Riverview Road

In 1994 we found an enormous block of land in Avalon that had a 1960’s timber clad single storey cottage situated at the very rear of the block and we were told by Council that a sub division was impossible for numerous reasons.

Believing that 4700sq metres of land should be subdivided we purchased the block. This block of land was heavily vegetated with spotted gum and cabbage tree palms; however it was severely degraded because of years of neglect, particularly infested with lantana. We added a second storey to the original building and extended it downstairs. This house is clad inside and out with second hand corrugated iron and then we apply our earth renders to the tin. The pictures show the result.

All the colours you see are natural clays there is no paint or oxide used on this house inside and out. This same process has been applied at 48b and 48c. While we were extending this building we were also going through the process of sub dividing the block into 3 blocks. After several years we were successful and we proceeded to build 48b and 48c We have continued bush regeneration over the past years and today the bush is healthy flourishing and the development of 3 houses on this site has not detracted from this bush setting in any way. We were able to complete the development without removing any significant trees.


Palm Grove House 1989

This was our family home and the first large building built with the tin and earth render technique. This was a very steep and narrow block only 15metres wide. However the western boundary borded Palmgrove Park. We designed the building to open to the west overlooking the park and to the north with a view to the Avalon headland and beach.

The special feature of this building was the 400mm by 400mm hardwood timber that were used extensively throughout and can be seen by the limited photos we have , note the fireplace. This timber was sourced from a demolition of the old ware houses in the Rocks, Sydney and strangely enough in those days it had very little value. Another feature of this home is the beautiful Yarramalong yellow inside and the circular staircase coming from the garage upstairs seen in the media section of this web site.

This building was built on a shoe string so were particularly pleased when we were one of the winners of Belle House of the Year, competing against all the very best houses built that year that had been featured, and I’m sure our budget was considerably less than our competition. Once again the whole house was made from recycled materials.


48B Riverview Road

This house was the last of the 3 houses that we built and it nestles comfortably in its setting.

Once again this is a timber framed tin clad building made entirely from recycled materials and rendered with our own special recipes producing beautiful colours in a truly clean home. The white internal walls come from white clay dug out of a dam at Crescent Head.

The red you see on many of these houses comes from a cutting in the side of the road north of Taree and the brown from the southern highlands. Yellow renders are easy to find however a beautiful bright yellow is dug from another dam in the Yarramalong valley. The timber ceilings and windows throughout this house were salvaged from the demolition of the Ash commercial development at Palm Beach.

Being under trees we rely on extensive sky lighting to ensure deep sun penetration into the centre of these homes.


48C Riverview Road

This home is built on the most difficult block of land on the sub division. This block follows the access road around the curve in the drive and falls very steeply away. We also had to design a building allowing a 6 metre clear space around a number of mature spotted gums. In the planning of this building we were very keen not to crowd any of these trees. This block we chose for our home. The resulting building once again timber framed corrugated iron clad and earth rendered has proven to be a huge success for us.

The special feature of this home apart from the beautiful colourful rendered walls is the extensive use of hardwood timber that came from the Royal Prince Alfred marina that was replaced with  concrete floating wharves These sections are 200mm by 100mm and vary in length from 4 to 6.5 metres, straight as an arrow and this timber is seen throughout these photographs. Another important feature of these buildings 48b and 48c is the technique of burying the rear of the buildings up to 3 metres deep in order to ensure that the front of the buildings are not sky high and also to integrate the building with the landscape. Built properly there is no issue with dampness nor has this procedure affected the existing bush.

This concept is contrary to many architects who believe that excavation is not touching the earth lightly. On the contrary this technique reduces the visual impact of the building and nestles it beautifully with the surrounding environment


Palm Beach … Wooden House

In 1982 we had the opportunity of building a small building perched on a very steep block of land overlooking Palm Beach and Barrenjoey headland. Being a very difficult site, we hand excavated and discovered that half the site was on bed rock and the other half on large floaters.

Clever geotechnical engineering sorted this issue out and we proceeded to build our timber building on a complex concrete foundation structure. This building features large multi paned windows from the demolition from the wharves at Woolloomooloo. A traditional sandstone fireplace and sandstone walls which came from the excavation and timbers procured from the demolition of the wheat silo at Granville. Another interesting feature is the mud floor which is finished with the traditional boiled linseed oil and turps flood coated and polished. This floor has stood the test of time and has been repeated in the art gallery of the Aboriginal section downstairs under the glass atrium, by us.

This is a very special small building hardly visible from anywhere yet commanding a magnificent view and soaked in all day sunshine.


Rosie’s House

This must have been the ugliest house in Avalon, no disrespect to the client, however the clients were about to travel to India as tourist and we had just returned from Nepal and India so the sub continent was on our minds. It was suggested that we extend the building and there was general agreement when we proposed to be inspired by the design of the Potala that is the Dali Lamas Palace in Lhasa Tibet and we would colour the building inspired by the Amber Fort in Jaipur. Great said the client so off we went. Again this building is iron clad and earth rendered and we used some of the timber from the wharf from Prince Alfred Yacht Club.

Years on there has been no deterioration of any of these earth walls and the earliest buildings were completed in the early 1980’s and unfortunately we have no pictures of these early buildings.


Beach House

The brief for this 1930’s sandstone beach house was to modernise it.

It was trimmed in dark timber had no structural beams the roof was sagging and the rooms were small and dark and the windows didn’t function, needing replacement. The sandstone had been affected by the salt and much of it needed replacing. The solution was to re frame the roof, line the attic and put in a modern bedroom, unsuited, billiard room and office upstairs.  Downstairs all the timber trims around the sandstone was removed to simplify the internal appearance. We removed walls and made openings in existing walls to allow light and views to penetrate. New timber floors were limed and the ceilings were painted turquoise. All the pointing was removed from the sandstone inside and out and the sandstone was tuck pointed.

In order to feature the sandstone we built a glass and timber wall on the beach side of the building 900mm beyond the existing stone walls and we did a similar detail at the entrance. Modern kitchen and bathrooms together with beach furniture and we have created a timeless building which is just as modern today as when we renovated it in 1988. This house has also proved to be a great success and it is joy to enter. Again we planted a tropical garden where there was no garden at all and the result is a cool and lush vibrant outside environment today.


David’s House

David’s House We were approached by our client David who had collected a vast quantity of building materials timber etc and an extraordinary collection of architectural items such as doors, windows and many other Indian architectural features that he had imported.

We suggested that all these featured would fit beautifully into a middle eastern structure and we should design the house around the proportions and style of a very well know Egyptian  architect  called Hassan Fathy from the post 2nd world war period. Hassan believed in using time honoured techniques are arranged into modern spaces. He was a great believer in mud bricks and rejected the post war concept of abandoning traditional forms and techniques and replacing them with steel concrete and glass.

The result was this house which is a true adventure to enter. I provided David with the building form and the skill and knowledge to be able to build it. And he devoted a huge amount of time and energy in incorporating all his wonderful collection of building materials and features.  Trina again with David’s enthusiasm to spur her on created the most beautiful landscaped garden including ponds, a pool and pathways with vegetables fruit and gardens.

This house has proven to be a huge success.