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In Sydney, a Modern Indoor/Outdoor Barn for a Landscape Architect and Family

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In Sydney, a Modern Indoor/Outdoor Barn for a Landscape Architect and Family

May 28, 2018

A few weeks back, we featured landscape architect William Dangar‘s own residential landscape in Sydney’s Bondi Beach on Gardenista (see Downsizing a House to Expand the Garden: At Home with Landscape Architect William Dangar); you asked to see the interiors, and we’re happy to oblige.

As a landscape designer, Dangar’s priority was the garden; after demolishing an unsalvageable bungalow he had purchased with his wife, Julia, the couple opted to shrink the footprint of the house to make more room for the garden. But with two kids and an increasingly busy life, the Dangars needed room—and opted to build up, instead of out, to buy more space for the family.

Dangar called on trusted friends architect Michelle Orszaczky of Clayton Orszaczky and interior architect Romaine Alwill, both of whom he’d collaborated with on previous projects. For the architecture, the couple’s brief was “evocative and graphic,” Orszaczky says: Inspired by simple timber structures in Greenland and hillside barns in New Zealand, the Dangars specified a modern barn. And for the interiors, Alwill says, the couple requested an “authentic, unpretentious interior that was timeless and practical.” Everyone agreed that the house would engage dynamically with the landscape, and that materials and forms would be chosen to withstand the rigors of family life. The final influence was Japanese: The black exterior siding was inspired by shou sugi ban charred wood, the simple timber frame partly prompted by traditional Japanese timber forms, and Dangar himself created a modern interpretation of a Japanese garden for the landscape.

The result, said Orszaczky, is a “family home where the house and garden address each other, that’s easy to live in and with real warmth.”

Photography by Murray Fredericks and Prue Ruscoe, courtesy of Romaine Alwill and Michelle Orszaczky.

The main room is a combined kitchen and dining with a desk space along the far wall. The room opens onto the backyard via full-height sliding glass doors, and is open to the living room, in the foreground.
Above: The main room is a combined kitchen and dining with a desk space along the far wall. The room opens onto the backyard via full-height sliding glass doors, and is open to the living room, in the foreground.

The kitchen cabinets are American oak veneer with a matte white, hand-painted finish. &#8
Above: The kitchen cabinets are American oak veneer with a matte white, hand-painted finish. “The result is a very natural feel where the grain of the timber comes through,” the designer says. The brass Barn Light pendants above the island were custom-designed for this project, and available for purchase online at Specified Store.
Alwill designed the kitchen to be simple and elegant. “As it’s such a central part of the house, it was to sit quietly within it,” she says.

The countertops are honed Carrara marble. A black steel rail for hanging kitchen tools spans the width of the back kitchen wall.
Above: The countertops are honed Carrara marble. A black steel rail for hanging kitchen tools spans the width of the back kitchen wall.
Cabinets in the walk-in pantry received the same treatment as the main kitchen cabinets, but in black. The floors throughout the main level are engineered European oak boards.
Above: Cabinets in the walk-in pantry received the same treatment as the main kitchen cabinets, but in black. The floors throughout the main level are engineered European oak boards.
A simple, built-in oak plank serves as a work surface, and a custom file cabinet matches the kitchen cabinets. Throughout the house, the designers installed walls of recycled brick, finished with matte white paint.
Above: A simple, built-in oak plank serves as a work surface, and a custom file cabinet matches the kitchen cabinets. Throughout the house, the designers installed walls of recycled brick, finished with matte white paint.
Both the dining and living rooms open completely onto the backyard. (See the full landscape in Downsizing a House to Expand the Garden: At Home with Landscape Architect William Dangar.) The dining table was made by Specified Store and the chairs are by Gervasoni—they&#8
Above: Both the dining and living rooms open completely onto the backyard. (See the full landscape in Downsizing a House to Expand the Garden: At Home with Landscape Architect William Dangar.) The dining table was made by Specified Store and the chairs are by Gervasoni—they’re longtime favorites of the homeowners’, brought along from their previous home.

“Within the site, the symbiotic relationship between the architecture and the garden is apparent, as the house opens out completely to the private garden,” Orszaczky says.

The living room sofa is Bronte from Urban Couture. &#8
Above: The living room sofa is Bronte from Urban Couture. “It’s a practical design, with removable slipcovers, for a family,” Alwill says.
The exterior shingles are stained with Woodsman oil in Pitch Black from New Zealand company Resene.
Above: The exterior shingles are stained with Woodsman oil in Pitch Black from New Zealand company Resene.

“The rough sawn tactile cladding is reminiscent of shou sugi ban,” the architect says.

Used as the daily family entrance, the mudroom has a built-in bench of American oak, floors of tumbled marble, and oak wall hooks.
Above: Used as the daily family entrance, the mudroom has a built-in bench of American oak, floors of tumbled marble, and oak wall hooks.
A landing at the top of the stairs serves as an informal lounge and media room.
Above: A landing at the top of the stairs serves as an informal lounge and media room.
The master bedroom sits at one end of the top floor; a partial-height, black-painted shiplap wall serves as a headboard while dividing the space.
Above: The master bedroom sits at one end of the top floor; a partial-height, black-painted shiplap wall serves as a headboard while dividing the space.

Alwill opted for a largely black-and-white color palette, “warmed up with brass and timber.”

The master bath has a tumbled marble floor, brass fixtures, and a skylight for natural light.
Above: The master bath has a tumbled marble floor, brass fixtures, and a skylight for natural light.
The sliding glass doors can completely open one corner of the house, off the living room. A narrow deck of New Guinea rosewood borders the backyard, hovering over a gurgling fish pond.
Above: The sliding glass doors can completely open one corner of the house, off the living room. A narrow deck of New Guinea rosewood borders the backyard, hovering over a gurgling fish pond.
The house was inspired by photos of “modest little huts on the sides of glaciers in Greenland” taken by photographer Murray Fredericks, along with images Dangar found of black barns in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Above: The house was inspired by photos of “modest little huts on the sides of glaciers in Greenland” taken by photographer Murray Fredericks, along with images Dangar found of black barns in Queenstown, New Zealand.
&#8
Above: “The concept of a barn-style house in the busy beach suburb of Bondi was really an interesting proposition and very much at odds to the general vernacular of the area,” Alwill says.

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