This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Home Where Opposites Attract

Architecture

It is often said that opposites attract… but how does this work in architecture? Downie North’s brief for the Dragon Kite Residence in Surry Hills was to create a space that could accommodate large parties, as well as providing a quiet writers nook.

Through simple and refined approaches, they have designed a home that is both dance-floor and book-club ready.

26th July, 2019

The southern wings of the home offer a quiet study and work zone. Photo – Kat Lu.

A quiet corner in the treetop apartment. Photo – Kat Lu.

The kitchen sits next to the living area, for easy party catering! Photo – Kat Lu.

Light rays through the staircase. Photo – Kat Lu.

Shadows play in the hallway. Photo – Kat Lu.

If you need some quiet time, just retreat to the study. Photo – Kat Lu.

The bedrooms and bathroom are also southern facing, away from the living zone. Photo – Kat Lu.

A room with a leafy view. Photo – Kat Lu.

Miriam McGarry
Friday 26th July 2019

This treetop apartment in Surry Hills came with a brief to the architecture team at Downie North of needing to serve two very different needs for the family. The main living space needed to accommodate parties, dinners and shared living; but the apartment also needed to provide a quiet writers nook. Party cheer meets library quiet time!

The north facing living spaces were designed to be as open as possible, ‘so that walls weren’t dictating space, but furniture could set the scene.’ This flexible arrangement allows for a dance floor (!) by pushing aside the sofas, but also feels comfortable and cosy at more intimate times. While it’s a simple resolution, this design process went through many iterations before setting on this elegant and adaptable layout.

The quiet studio, media, library and bedroom areas of the apartment are tucked into the southern wings, away from the action of the living area. The architects explain that the requirement for a ‘very private, enclosed writer’s retreat with a close proximity to a library’ was achieved by creating a connection with a floor-to-ceiling pivot door.

Downie North were inspired by the work of Mexican architect Luis Barragan, who said ‘any work of architecture which does not express serenity is a mistake’ and the team were ‘quite conscious of simplifying the interiors to create a welcoming sense of refuge. The designers also drew on the work of modern Japanese architects, and the interiors of Peter Zumthor’s Haldenstien house.

With so many diverse reference points, architects Daniel North and Catherine Downie admit it was initially ‘difficult to settle on the direction we should take.’ Through the process of simplifying, reducing and refining, an elegant outcome was reached, resulting in an apartment that serves the diverse needs of every resident – from book worm to party animal!

This Week

Homes

A Waterfront Home In Sydney That Defines 'Approachable Luxury'

The 1880s sandstone home of interior designer Linda Habak and family in Hunters Hill, faithfully extended by Campbell Architecture.

Gardens

A Suburban Backyard Transformed Into A Lush Garden Retreat

Mud Office complements a modern Ivanhoe extension with this magnificent green retreat!
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

An 'Upside Down' Family Home Floating Among The Treetops

A tired 1980s residence in Sydney has been transformed into a serene family home, at the hands of Nobbs Radford Architects.
Sasha Gattermayr

Shopping

Krof Cutlery Brings The Elegance Of Fine Dining To Your Home

A design expert and restaurateur join forces to launch a sleek, high-quality Australian cutlery brand.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Voluminous, Contemporary Home Behind A Modest Heritage Facade

A heritage weatherboard is extended and transformed by Tecture, future proofing this home for a family of six.
Sasha Gattermayr

On The Market

An Interior Designer’s 1930s South Yarra Home Is Up For Sale!

One of South Yarra’s tightly held 1930s homes has hit the market, featuring a masterful renovation by its interior designer owner.

Art

This Sculpture Collaboration Is A Match Made In Heaven!

Artist Kate Florence and sculptor Lucas Wearne of Neighbourhood Studio collaborate on a collection of hand-painted, one-off sculptures.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

An Extraordinary Transformation For This Heritage Sandstone Home

A dilapidated 1870's home in Sydney's Balmain East is restored and extended, with a new concrete addition by Benn + Penna Architecture.

Times Like These

Times Like These... With TDF Editor-In-Chief Lucy Feagins

Our very own founder and editor shares some of the ups and downs of the last few months.

News

Major European Designer Furniture On Sale Right Now At DOMO!

Craving a home spruce? DOMO has got you covered with up to 70% off selected furniture + homewares collections.
Sponsored

News

A Free Virtual Art Fair Is Coming!

Melbourne Art Fair unveils a digital program of free exhibitions, studio tours + panel events!
Sponsored

Architecture

A Contemporary Farmhouse In Suburban Melbourne!

