A home with relaxed, easy living in mind was the design brief for this busy family’s new house. Luckily, all their ideas became a reality and their stunning home in Sydney’s Mosman boasts expansive water views, plenty of room to move and some cool design features.
The joy of building a house from scratch is getting exactly what you want – there are no existing foundations or support walls to consider, no heritage complications, or structural boundaries to work within. And for Mark and Marcelle, a new build was the perfect opportunity to create a fabulous contemporary home for themselves and their three children – not to mention their four-legged family members, Blossom and Shelby.
A SLICE OF HISTORY
The couple was fortunate to snap up one of 19 blocks sold by the Commonwealth Government through the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. The piece of land they purchased had an old army officer’s house on it which was demolished to make way for their new house. The four-bedroom, two-storey residence designed by Tony Freeman of Molnar Freeman took approximately 18 months to build.
“Our initial brief to the architects was that we wanted an open-plan, modern home, with a bit of wow factor that used the view to its full potential,” explains Mark. The couple chose Molnar Freeman because they were impressed with previous projects they had done and Mark says the firm was also willing to work with them rather than dictate to them.
Consequently, Mark and Marcelle were closely involved in the design process, able to have their say and contribute their ideas. “Designing and building is certainly a very time-consuming project when you want to have a lot of input,” says Mark. “At times it can be frustrating and stressful but it’s very rewarding in the end.”
Unlike traditional home design where the living spaces are downstairs and the bedrooms are upstairs, Mark and Marcelle’s house is the reverse. “Our home is unusual as we wanted to take full advantage of the view so we put the main living and master bedroom upstairs,” Marcelle explains.
The downstairs area has been created as a domain for the children with bedrooms, a bathroom and a large rumpus room that flows out to the backyard and pool area. “The plan was to allow the children freedom downstairs, still with water views, while the adults enjoyed the vista from upstairs,” Marcelle says. And there’s definitely no shortage of activities and equipment to keep the kids entertained – the rumpus room is complete with a large TV area that contains a plasma TV, Xbox, Wii, Playstation, a Space Invaders table and even a pool table/air hockey table – making it surprising that the kids surface from down below at all!
Mark and Marcelle have worked hard to create a chic, contemporary home that is all about easy living. Their abode is welcoming and friendly, and has everything the family needs to afford the seamless flow of day-today routines – but it’s certainly no average family house.
Creating a home with a ‘wow’ factor was important to the couple, so there are some clever design elements such as the front door with the moat water feature, the chandelier ‘disco light’ in the entrance foyer and of course the fish tank built into the wall. Then there are the not-so-obvious features like the laundry chute, the motorised blinds and the television in the main bedroom that drops from the ceiling. Marcelle says people comment most often on the striking front door.
“It was made by Axolotyl – having the floral design on the metal door seemed more welcoming than just having stark wood or metal,” she explains. “I wanted to add a more feminine touch to the house.”
The couple chose clean, crisp whites and neutrals for the interior. “The objective was to create a timeless colour scheme – elegant but contemporary,” says Marcelle. Easily updatable and versatile, a neutral palette can be transformed simply by adding colour or texture through soft furnishings, decor and furniture, she says.
The kitchen area is the hub of the home and the main focus of daily life for this busy family. “I love that it’s the meeting place of the house – we have breakfast at the generous bench, and often dinner as well,” says Marcelle. The couple says that they’re a very active family so it’s great when they can all stop for a brief moment and sit together there.
STORY SUNNY DE BRUYN
PHOTOGRAPHY TONY POTTER
STYLING KATHRYN BORGLUND