William and Julia Dangar are always on the lookout for high visibility properties located on laneways. In a stroke of fate, their business partner from Robert Plumb Build, Bill Clifton, had just bought a house in Bondi, alerting them to the rundown property next door meeting this very description. They soon decided to buy it. ‘We thought we could do a wonderful collaborative couple of buildings sitting together, that we call siblings,’ explains William.
The post-war house was in a state of disrepair at the time of purchase, requiring the majority to be demolished. Only the facade of the semi-detached facade and the original front room have been retained, joined by a contemporary concrete, glass, steel and metal mesh building. Materials were recycled where possible, with all of the bricks from the demolished rear recovered and cleaned on site.
Andrew Burges Architects were engaged to design the home, blurring indoors and out for a perfect Sydney summer experience. The interiors are a collaboration between David Harrison and Karen McCartney, introducing white washed reclaimed brick walls and generous linen curtains, combined with a mix of designer and vintage furniture (including pieces from the couple’s other business, Robert Plumb) and carefully considered lighting. The use of minimal, natural materials creates a simultaneously relaxed and sophisticated aesthetic.
As one of Australia’s leading landscape designers and director of Dangar Barin Smith, the garden was an obvious priority for William. Offsetting the industrial materials of the home are mature trees surrounding the house, along with a range of succulents and cacti on the ground level and first floor roof. The curvaceous form of the extension allows the garden to continue lengthways down the site, accommodating an existing Bismarck Palm, and creating a close connection to the interiors.
Among William’s favourite things about this home are the way it invites the sun in year-round, with beautiful north-east breezes during summer. The family also love the positioning of the home on the site, which opens the property up to its adjoining north-facing laneway. ‘The large kitchen window opens up to the community and allows us to interact with passers by,’ Will explains.
When asked what the biggest challenge of this project was, William says, ‘Controlling the budget, (we didn’t)’ and ‘not over capitalising, (we did).’ Looking at the incredible end result, we have to assume it was all worth it!
With a celebrated career spanning 25 years, William Dangar is one of three esteemed judges in the Landscape Design category of The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2020. Entries close next Friday May 15th – learn more here!