Open and Seamless – The Chainmail House by MHN Design Union and CRD

Words by Bronwyn Marshall
Architecture by MHN Design Union
Photography by Tom Ferguson
Interior Design by CRD
Landscape Design Scape Design
Landscape Contracting Starr Landscapes

Embodying an embedded generosity at its core, The Chainmail House captures the spirit of openness and celebrates the importance of the creation of a private sanctuary. MNH Design Union and CRD combine to craft an internally connected and calming home of grand proportions, navigating its steeply sloping site.

Located in inner Sydney, The Chainmail House sits within Vaucluse with front facing views reaching out over the water. Built over a sloping terrain, the home’s multiple levels cascade down the site, descending the topography’s decline and optimising the outward aspect. Having recently relocated from Canberra, where the occupants were conditioned to living within a larger home, retaining a spacious and non-restrictive plan was imperative. Clean lines and a clear sense of restraint consequently underpins the entire approach, where a modernist sensibility directs the overall formal direction. With architecture by MHN Design Union and interior design by CRD, The Chainmail House carries synonymous details across the site.

Clean lines and a clear sense of restraint consequently underpins the entire approach, where a modernist sensibility directs the overall formal direction.

The Chainmail House By Mhn Design Union And Crd Project Feature The Local Project Image (9)

Whilst there was a clear formal directive for the home, functional elements needed to be integrated to allow the home to be supportive of everyday living. Concealed storage and amenities allow the sculptural elements – the artwork, furniture and lighting – to sit expressively within the home whilst the bulky support features sit more recessive in nature. Built by K2 Property Development Group, together with landscape design by Scape Design and Starr Landscapes, the entire site is sculpted to convey cohesion and intention. Whilst the extensive outward views remained a priority, close engagement with the immediate surrounding garden was an important element in maintain the occupants’ connection with the natural.

The structure is constructed using off-form concrete, allowing the levels to be anchored in place and navigate the slope of the site. On the upper level, the namesake of the home sees a chainmail mesh veil surround the form and offer a reflective element for the sun and wind to engage with. Internally, the core concrete materiality remains expressed, seeing softer elements layered to break up and buffer the sharp edges. Timber is used to add both texture and a natural feature and, by creating opportunities for light to move through the spaces, the experience of the interior changes throughout the day.

The Chainmail House By Mhn Design Union And Crd Project Feature The Local Project Image (13)

Timber is used to add both texture and a natural feature and, by creating opportunities for light to move through the spaces, the experience of the interior changes throughout the day.

Combining a minimal restraint with a generous sense of scale, The Chainmail House combines the best of what the occupants loved from their previous chapter. In their design, MHN Design Union and CRD hero the surrounding rugged terrain, balancing connection to nature with urban living.