The owners of this home on a seriously steep site in Sydney's eastern suburbs could be forgiven for thinking they are living in a tree house, albeit a very sophisticated one. Floor-to-ceiling glazing breathes in the leafy canopies of a huge Norfolk Island pine, palm trees and Moreton Bay figs and, when the surrounding hills are awash with flowering jacaranda, it fives a bird's- eye view of nature at its most glorious. Neighbours in this tightly built area are all but forgotten.
Designwise too, it stands apart from its neighbours. The owners hired architects Chris Adams and Bianca Pohio of Pohio Adams to creat a five-bedroom house that's outside the square. Its distinctive shape, clad in zinc, organically hugs the hillside, while cantilevered balconies jut out like outcrops. And the sense of being different starts from the street- a traditional bay window and arched doorway contrast dramatically with the slick contemporary shell.
That sensation of being immersed in the tree canopy attracted the owners, a couple and their children, two girls and a boy, now aged 12, 10 and eight, to the house that formerly stood on the property. Dropping 16 metres from the street to the rear boundary, the site is guarded by a massive Norfolk Island pine on one corner. "We loved being among the trees."says the owner. "You feel you are in a forest while being clse to the city, andthere are no apparent neighbours."
But, after living in the previous home for a few years, they had an intimate knowledge of its drawbacks. "there were not enough bedrooms and the living areas were too small," she says. "And it was disconnected from the garden. We also wanted to put our mark on it, for it to have our own voice", she says.