Let the deep cedar panels and jigsaw of cream bricks lead you through this suburban oasis in the lower north-shore suburb of Longueville.
Designed by Vanessa Wegner Architects, the home cleverly invites the outside in, whilst creating open plan living and teenage hideaways.
Koskela was lucky enough to fit out the impressive space with our Aussie made and original designed furniture, along with ethically sourced textiles and homewares.
Vanessa tells all in our Q&A, from design goals for the project to her own dream home aspirations.
What inspired you to go out on your own and create your own architectural practice?
When I became a mother I found that working from home and having a flexible working arrangement suited spending time with kids and I was lucky enough to have a few private jobs I could start my business with!
Is there a particular song or go-to playlist for when you’re in the creative zone?
What was your architectural goal and inspiration behind the Longueville project?
To create a warm and inviting family home while maintaining the quality and solidity of the original house. Also to bring in the light to the new living areas which would be relating to a South facing backyard.
What did you find most compelling about the site?
The cross fall of the site was a challenge but allowed us to keep the new form essentially one storey and hidden from the street allowing the exisiting Californian bungalow to be the forefront. Then tucking a lower storey for teenagers under the house where the land falls away. The view over the valley faces West so connecting to it but at the same time screening it from the Western sun was a challenge. We inserted a deep verandah facing the view and detailed timber sliding screens to shade the summer sun.
Were there any road bumps? And how did you get through them?
Not really. The clients went to live in Dubai for 2 years during the process so I managed the CDC and the tender and start of the building with them living remotely. Easy to do these days with the internet!
Pretend the world is back open for travel, where are you travelling to first and why?
We luckily travelled to Europe and Africa just before COVID. I could go back to Turkey as I found the culture and the way they relate to the landscape in their built form inspiring! I could also go back to Japan as again the culture is so inspiring as it is so ancient and ingrained. We just did a trip to Tasmania which was fantastic - the landscape is quite untouched and you can see so many varied landscapes in such a short time.
What’s one thing you think everyone should do to their homes to make them more liveable/beautiful/functional?
The kitchen is really important as that is where we spend the most time interacting with the family and friends. I love designing long kitchens that relate to the outdoor living and landscaped area.
I think everyone should invest in beautiful artwork and furniture as colour and texture creates so much joy in a home.
What’s your favourite period of Architecture and why?
The modernist era. Modernists such as Richard Neutra really connected the built form with the landscape. The warm materials and size of spaces relate well to people. Functionality and design really came together in the modernist era.
What excites you about the future of Australian design?
There are many Australians architects producing some fantastic work. Sustainability is becoming an important part of design. I do hope the developer market can improve in relation to design and sustainability. Passive Haus design is starting to take off which is interesting. I am working on a Passive Haus at the moment. The concept originated in Germany so it needs to be adapted slightly to the Australian climate and way of living. We like living with our doors open for most of the year whereas the concept is about having an airtight building with mechanical ventilation - I am still working out how to approach it successfully.
Your dream house and why… I have always had a fascination with Casa Malaparte in Capri. It sits on top of a craggy promontory on the island of Capri. It is solid and powerful and sits gracefully on the site. The entrance is a staircase forming and enveloping the roof that perches over the sea - it would be incredible to stay in. I think you would really experience the elements of the sea and sky that surrounds it while at the same time being protected by the solid walls!
Your dream house and why…
I have always had a fascination with Casa Malaparte in Capri. It sits on top of a craggy promontory on the island of Capri. It is solid and powerful and sits gracefully on the site. The entrance is a staircase forming and enveloping the roof that perches over the sea - it would be incredible to stay in. I think you would really experience the elements of the sea and sky that surrounds it while at the same time being protected by the solid walls!
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