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

This Lower North Shore Family House Feels Like A Permanent Vacation!

Architecture

Principal of Manolev Associates Architects Kiril Manolev fought long and hard to retain the impressive, mature palm trees on this Lower North Shore property.

The architect was engaged to design a new house onsite that retained the trees, but the original clients ended up selling the property before construction could commence.

Recognising the trees’ likely fate in new hands, Kiril contacted a buyer he knew looking to purchase in the area, and after looking at his design, they decided to buy the property and save the day! 

The resulting ‘Whisper House’ embraces its surroundings, particularly those two Bangalow palms, which frame the entry and provide a solid identity.

22nd February, 2021

The Whisper House by Manolev Architects. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – RMD Styling Co

‘The house is physically there, but it whispers of its existence, hence the name,’ says architect Kiril Manolev. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – RMD Styling Co

The loose brief was for a four-bedroom house, with oversized living area, outdoor gardens and an infinity pool in the backyard. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – RMD Styling Co

Project materials include concrete, travertine and limestone. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – RMD Styling Co

Through its double-height internal volumes and transparency, the house provides constant interaction between the interior and exterior. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – RMD Styling Co

Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – RMD Styling Co

Living in this house is like being on a permanent holiday! Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – RMD Styling Co

Landscaped terraced areas were designed by Peter Fudge Gardens. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – RMD Styling Co

Concrete was chosen as the house’s main material, partially due to bushfire regulations, and partially due to an underlying Japanese architecture influence. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – RMD Styling Co

The most distinguished feature of the property are the two magnificent mature Bangalow palms, located almost in the middle of the site. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – RMD Styling Co

The two Bangalow palms (which the architect fought to retain) frame the entry and provide the house a solid identity. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – RMD Styling Co

Amelia Barnes
Monday 22nd February 2021

‘For me the two Bangalow palms contained the spirit of the site, and were the biggest asset of the new house.’ – Kiril Manolev

There aren’t many southern Australian properties with two large palm trees on entry, so architect Kiril Manolev, principal of Manolev Associates Architects, felt passionate about retaining these in a recent project.

‘It was inconceivable for me that the decades old Bangalow palms and [existing] oleander cluster be removed,’ he says. ‘They give the site a unique identity, and provided the scale for the future house to follow.’ 

Original plans were submitted to council and approved, but the owners ended up selling the property before construction could begin (in part due to the long approvals process). Luckily for Kiril (and the trees!), the architect knew someone looking to buy in the area, and when he showed them the plans, they decided to buy the property! 

Kiril’s design overall embraces the property’s sloping site and features prominent, landscaped terraced areas. ‘For me the two Bangalow palms contained the spirit of the site and were the biggest asset of the new house,’ he says. 

Concrete was chosen as the house’s main material, partially due to bushfire regulations, and partially due to an underlying Japanese architecture influence. 

‘The key inspiration for the design approach was the relationship between a Japanese garden and the architecture – the interplay between the angularity of the architecture and the curvaceous forms of nature,’ Kiril says. 

His favourite element of the project, nicknamed the Whisper House, is the way this satisfies the ‘two most important aspects of zen…austere sublimity and subtle profundity.’ 

‘The stillness of the surrounding gardens contribute to the atmosphere of serenity and tranquillity. The house is physically there, but it whispers of its existence; hence the name.’

With filtered views of Middle Harbour, living in this house is like being on a permanent holiday! 

Similar Stories

Architecture

An Architect’s 'Treehouse' In The Heart Of Bronte

Madeleine Blanchfield transforms a narrow, vertiginous site in Sydney's eastern beaches into her own slice of serenity.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Light-Filled Forever Home With A Uniquely Australian Outlook

Architects Ink design a striking, contemporary home around two ancient sugar gums, in South Australia.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Small Footprint, Japanese-Inspired Home in Sydney

The architect-owner used traditional machiya architecture to enhance the efficiency of this small house!
Sasha Gattermayr

This Week

News

Now's Your Chance To Buy Classic Thonet Pieces, For Less!

Snap up your favourites from Thonet, with 20% off chairs, barstools and tables in store, until 1st April.
Sponsored

Architecture

A Vibrant Transformation Of A Brown Brick Suburban Home

Play House by State of Kin in Marmion, Perth makes a strong case for the retention and renewal of suburban brown brick homes!

Architecture

A Playful Renovation + Extension Of A 1910s Edwardian Weatherboard Cottage

This once lacklustre Edwardian cottage has been given new life thanks to a renovation and extension by Architect George Meek, of Studio Meek...

Studio Visit

Di Lunedi’s Nostalgic Ceramics Serve Up A Slice Of Coastal Italy!

Step inside the Northern NSW studio of De Lunedi's Elise Eales, who creates one-off ceramic pieces inspired by her love of Italy's seaside.

News

Find Timeless Timber Furniture At Mark Tuckey’s Workshop Sale

Australian furniture brand Mark Tuckey are holding their biggest clearance sale yet, with up to 60% off!
Sponsored

Interiors

Inside The Memo Co-Founder Phoebe Simmonds’ Family Home

Entrepreneur Phoebe Simmonds and builder Shaun Caton's 'contemporary Edwardian' Melbourne family home.

Homes

A Victorian Coastal Family Home Inspired By A Famous Alpine Village

The Jan Juc family home of artist Ingrid Daniell and designer Clifton Daniell.

Weekend Read

Why Is Good Quality Furniture So Expensive?

With cost of living on the rise, we speak to two leading local furniture brands to find out what drives the price behind their designs.
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Sunny Bondi Terrace Renovation With A Candy-Pink Bathroom!

The interiors of this family home now feature an all-pink bathroom and olive green features, inspired by the owners' personal style!
Christina Karras

Shopping

Style Meets Sustainability In Armadillo’s New Melbourne Showroom

Melbourne design lovers will be happy to hear beloved rug brand Armadillo have opened a new showroom in Fitzroy!
Christina Karras

News

Shop Zenn Design + Christopher Blank’s New, Must-Have Bedside Tables

It’s time to elevate your bedroom with this sleek new collection of solid timber tables.
Sponsored

Gardens

The Bountiful Country Garden of The Design Files' Alice Ziebell!

Take a wander through the magical Korumburra garden of The Design Files' partnership manager Alice Ziebell, and see the unbelievable 'before...

On The Market

A Luxuriously Modern Home For Sale In Sydney's Forest Lodge

This new home has everything from smart-home features to solar and an electric car charger, alongside a dreamy outdoor entertaining area!
Christina Karras

Design Eye

Creating A Timeless Interior, With Jean-Pierre Biasol

Melbourne interior designer Jean-Pierre Biasol reveals how interior spaces can outlive trends, thanks to careful furniture selections.

Stays

10 Retro-Inspired Motels To Book For Your Next Weekend Away!

Is there anything more nostalgic than a vintage motel with a dreamy pool? Here's some of the coolest ones to visit across Australia.
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Architecture

An Architect’s 'Treehouse' In The Heart Of Bronte

Madeleine Blanchfield transforms a narrow, vertiginous site into her own slice of serenity.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Light-Filled Forever Home With A Uniquely Australian Outlook

Architects Ink design a striking, contemporary home around two ancient sugar gums.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Small Footprint, Japanese-Inspired Home in Sydney

The architect-owner used traditional machiya architecture to enhance the efficiency of this small house!
Sasha Gattermayr

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net