This Mediterranean-style property in Castlecrag, with glimpses of Middle Harbour, could easily be in Portugal. With bougainvillea shooting on the concrete columns framing the new garden room, this relaxed residence is now home to a couple with two children. “One of the owners has ties to Portugal hence the arches and these beautiful handmade tiles,” says architect Polly Harbison of Polly Harbison Design, pointing to the blue and white tiles inset in a new wall in the dining room.
While this house, now painted a pale grey and featuring a number of steel and glass windows and doors, appears to have been simply ‘tweaked’ by Polly, the before photos reveal why the neighbours referred to it as ‘la bête rouge’. Originally a 1950s house that expanded to accommodate 10 children, there was no rationale behind each adhoc addition. When Polly and her clients visited the 1000sqm site, it was the surrounds, rather than the red-brick pile, that caused a positive reaction. “It’s safe to say that most wouldn’t have thought twice about pulling it down,” recalls Polly of the former dimly lit spaces and the various level changes required. “You had to enter the house down a side path and there was no circulation spine,” she adds.
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