Six months ago Mark and I bought a dilapidated and neglected house on a picturesque street in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. It is a relic from an era bygone – a beauty in its day perhaps but the years have not been kind and any salvageable features have most certainly been lost over time.
The block it sits on however is large, flat and filled with sunshine – it backs on to a bush reserve and captures distant views over the bays of Pittwater. As a property it met our criteria perfectly. We weren’t looking to renovate again, we wanted to build a home and in order to do that we had to find vacant land or a suitable ‘knock-down’. We had, without question, found the latter and acted as quickly as possible on the exciting opportunity.
Our choice of architect, or more accurately architects, came easily. We were so happy to enlist the help of a local husband and wife team, former neighbours and friends who we worked with on our previous home and who have always wholeheartedly understood our aesthetic and design ideals.
And so began visits to the site and chats over cups of tea about what we wanted from our new home, how we imagined it would look and function. It was a process that required us to hold a mirror up to our family and ask questions such as – how big does it need to be? What are the most important design features? How do we want this home to work and feel? It was an inspiring and thought-provoking time and after much careful consideration and discussion we felt happy and confident with the brief we’d created.
To our immense delight, our architects interpreted the brief sensitively and smartly, presenting us with plans that immediately felt and looked right. They have designed a contemporary home that sits beautifully in the landscape and which also meets our family’s practical needs perfectly. The house layout itself is open and spacious and through a series of internal courtyards they have managed to dissolve the indoor and outdoor divide, making the spaces seamlessly link and form an inviting whole.
I was so captivated by these little courtyards. Part of our brief had been to create a home which made people feel as if, on arrival, they have stepped into an unexpected, natural oasis. These spaces definitely help to achieve that but they also do something so much more. They provide areas where the children can be with their friends, where Mark and I can read a book, enjoy a cuppa or entertain guests and where we all have the freedom to be individuals within our family unit.
The design has been given a name by our architects – ‘Cove House’ – which, for me, feels dreamy and soft. It is a name that pays homage to the connected waterways throughout Pittwater while also encapsulating what the house itself will represent.
Through a series of linked rooms and courtyards, our house will unfold like a collection of coves and as someone who is inspired daily from nature and my environment, I couldn’t be more thrilled.
At this point in time, our plans have been submitted to council, the Development Application sign has been erected on site and we are somewhat anxiously awaiting planning approval. Once approved, we can set about demolishing the existing house to make way for our new one. While there is no question that this is a thrilling phase in our lives for me beauty of this process exists just as much, if not more so, in its collaborative nature. It will enable us to work with many local and talented trades-people, designers, builders, craftsmen and artists – all integral in transforming a long-held dream of ours into a tangible reality.