MRTN Architects design a farmhouse suitable for suburbia in Melbourne's Fairfield!

Art

Paul Maher’s Paintings Dwell On The Fringes Of Urban Wilderness

The Newcastle artist paints calm, reflective scenes of life on the edge of human habitats, for his second solo exhibition at Saint Cloche.
Sasha Gattermayr

Giveaway

Sounds Like Home - WIN The Ultimate Home Sound System From Sonos!

To get you through winter we’ve teamed up with Sonos, with a huge prize worth $2936 – Including Sonos' new premium new soundbar, Arc!

Architecture

A Home Purpose Built For A Woman And Her Cat!

A heritage cottage in Fitzroy North carefully restored and renovated by Atlas Architects.
Sasha Gattermayr

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

Daniel North and Catherine Downie

A renovated Victorian home in Sydney's Neutral Bay takes its cues from tropical modernism and Japanese architecture.

Architecture

A Sydney Cottage Conversion Influenced By Traditional Japanese Architecture

Downie North architects bring inspiration all the way from Kyoto, in this clever, space-enhancing renovation.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Home Designed For Introverts

Breathe Architecture create a 'restorative fortress' home for two introverts in Surry Hills, Sydney.
Miriam McGarry

This Week

News

A Free Virtual Art Fair Is Coming!

Melbourne Art Fair unveils a digital program of free exhibitions, studio tours + panel events!
Sponsored

Homes

A Waterfront Home In Sydney That Defines 'Approachable Luxury'

The 1880s sandstone home of interior designer Linda Habak and family in Hunters Hill, faithfully extended by Campbell Architecture.

Gardens

A Suburban Backyard Transformed Into A Lush Garden Retreat

Mud Office complements a modern Ivanhoe extension with this magnificent green retreat!
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Home Purpose Built For A Woman And Her Cat!

A heritage cottage in Fitzroy North carefully restored and renovated by Atlas Architects.
Sasha Gattermayr

Giveaway

Sounds Like Home - WIN The Ultimate Home Sound System From Sonos!

To get you through winter we’ve teamed up with Sonos, with a huge prize worth $2936 – Including Sonos' new premium new soundbar, Arc!

Architecture

An Extraordinary Transformation For This Heritage Sandstone Home

A dilapidated 1870's home in Sydney's Balmain East is restored and extended, with a new concrete addition by Benn + Penna Architecture.

Architecture

A Voluminous, Contemporary Home Behind A Modest Heritage Facade

A heritage weatherboard is extended and transformed by Tecture, future proofing this home for a family of six.
Sasha Gattermayr

Art

Paul Maher’s Paintings Dwell On The Fringes Of Urban Wilderness

The Newcastle artist paints calm, reflective scenes of life on the edge of human habitats, for his second solo exhibition at Saint Cloche.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Contemporary Farmhouse In Suburban Melbourne!

MRTN Architects design a farmhouse suitable for suburbia in Melbourne's Fairfield!

On The Market

An Interior Designer’s 1930s South Yarra Home Is Up For Sale!

One of South Yarra’s tightly held 1930s homes has hit the market, featuring a masterful renovation by its interior designer owner.

Times Like These

Times Like These... With TDF Editor-In-Chief Lucy Feagins

Our very own founder and editor shares some of the ups and downs of the last few months.

Art

This Sculpture Collaboration Is A Match Made In Heaven!

Artist Kate Florence and sculptor Lucas Wearne of Neighbourhood Studio collaborate on a collection of hand-painted, one-off sculptures.
Sasha Gattermayr

Shopping

Krof Cutlery Brings The Elegance Of Fine Dining To Your Home

A design expert and restaurateur join forces to launch a sleek, high-quality Australian cutlery brand.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

An 'Upside Down' Family Home Floating Among The Treetops

A tired 1980s residence in Sydney has been transformed into a serene family home, at the hands of Nobbs Radford Architects.
Sasha Gattermayr

News

Major European Designer Furniture On Sale Right Now At DOMO!

Craving a home spruce? DOMO has got you covered with up to 70% off selected furniture + homewares collections.
Sponsored

Similar Stories

Homes

Daniel North and Catherine Downie

A renovated Victorian home in Sydney's Neutral Bay takes its cues from tropical modernism and Japanese architecture.

Architecture

A Sydney Cottage Conversion Influenced By Traditional Japanese Architecture

Downie North architects bring inspiration all the way from Kyoto, in this clever cottage conversion.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Home Designed For Introverts

Breathe Architecture create a 'restorative fortress' home for two introverts in Surry Hills, Sydney.
Miriam McGarry