Speaking volumes

as featured in
Living on a small site doesn't have to mean living in a small space
Photography by: Simon Kenny
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View of the study

Open-plan living makes entertaining easy, and lets us spend increased quality time with our loved ones. It is also an ideal way to increase the sense of space in a small home.

This two-storey house is one of 18 waterfront homes overlooking Sydney's Hen and Chicken Bay, designed by Mirvac Projects' design arm, HPA.

Each lot is only 280m², however each four-bedroom house is approximately 310m² , including a double garage.

Design director Malcolm Sholl says strong spatial geometry can be achieved through open-plan living within the discipline of planes and blades.

The exterior of the house may be small in size, but it is big in its architectural statement. Its cubist forms and strong lines are dramatic by day and night.

The upper balconies feature slots in the side and top, which let in light as well as contributing to the aesthetic.

"It's as though we've taken a cube and sliced bits out of it," says Sholl.

This design is evident throughout the house. Even the layout, although simple, allows for dramatic river views from several vantage points, both inside and out.


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Exterior view of the home

As guests walk in the front door they are able to see straight through the living area to the water beyond. Glazed walls encourage glimpses of the view and increase the sense of space in the house.

Balconies and terraces offer sweeping water vistas, but remain private and enclosed thanks to the use of steps and changes of levels.

A generous internal courtyard with a pebbled water feature provides another private outdoor space with natural light and shelter from the wind.

All of the main living spaces are arranged around this courtyard, which is highly visible and conveniently accessed.

For example, the courtyard can be accessed from the dining area which, in turn, steps down into the formal living room. A built-in fireplace and shelving unit separates the two spaces.

"We haven't closed off one space from the other, but there is a subtle division between the two," says Sholl.

The kitchen and a casual living/dining area are also located around the internal courtyard. In keeping with the overall design, the kitchen features strong lines and high-quality surfaces.

High ceilings, white planes and simple, yet sophisticated detailing are found throughout the house.

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View of the dining area

"By having generous ceiling and space standards we have let the volumes speak for themselves," says Sholl.

While contemporary furnishings have been sourced, the decor was deliberately kept simple so it could be adapted to suit any style.

Each of the four bedrooms upstairs, one of which has been converted into a study, features covered balconies and full height glazed window walls to maximise the view.

Accent colours have been used on some walls to add visual interest.

Sholl says the house is a good example of modern urban living.

"I think it shows that we can build contemporary houses on the waterfront that blend tastefully with the natural environment."

Dec 06, 2004

Credit list

Interior designer
Nikki Rosen, Tina Maydwell, HPA
Kitchen manufacturer
IJF
Window/door hardware
Oliveri
Roofing
Concrete
Paint
Dulux
Heating
Jetmaster
Benchtops
Stone
Sink
Clarke
Oven, hob, microwave and dishwasher
Miele
Hot water systems
Rheem instantaneous gas
Architect
Kim Pappas, Will Duplessis, Sayed Hadisadegh, HPA in association with Bruce Eeles, Eeles Trelise Architects (Sydney)
Builder
Mirvac Constructions
Window/door joinery
Micos Windows
Cladding
Concrete
Flooring
Ceramic/stone tiles from Ace Ceramics
Lighting
Euroluce and Cosmoluce
Kitchen and bathroom cabinets
Timber veneer with 100% gloss polyurethane
Splashback
Glass
Kitchen taps
Caroma
Ventilation
TempZone
Accessories
Meco
Builder
Mirvac Constructions
Window/door joinery
Micos Windows
Cladding
Concrete
Flooring
Ceramic/stone tiles from Ace Ceramics
Lighting
Euroluce and Cosmoluce
Kitchen and bathroom cabinets
Timber veneer with 100% gloss polyurethane
Splashback
Glass
Kitchen taps
Caroma
Ventilation
TempZone
Accessories
Meco
Interior designer
Nikki Rosen, Tina Maydwell, HPA
Kitchen manufacturer
IJF
Window/door hardware
Oliveri
Roofing
Concrete
Paint
Dulux
Heating
Jetmaster
Benchtops
Stone
Sink
Clarke
Oven, hob, microwave and dishwasher
Miele
Hot water systems
Rheem instantaneous gas
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