renovation this home sat down a steep drive, now it comes up to street level to greet guests and the sun – one of several bold design moves

Designed by Daniel Lomma Design

From the renovating designer:

The brief

A growing family of five lived in the original home purchased a few years ago but the exisiting home did not flow or work well for the family. 

There was discussion of demolishing the home and starting from scratch. 

However, upon careful consideration it was decided that a renovation would lead to the best possible outcome. 

The homeowners approached me with the following requests:

Link exisiting first floor bedroom wings so that access is not just via staircases – the original house had the bedrooms positioned so that there was distance and clear separation between the master bedroom and other bedrooms – but this layout was not suitable for a young family.

Originally to access the minor bedrooms from the master, you had to go down a staircase (river end) and walk approximately 20m on the ground floor to get to the other staircase towards the front of the house, then walk up this staircase. 

The owners were concerned that there was too much separation from their young children.

The homeowners' wider brief included the following:

  • Eliminate winding, severely sloping driveway
  • Create street appeal and presence – originally you could not see the house from the street – all you could see from the sliding driveway gate was the tiled roof
  • Create ease of access for vehicles to not only the garage but also for guests – there were a number of external steps that were exposed to the elements which the owners wanted to eliminate
  • Ease of access into the house for guests from street level – in the past, visitors would park on the verge to avoid the sloping driveway, then be required to walk without cover for close to 50m before reaching the front door
  • Maintain external access to exisiting swimming pool from the street (for maintenance services)
  • Maintain modesty from both elevations (street side and river side)
  • A lift
  • Self-contained au-pair/guest wing accommodations for international long-term visitors – the guest wing also needed to comfortably house ageing parents – making this a multi-generational home
  • Usable yard space for children – all exisiting open areas were either raised garden beds or driveway/paving
  • A scullery, cool room, larger laundry, wine cellar
  • Four car garage
  • A gym
  • Home office which is accessed via the front entrance and which does not impact the rest of the home – clients can come and go without the family being disrupted
  • Detached multi-use studio
  • A games / pool room
  • Refurbished bathrooms
  • Refurbished and extended kitchen
  • Refurbished and extended master suite
  • Lots of storage space, including ease of access to river for kayaks, dinghy
  • Multi outdoor living zones to accommodate young children, teenagers, and an adults area to display art
  • A gate house
  • Bring the home up to a modern aesthetic – update fixtures, fittings, materials, while staying in keeping with exisiting colour palette

Design solution

The block dimensions are approximately 15.23m wide by 70m long with a fall of just over 8m. 

There is a sewer line and an easement running directly through the middle of the block, between both side boundaries. 

Careful consideration of the neighbouring properties was taken into account, especially during the design phase. 

Upon investigation of the exisiting residence, due to the severity of the sloping driveway, exisiting concrete piles were found along the eastern and western boundaries.

The starting point of the design was creating street level access to the garage and entry. 

This meant demolishing the existing garage and porch stairs at the bottom of the driveway. 

Due to council regulations and height constraints, the lift shaft in its final location was as far south (towards the river) as was permitted. 

In order to maintain external access to the pool, external staircases had to be allowed for – one at street level along the western boundary, and, due to the steepness of the block and taking into account the excavation restraints, the other orientated inwards. 

The arrangement presented an opportunity to create a point of interest at the entry level, in the form of a sunken courtyard. 

This sunken courtyard not only provided access between external staircases, but also the opportunity for ventilation and natural light to the rooms located on the middle floor. 

Utilising the external staircase from the street, and the sunken courtyard, this seemed the most logical location for the self-contained au-pair/guest bedroom so guests can come and go as pleased. 

Another opportunity which arose from the external staircase being required, was the undercroft/courtyard play-space for the children. 

An underground sewer tunnel had to be built to allow future access to the sewer line while the height of the sewer line dictated the floor level to the gallery and adjoining courtyard.

 Due to the length of the block, and the exisiting main living area being at the back of the block on the river, there is almost 70m from entry to this point. 

It was important not to feel as though one was actually walking such a distance to the main living area and a series of interesting focal points such as sunken courtyards, river views, and the swimming pool area, helps to add interest and makes the journey a pleasant experience.

Lightweight construction methods were required to bridge the two pavilions on the first floor. 

A series of full height windows and a private balcony helps with cross ventilation and provides natural light. 

The eastern elevation to the suspended catwalk (poolside) was totally clad in powder-coated aluminium. 

The existing alfresco roof was removed and a double storey Vergola roof was installed – this opens up the outlook from the top of the existing staircase to the pool and alfresco.

Inspiration was drawn from the existing residence, including colour palette and outlook – in saying this, it was of the utmost importance that the renovations feel like a totally seamless new build.


During early discussions, the homeowners were considering demolishing the entire existing house and begin a new build. 

After much thought and consideration, the decision was made to renovate the existing home. 

This has saved huge amounts going to landfill, and at the same time we were able to re-use some of the building products already in place (see below). 

Natural stone was introduced as a feature building product, to help update the aesthetic of the home, while also adding to the low-embodied energy materials used. 

Solar panels were installed as well as batteries, to store natural energy. 

The orientation and positioning of sunken courtyards, light wells, and external voids, helps allow access to the winter sun to the new office and gym.

Careful consideration was also given to maintain access to winter sun (north facing) to the existing main living areas and bedrooms. 

This also contributed to accessing natural light and ventilation. 

The removal of the existing alfresco roof and replacing it with the raised openable Vergola system allows for solar control.

A number of exisiting building materials were salvaged and re-used, including roof tiles and timber eaves lining.

Take a tour of this award-winning renovation of a large family home

Credit list

Renovating building designer
Kitchen designer
Dominik Frisina
Interior designer
Dominik Frisina
Monier Prime Horizon Concrete Roof Tiles
Motorised blinds – living room, kitchen
Main flooring
Caesar Blizzard (2780 x 1200), from Myaree Ceramics
Merlino, from Merlino Furniture
Dulux – custom to match Polytec Blossom White
Escea, from Subiaco Restoration
Control systems
C-Bus / Bailey Audio Visual
Dining table/chairs
Cattelan, from Ultimo Interiors
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Winner
Co-designer (kitchen, ensuite, material selections)
Dominik + Karl Design Studio
Kitchen manufacturer
International Cabinets
Mondo Landscapes
Powder coated aluminium, from Vision Clad Australia; Roda Linea Stone, from Eco Outdoor; Calacatta Black Florim stone
Louvre system
Window/door joinery
Jason Windows
Bedroom flooring
Feltex, from Carpets Online
Verve Designer Collections in powder room, master bedroom and WIR
General heating
Under floor heating and reverse cycle Daikin air conditioning, from Ramsay Air Conditioning
Feature light fittings
Entry and dining – Studio Italia "Wind", from Alti
Living area furniture
Natuzzi; Merlino
GFL Fine Art

Designed by: Daniel Lomma Design

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Michael Conroy

03 Mar, 2024

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