North Bondi semi-detached 1980s home renovated to meet needs of young professionals with busy lifestyle

ELEGANCE AND COMFORT: Three children and active dogs meant durability had to be a necessary feature of this home which was transformed from an ugly 1980s duckling to a beautiful modern swan. The clients wanted to make the best use of the narrow floor plan of the existing North Bondi residence and reconnect with the outdoor space and garden for family recreation. Parking is at a premium in this Sydney seaside suburb, so a concrete slab provides the car space. Photos: Tom Ferguson
ELEGANCE AND COMFORT: Three children and active dogs meant durability had to be a necessary feature of this home which was transformed from an ugly 1980s duckling to a beautiful modern swan. The clients wanted to make the best use of the narrow floor plan of the existing North Bondi residence and reconnect with the outdoor space and garden for family recreation. Parking is at a premium in this Sydney seaside suburb, so a concrete slab provides the car space. Photos: Tom Ferguson

North Bondi House is an alterations and additions project on a semi-detached house built in the 1980s, within walking distance of Bondi Beach, in an area that has highly restrictive planning controls.

"It was all about the location as they knew they could work with an architect to remodel their house to make it the perfect home," says architect Josephine Hurley.

The client's brief focused heavily on practicality and comfort.

It focused on reinventing the interiors of the 1980s dwelling, modification of the rear building form and cosmetic touches to the street facade.

The house was gutted, rear balconies enclosed and the interiors reimagined to use every available space in what is quite a compact floor plan.

The professional couple with three kids and two enthusiastic dogs wanted to create a beautiful family home that would endure the test of time and facilitate everyday living without being controlling.

They spend a lot of time at home with their young family and they ultimately wanted a home that felt calm and relaxed.

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They wanted to maximise the tight building footprint and create a greater connection with the garden on a lower level.

The couple also wanted everything to have a home so that clutter could be minimised.

Understanding this, and the demands on space, the architects ensured everything from wine storage to dog food has a designated space.

The elevated kitchen and dining room allows for full visibility and a strong connection with the outdoors.

The brief also called for more natural light to flow into the home and improved ventilation to allow sea breezes to be brought into the home.

The interiors are responsive to the environment and the clients' lifestyle.

The first floor hallway was imagined as a walk-in-robe, something the client had always wanted but something the space did not afford.

The textural and tactile qualities of terrazzo in soft grey, oak and v-groove joinery are exploited to create a sense of warmth and enduring character.

Spaces are controlled yet comfortable, designed to a human scale where small or large family gatherings can take place.

A bay window to the first floor children's bedroom offers glimpses of Bondi Beach beyond.

The connection with the outdoors is heightened with full retractable glass doors and timber bleacher steps overlooking the garden, allowing the free flow of children and dogs.

Investing in quality fixtures and finishes with a consideration for ongoing maintenance sets the family up for the long term.

Beautiful natural materials were chosen for their long-wearing and low-maintenance properties as a direct response to the corrosive environment of the sea breezes from Bondi Beach.

The 1980s external brickwork was bagged in an off-white sand and cement mix that will not require on-going painting.

The material palette was kept deliberately minimal to allow for scale in economy while also creating a restrained, elegant yet robust interior.

It is the perfect backdrop to the lives of a professional couple with three kids and two enthusiastic dogs.

  • Produced with BowerBird and Josephine Hurley