Mosman White House in Sydney, NSW Luxury Villa, Australian Residence, Architecture Photos
Mosman White House in Sydney
16 Nov 2020
Design: Mathieson Architects
Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Photos by Romello Pereira
Mosman White House
Mosman White House is located on the slopes of Mosman above Chinaman’s Beach, this three level house overlooks Sydney Harbour’s North Head and the Pacific Ocean beyond.
Set on a steeply sloping site, the house is largely concealed from the street and is carefully designed around the sculptural form of a large Angophora tree.
The principal living spaces open to generous covered terraces and the views beyond. Blackened steel brise soleil are set within deep openings in expanses of white. Smaller apertures provide framed vignettes of the surrounding garden.
Plastered walls, terrazzo floors, silk rugs and Carrara marble, all in shades of white, capture light and shadow. Strong accents of black create moments of contrast. An internal stair is deliberately darkened to counterpoint the lightness of the house and to refocus the senses to the framed external harbour views.
A basalt lined swimming pool is set within a private oasis of green.
Engaged to Develop this Home
We began the journey of working with our clients at the beginning of 2016. The clients’ son had initially found the site (the day before auction) and encouraged his parents to buy the property. He was also familiar with our studio and the clients approached us after the family had seen one of our other projects in Mosman. Like many of our projects we approached the design in a wholistic manner and encompassed the architecture, interiors and furniture, including custom designed joinery and soft furnishings.
How long did the project take?
The project spanned three years from initial engagement until the client move in. The prolonged duration of the project was due to the difficult nature of the site, obtaining planning approval through a complicated council process, and meticulous on-site construction.
Our clients came to us with a detailed brief to draw out the challenging site’s utmost potential for maximising views across the harbour while accommodating spacious light-filled family home.
The key objectives of the brief included:
– Maximised visual access to the harbour views while retaining a high level of privacy.
– Spacious interior environments that capture the movement of light throughout the day.
– A serene refuge to escape from the city.
– Open kitchen (with a view) to cook and entertain within and concealed butler’s pantry.
– 4 bedrooms/en-suites.
– Private garden and pool.
– Gym/Wellness room
– Environments for privacy and entertainment
What sort of mood did you want to create?
Light, calm, and quiet with moments of darker contrast.
And how did you marry this with ensuring each space was functional?
Ordered planning, generous proportions and natural light ensure each space is designed to be functional and beautiful.
How important was incorporating natural light and what did you do to enhance or soften it?
Natural light is evident throughout the house and used to emphasise proportion and distil a sense of calmness. The exception is the internal stair which is deliberately darkened. This counterpoint to lightness throughout prompts a heighten experience moving between the spaces and refocuses the visual connection to the framed external views.
Can you briefly describe the colour palette and the decision behind it?
The colour palette throughout the house is largely shades of white to capture light and shadow, with accents of black to create moments of contrast and definition of space.
What were your first impressions of the property?
The property was unusual for this area of Sydney as it was vacant with no prior built structures on the land. From the initial site visit, it became immediately clear the site had an inherent potential for creating a special family home.
Could you describe the location and view?
The elevated site faces east with beautiful views over the harbour towards the heads and the ocean beyond. The outlook takes in the bay of Chinamans Beach below, across to Manly, and around to Middle Harbour and Clontarf.
Were there any significant challenges, and if so, how does the design remedy them?
The steep nature of the site and existing Angophora tree presented significant challenges but also an opportunity for crafting a design response that is undoubtedly site-specific. The design outcome responds to the site through located specific internal environments across three levels. Social spaces to the top and ground floor with private spaces positioned within the middle layers of the residence. The floor plan of the house is notched around the existing tree with large windows to allow light to flood inside and framed views of the private garden below.
Could you briefly explain how you collaborated with other creatives on this project?
We worked closely with Will Dangar on the garden design. The landscape focused particularly on the angophora tree, the lawn and swimming pool.
How did you create a sense of flow throughout?
From the moment you enter, the internal planning focuses the eye towards a framed view across the harbour, a spatial theme continued throughout the residence. The Internal spaces are anchored around a central volume containing the vertical circulation which included a lift and stair.
What approach did you take when selecting materials?
To create a calm atmosphere a concise and restrained material palette of predominately durable natural materials was selected, which is a common theme of design thinking for the studio. White terrazzo floors, dark stained oak, pale plastered walls, Carrara marble, white and dark stained sandblasted oak are used inside and out.
The simple forms of the fixtures and fittings in brushed metal and concealed fittings complement the selected materials.
How have you connected the interiors to the outdoors?
balcony spaces. Smaller apertures throughout frame the vignettes of the garden and environment beyond. Detailing of the windows to visually conceal frames and the use of slim window profiles enables an uninterrupted connection to the surrounding environment.
Did anything stand out to you as very special? Anything filled with unique potential?
The challenging nature of the site, due to it steeply falling away from street level towards the harbour was seen as an opportunity to create layers of living zones and visually conceal the majority of the residence from street view. An existing mature Angophora tree located in the upper part of the site was retained becoming a part of the site-specific design challenge.
Hand knotted artsilk rug
Custom designed/made Sofa
Custom designed/made Coffee table
Christian Liaigre Mandarin Chairs
Custom designed/made Daybed
Kevin Reilly Lamps
Custom designed/made Dining Table (bronze coloured frame, Pietra Grey marble top)
Molteni Chelsea Dining Chair
Custom design/made credenza (dark stained oak and limewashed elm timber)
The kitchen space is defined as a white volume with a central elongated island bench formed by a black steel frame and honed granite benchtop. Joinery below the bench is finished in limewashed elmwood to introduce a soft contrast to the graphic language.
The balconies to the front facade extend the spatial area of the living rooms and master bedroom and strengthen the connection to the surrounding landscape. A fireplace with a black granite hearth is provided for cooler evenings, while an insect screen lowers against the balustrades to provide a comfortable environment for year-round use.
The central circulation volume acts as a darker and visually restrained counterpoint within the residence. The dark stained oak stair is softly lit from a single recessed trough of light to one side to reset the senses.
Hand knotted artsilk carpet
Custom designed/made bedhead and bedside tables from white-washed wire brushed American Ash
Viabizzuno Roy bedside lamps
White-washed wire brushed American Ash robes
Slab Carrara marble walls
White-washed wire brushed American Ash vanity with custom carrara marble twin basins
Suspended twin mirrors with wire brushed oak frames
Brushed stainless steel fixtures and fittings
Suspended Carrara marble vanity and custom basin
Brushed stainless steel tapware
Suspended mirror with black stained oak frame
How would you describe the architectural and interior style?
The architecture, interiors, and furniture were designed through the lens of modernist principles, establishing a timeless and light-filled residence.
Light, proportion, materiality, and subtle details are utilized throughout the residence to create a sense of understated luxury.
There’s lots of clean, open white space. What was the reason behind this?
The ordered spaces throughout this family home are designed as internal envelopes to capture the subtlety of changing light and evoke a sense of calm. To achieve this atmosphere a minimal material palette is used throughout. Accents of dark stained timber and bespoke joinery elements allow for moments of contrast. Luxury in architecture is created through simplicity and clean spaces to enjoy uninterrupted views of the landscape.
Mosman White House – Building Information
Architects & Interior Architects: Mathieson Architects
Engineering Consultancy: Partridge
Completion date: 2020
Building levels: 3
Photographer: Romello Pereira
Mosman White House images / information received 161120 from Mathieson Architects
Taronga Institute of Science and Learning
Location: Mosman, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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