Stepping Up
Belle Magazine Australia|December - January 2021
Terraced back on its sloping site this Sydney eastern suburbs house makes the most of the ocean outlook with a simple, quietly luxurious design.
Judy Pascoe

Faced with a steeply sloping site that promised a spectacular ocean view in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, architect Matthew Krusin, principal of Tobias Partners, knew that a terraced design was the answer.

“We had a challenge – we knew how many levels we needed to go up and we didn’t want to create a straightup monster,” says Matthew. However, it’s one thing to terrace down but very different to terrace up. “We had to ensure that as you ascend the site each level is an experience. Otherwise you just feel you are constantly walking up.”

The single-storey house that occupied the site squandered its dress-circle ocean views. Having lived in the neighbourhood for some time the owners wanted to be close to the beach for their two young children and were excited by the possibilities of the block. They needed space but also wanted a simple design where all the levels of the house felt connected.

The family and the architect began discussions on the rebuild in 2013. “We worked slowly and took our time with the design, looking at the different conditions,” says Matthew. “It was a nice collaborative process and we wanted to be sure everyone was happy with how we were using the site. We wanted to create a beautiful finished product but we didn’t want to overcapitalise.”

The resulting house steps back up the slope from a sandstone-encased underground garage and timber battened foundations at street level. A series of concrete frames form the structure that rises more than 13 metres from the road with a “delicate hat” sitting at the top. The lift and stair are set off to one side to allow the full width of the fairly slender site to be utilised.

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