Reimagining the Classics – House Woollahra by Carla Middleton Architecture
Woollahra, NSW, Australia

Photography Tom Ferguson
Words Bronwyn Marshall
Soft Furnishings Pip Casey Interiors

A new home that feels far more established than its years, House Woollahra is immersed with lush gardens and inspired by classical architecture. Carla Middleton Architecture proposes a light-filled home connected to place through an open engagement with the surrounding landscape.

Sitting behind and encased by other established homes in Sydney’s Woollahra, the house of the same name speaks to its context through a connection to classical proportions and scale. As a battle-axe site, the aim was to create a sense of presence and sanctuary once within the home, an aim with which the lush, dense surrounding greenery aided measurably. The light, white home is a nod to the surrounding villas and stately historical homes, with the expression of arched openings connecting between the inside and out while softening the bounding edges. Although a new build, the home is deliberately conceived as though it were much older, with an intentional approach to materiality and form that reflects an established nature. Through an understanding and appreciation of this rare site, Carla Middleton Architecture optimises the tightly woven urban fabric to propose a befitting insertion.

As a battle-axe site, the aim was to create a sense of presence and sanctuary once within the home, an aim with which the lush, dense surrounding greenery aided measurably.

Built by M&G Building, House Woollahra is the fourth collaboration between the client and Carla Middleton Architecture, standing as a testament to the relationship. The unique siting of the home behind and amongst such established elements creates a naturally occurring sense of privacy, allowing an openness within the site without impacting the experience of the home. Natural light is an integral part of the design, and indeed of life in Sydney, acting as a consistent reminder of climate and an engagement with the outdoors.

The four-bedroom, six-bathroom home weaves together three separate living spaces and two separate studies. As a core feature of how the family use their home, having private study spaces that feel comfortable at all hours of the day was key, and these space’s connection to the landscape reinforces their importance. The original swimming pool was repositioned, as well as the location of the home and living spaces to better connect with northern aspects and the key connection to the natural. Generously opening to its surrounds, the opportunities for entertaining unfold throughout, with a multitude of grouped setting opportunities. A matched approach to lightness is felt inside, with heightened quality and polished surfaces sitting next to textural and muted timbers. The interior experience is then emphasised through the incoming light.

The light, white home is a nod to the surrounding villas and stately historical homes, with the expression of arched openings connecting between the inside and out while softening the bounding edges.

In embracing illumination and classical proportions, Carla Middleton Architecture has conjured House Woollahra as a beautiful embrace of the natural, while fittingly connecting to its surrounding context

Published 7 June, 2021
Photography  Tom Ferguson
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