Balmoral House

When our client bought this hillside house overlooking Balmoral Beach in Sydney, it had already suffered several renovations since being built in the 1980s. Set over three levels with car garaging on top and two subsequent levels below, the building and its facades were conventional and defensive, with only a tentative connection to the spectacular harbourside setting.

The goal in redesigning was to temper the heat load to the eastern facade, improve the flow and outlook of rooms, create intimacy for the bedrooms and drama for the living spaces – all without increasing the original building footprint.

We wrapped the building in a new double height planted balcony that adds privacy to first floor bedrooms, and sun-shading to the ground floor. A redundant first floor balcony was deleted, allowing us to carve out a double-height living area that’s overlooked by a mezzanine library, opened up to light with sky-catching glass walls.

Connecting the levels is a central stairwell flooded with light. It’s screened from the living room by a two-storey steel bookshelf that defines the south edge of the staircase and anchors the home’s moody, monochrome palette.

Outside, significant landscaping was done to connect the house to its site, and heighten the experience of arrival and place. The old garages are replaced with a lightweight roof structure that frames views far and wide, while at ground level, the large swimming pool is reduced in size to balance relationships between house and garden, structure and site.