We saw the chance to enhance our lives with a house that reflects our deep interest in music and the arts when the site next to our Balmoral house became available in 2011.
Clinton Murray and Polly Harbison designed our beautiful weekend house in Bundeena in 2006. John, Mike Faulks and the Bellevarde team built it.
So of course, we called Clinton and John.
Building Bundeena with John had taught us how to minimise the emotional and financial costs of building a new house. The key is the time and effort you put in to identifying precisely what you want beforehand, so that the costs are clear and measurable. The more you leave to later, the more costs will overrun.
Over the following 12 months we met with Clinton and Polly often. We explored and clarified what we wanted our house to deliver and how best to release the potential of the site.
Through our often spirited but always rewarding discussions, the design emerged and resolved itself beautifully. It was inspired by a sculpture from Noguchi—a play on solid and void.
The distinct public face presents simply to the street—while offering passersby delightful views across and through the property into Middle Harbour—plus a wing that includes a music recital room—and part time table-tennis venue and gym.
Private areas offer commanding views of great joy to us.
The floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding the kitchen on level two silently disappear into the walls so you are effectively dining alfresco.
There is a three-storey staircase through the centre of the building that is both a work of art and a tribute to how well the architects, engineer Ken Murtagh and Bellevarde’s Mick Carroll, worked together.
The staircase appears effortlessly suspended in space.
Concealed within its construction, is a great deal of original thought and design, realised with technical excellence and ingenuity.
When foreman Adam Howe had to have an operation, Mick Carroll stepped in without missing a beat. And there was always John, ready with three solutions to any issue, chanting ‘cost and worth’.
We all enjoyed the building process as Clinton, Polly, Carol, I, John, Mick, Adam and the Bellevarde guys worked our way through every detail of bringing this house to life.
We recommend John and Bellevarde without hesitation to friends who love architecture and want to build challenging and rewarding homes to the very highest standards.
We do not believe anyone builds homes with more passion and integrity.
The finished house still takes our breath away.