Grand Designs Australia: Double Trouble


A two-faced residence with a modern twist

A cocoon of greenery, boutique shops and high-end eateries, the Sydney suburb of Randwick is not only ultra-cool — it’s ultra-convenient. Just six kilometres and you’re in the CBD, or head the other way to get your feet wet at some of Sydney’s picture-perfect beaches.

For a builder and his family, creating a new home from scratch in this area was an exercise in business meets pleasure. Working with Tanya Hancock and Angy Ertel from Hancock Architects, builder–owner Luigi Mollica established a brief that revolved around creating a residence that was all about warmth and a no-fuss vibe.

Starting the project with a clean slate, the original home was knocked down. “There was an existing double-storey house on the site which had undergone numerous renovations over the years,” says architect Tanya Hancock. “Adapting the existing house to suit the new brief required extensive work, so it was agreed that the best approach would be to demolish the existing dwelling and start fresh.”

Notorious for lengthy approval processes, Sydney councils don’t always make it easy when it comes to building or renovating. But the Creer House managed to steer clear of any issues, with a relatively painless approval process. “The house was generally designed in compliance with council controls to minimise requirements for any amendments to the design and ensure a smooth passage, with only minor amendments requested by council,” says Tanya.

Designed as two individual modules with a circulation passage running through the house, the two-storey build comprises four bedrooms, three bathrooms, an open-plan kitchen/living/dining area, family room, study, workshop, laundry and an outdoor area with a pool. A feeling of generosity is immediately established from the get-go, with a double-height entry positioned at the forefront of the central space to enhance volume and connect the upper and lower levels of the residence.

“The building comprises two elongated volumes, so externally the two modules are emphasised as separate distinct boxes with the upper levels floating over the lower levels, creating interesting perspectives from any angle,” says Tanya.

Split into two purposes, the upper level is home to the private spaces, with the bedrooms and bathrooms located on either side of the central passage and staircase. The lower level contains a family room at the front of the house, which is separate from the main open-plan living area at the rear. “The primary living space was designed to create designated spots for the different usages, resulting in an L-shaped plan,” says Tanya. “This assisted in breaking up the room and minimising noise transfers.”

Staying true to a neutral palette chock-full of black, white, timber and natural stone, the ethos of this abode is timeless. “The home was to have a modern and contemporary feel with lots of light,” says Tanya. “Furnishings are modern and minimal, emphasising the clean lines of the architecture and creating a spacious area for the family.”

Crisp, modern and contemporary, the end result is a fluid home that will move with a growing family. “The building has a sense of modern elegance with clean, simple lines,” says Tanya. And we couldn’t agree more.

Written by Annabelle Cloros

Photography by Simon Whitbread

Originally in , Issue 5.6