Vaucluse Houses


The clients, two siblings with their families, had approached us after having already lodged a Development Application with Council. The site was “landlocked”, ie accessible from the street only via a small driveway, and heavily overlooked, as well as dwarfed, by its neighbours. Although high above it's Eastern neighbouring sites there was little view potential recognised in the design of the first DA. Becoming increasingly doubtful about the design of the first DA we were asked to illustrate how we would develop the site.

Our solution employed the gentle rise of the site away from the ocean which we realised with a few small design measures could be enough to stagger the two residences by a whole floor. Instead of the original 'semi-detached' solution pursued by others, where each house had only a very narrow front to the eastern views and a very small garden, we separated the residences completely, location one behind the other, with the rear residence raised by one floor.

The potential disadvantage of looking at the front house's back was more than offset by the advantage of having panoramic ocean views from the upper level, which was therefore assigned Kitchen and Living areas, as well as one bedroom. Part of the roof of the front, ie lower, house was in addition made accessible for the rear, ie higher, house as a landscaped terrace, accessible by a lightweight bridge, thus increasing the highly valuable ocean view living area enormously. The bottom level of the rear house contains three bedrooms and a rumpus/play room, associated with the internal garden, between the two houses, and the pool.

The front house's living areas are on the lower floor, closely linked to the sizeable garden and pool. The upper level contains four bedrooms and a common/rumpus area, with the Master Bedroom and said Rumpus area placed to enjoy the best views. Large central skylights bring in sunlight deep into both houses.