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! 

View Comments

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

A Father-Daughter Duo Explore Warlawoon Country In A New Show At Koskela Gallery

‘Ngaboo-lang’ by Rammey Ramsey and Kathy Ramsay comprises seven painted works exploring their ancestral land.
Sasha Aarons

Shopping

Lockdown-Inspired Woven Outdoor Picnic Mats, From One Of Our Fave Local Stylists!

Stylist Nat Turnbull launches Laze, a new brand of outdoor mats for lounging and picnicking, with designs by Alice Oehr.

On The Market

An Architect’s Iconic Carlton House Is For Sale For The First Time

Tube House, one of very few residential houses ever designed by acclaimed architects Denton Corker Marshall, is for sale in Carlton.

Homes

A Biophilic Family Home Among The Trees

The newly-renovated Warrandyte family home of Millie and Dave Wells perfectly blends indoors and out!

Family

An Honest Conversation On Single Parenting By Choice + Donor Conception With Takeawei Ceramics Founder, Chela Edmunds

Chela Edmunds of Takeawei ceramics shares her story of becoming a mother to 18-month-old Ocean via sperm donor and IVF.

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Artist Creating Ceramics Inspired By Ancient Mesoamerican Culture

From dub music to the Chinese Song Dynasty, the influences of Enrique Tochez Anderson stretch far, wide and into the past.

Tiny Homes

The Architect-Designed, Prefabricated Tiny House Of The Future

FABPREFAB have teamed up with TRIAS to create Minima – a series of prefabricated, small dwellings suitable as home offices, living spaces,...

Architecture

A Casually Confident Beachside Home

A falling down period home in South Fremantle has been brought back to life with a new extension by David Barr Architects.

Travel

A Stylist's Bookmark-Worthy Guide To Byron Bay + The Northern Rivers Region

Stylist Jono Fleming shares his impeccable recommendations for the best eating, shopping, swimming and sleeping spots on the NSW North coast...
Jono Fleming

Stays

This Origami-Style Beach Shack Is The Perfect Coastal Getaway

This architecturally designed coastal retreat on Stradbroke Island looks out over the glittering Coral Sea. The most dreamy vacation destina...

Creative People

A Travel-Inspired Ceramics Collection That Will Take You On Holiday!

Queensland-based ceramics brand Marloe Marloe launches a new collection of vessels inspired by the seaside!

On The Market

An Interior Designer’s Glamorous Victorian Pad Hits The Market!

Chelsea Hing’s apartment in an 1890s Italianate mansion in St Kilda East is up for sale. This is *the one*!

On The Market

This Elegant Victorian With An Eclectic Architect-Designed Extension Is For Sale

Period features meet unique, contemporary design in this Ascot Vale, Melbourne home.

Architecture

A New Melbourne Home That Follows The Sun

This Eaglemont home has been cleverly designed 'to almost disappear', by Architects Eat.

News

Patricia Piccinini And Alpha60 Join Forces On A New Collaboration

The celebrated Australian artist and local fashion legends launch a new series of textiles titled ‘Hugs’, which are now installe...
Sponsored

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 – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.