these pages Colours and finishes in the living
room reflect the abundant nature outdoors at
this apartment in Sydney’s Point Piper. American
walnut joinery by Glen Ryan and Associates.
and outdoors. ‘Empire’ sofa from Jardan. Arne
table, both from Corporate Culture. Outdoor
o n l y c o n n e c t
Photographs ross honeysetT words nigel bartlett
Capturing a harbour view isn’t simply a case of point and shoot.
It’s about building an intimacy with the water and all its sights.
“AS SOON AS YOU COME INTO THIS ROOM YOU FEEL
AS IF YOU’RE FLOATING AMONG THE LEAVES. IT’S AS
THOUGH THE FLOOR’S BEEN LAID ON THE BRANCHES.”
ne of the surprising challenges in designing a Sydney
harbourside home is what to do with the view. Sounds
like a simple problem with an easy solution: just point
the windows at the water. But there’s more to it than
that. At this apartment, for example, architect Andrew
Burges was keen to ensure the occupants maintained a close
connection with the harbour and all its sights, and that required
a different mindset to that favoured in many waterfront homes.
The apartment is one of two that Andrew designed on the site
of a former family home in Point Piper. It is laid out over four
descending floors, with living areas and kitchen on the entry level,
the three bedrooms below, a separate loggia/garden level below the
next apartment and, at the bottom, a self-contained ‘boatshed’
for house guests or informal parties on the water’s edge.
With the connection to the harbour in mind, Andrew avoided
creating enormous, expansive balconies that leave the occupants
feeling remote and distant from the water. “That sort of very deep
terrace creates a big separation, and I really wanted to create a
much more intimate feeling,” he says.
Windows in the main bedroom and living area wrap around
the corner of the rooms to create a diagonal sightline across the
harbour, taking in as much of the view as possible. And a second
living area occupies what would have been part of the terrace in
the hands of other architects. “Rather than just having one great
big terrace running along the front, we’ve made what feels like an
outdoor room that brings you close to the view,” says Andrew.
An eight-metre-long window in that room takes in the upper
branches of the large tree to the side of the building, creating the
sensation of sitting in a treehouse. “As soon as you come into this
room you feel as if you’re floating among the leaves,” says interior
designer Christine Holman, who worked closely with Andrew. “It’s
as though the floor’s been laid on the branches, then you walk in
further and see the harbour. You become quite mesmerised.”
While the home has a classic room structure, doors between
each room are intended to be left open virtually all the time, again
to maximise access to the views, sliding out of sight unobtrusively.
And a mirrored wall at the rear of the kitchen reflects the harbour,
despite being set deep into the apartment.
Andrew and Christine chose finishes and materials with the
location very much in mind. “There’s a kind of ostentatiousness
in many waterfront homes that leads to a choice of colours and
materials that’s quite incompatible with the harbour,” Andrew
explains. “We wanted a look that felt opulent but in a casual way
that related to the natural colours outdoors.”
these pages A second living area, adjoining the kitchen, extends into a space that would have been a terrace in the hands of another architect.
An eight-metre-long window down one side creates the sensation of sitting in a treehouse. The flooring is American oak and the sliding doors are
framed in New Guinea rosewood. Interior designer Christine Holman picked the cowhide rug to suit the natural finishes.
TO BE REFINED
BUT ALSO ROBUST,
HENCE THE USE
the harbour views. Sitting in the boatshed, the jetty appears to run straight up from
Hence, American oak flooring and American walnut joinery imitate
the trees outside, Italian limestone walls and marble floors echo the
colour of sand on the shore below, and the leaf-green upholstery
on sofas and seating tie in with the foliage beyond the windows. “The
trees play an important role, especially from the main bedroom,” says
Christine. “When you lie on the bed, that tree frames the harbour icons.
I find it quite beautiful, and we wanted to reflect that colour.”
The two levels at the bottom of the building are spaces to truly get
close to the harbour. On one, a loggia leads out to a fenced lawn that
is secure enough for children to play in, while the ‘boatshed’ at the
bottom creates a home away from home for the apartment’s occupants,
with its own kitchen and bathroom for lazy afternoons by the water
or relaxed get-togethers. And a double bed set into the wall means it
can be used as a guestroom when needed.
The look of these lower levels is quite distinct to that of the rest of
the building, with natural sandstone exterior walls giving a rougher,
more textured finish than the smooth, refined upper levels. The
boatshed’s walls and ceiling are exposed concrete, wooden floorboards
mimic the jetty outside, and access is via a sliding wooden door. “The
aim was to create a completely different room right next to the harbour,”
says Andrew. “We wanted it to be refined in its own way but also robust,
hence the use of concrete, wood and rough sandstone. It’s more closely
related to the rock edge.” And with the jetty seeming to run straight
indoors, you can’t get more connected to the harbour than that.
S p e e d r e a d
Architect Andrew Burges and interior designer
Christine Holman created this three-bedroom
apartment in Sydney’s Point Piper. +The home has
an intimate connection with the harbour, thanks to
with understated and natural materials and colours.
Lower levels have a distinct look to those of the
upper levels, with rougher, more textured finishes.
beinstalled.‘Zuri’bathfromRogerseller.Santa&ColependantlightfromECCLighting+ Furniture.OPPOSITEPAGE Themaster bedroomwindowwrapsaround