A new modernist home by Manolev Associates Architects in Sydney’s Lower North Shore responds to its beautifully lush site, complementing the tranquil bangalow palm-dotted gardens through its intentionally quiet architecture.
The site, which had originally been occupied by a small house built in the 1950s, is blessed with an array of native palms and eucalyptus trees and blooming oleander. Manolev Associates seized the opportunity to work with such a beautiful site in one of Sydney’s most prestigious neighborhoods and showcase how a contemporary luxury home could be designed to allow the natural vegetation and topography of the land to be the primary focus. “We wanted the house to rest in the middle of the property and be surrounded by natural Australian landscaping,” explains Kiril Manolev, principal of the studio. “When you look at the house, right away it’s obvious it can’t be anywhere else in Australia.”
The interiors complement the focus on nature, with a pared-back palette of neutral tones and a strong materiality that is imbued by the prevalence of natural stone, which was sourced by Artedomus. “I introduced the client to Artedomus,” explains Kiril. “I’m known in Sydney as the stone man and I prefer it instead of tile, and most of the houses I’ve designed over the last 20 years use stone.” Positano limestone in a brushed finish features throughout the internal floors and continues outside in a flamed finish, creating a sense of continuity between indoors and out. Sandblasted unfilled travertine walls, washed with light from the skylights above, lend a sense of subtle tactility and permanence, he reflects, saying “Artedomus products bring this uniqueness, warmth and monumentality to this house.”
With natural stone on the walls and underfoot, key areas are then defined through a shift in materiality. In the master ensuite, Artedomus Pietra Basaltina is used as contrast to the Sandblasted Travertine Lait clad walls to create a luxurious sense of depth, its dark tones complementing the joinery in the kitchen and family room whose black dyed veneer utilises the latest technology to allow complete consistency of colour. The stairs, as the key vertical mode of connection between the levels, are defined by timber treads and a copper balustrade. And even the butler’s pantry in the kitchen is given its due, with Japanese INAX Yohen Border tiles, also from Artedomus, introducing a sense of texture and rhythm.
With an emphasis on natural materials and a sense of quiet that is only broken by the sound of the numerous birds that live in the surrounding trees, it may be a generous luxury family home, but it is the simplicity and tranquility that define the architecture. “That is why this house is named The Whisper,” Kiril says. “Everything is made quiet to let nature dominate.”
DESIGNER Manolev Associates Architects
PHOTOS Katherine Lu
BUILD Numac Constructions
LANDSCAPE Peter Fudge
This article originally featured on The Local Project.