Grand Designs Australia Torrens Park

Grand Designs Australia: Torrens Park modern mansion


Featured on the LifeStyle Channel’s Grand Designs Australia. Clinging to the hillside, this dramatic South Australian house was customised at every turn to create Richard and Denise Jones’ dream home

Grand Designs Australia Torrens Park

Grand Designs Australia: Torrens Park modern mansion - contemporary modern loungeRichard and Denise Jones' Black and white modern kitchen

modern open plan entertainment area featured in the TV Show Grand Designs Australia

modern lounge

timber paneling bedroom design

glamorous mosaic bathroom suite

HOUSE Torrens Park Mansion

LOCATION Torrens Park, SA

COST Approx $6 million

DATE COMPLETED December 2012



A leaf fell from a tree, gently drifted down and landed upon Richard Jones’ head while he was swimming in his pool one afternoon. It prompted him to suggest to his wife, Denise, that they should enclose their pool. Now, more than six years later, Richard and Denise sit in their three-level, four-bedroom, six-bathroom home with sweeping panoramic views of Adelaide and the ocean. That simple suggestion for an indoor pool “snowballed” and it could not have been predicted that it would have led to the spectacular Torrens Park house you see today.

The original brief to Studio Nine architect Tony Zappia was to enclose the swimming pool and create an area that could be experienced across many levels. With the existing home being rather dark, with large, low overhangs inhibiting the potential views of the city and ocean, the opportunity to alter the house to improve these details grew as more ideas surfaced until, eventually, the design evolved into virtually a new build — the dream property of Richard and Denise Jones.

One of the catalysts for change was to capitalise on the fantastic location of the site. The property is spread over a few acres to the side of the foothills in Torrens Park with a far-reaching outlook that stretches down to the city of Adelaide below and the ocean beyond that.

Building such a large house on a sharp sloping hill was never going to be easy. This unique positioning and the steep typography of the site served as a major obstacle in the construction of the new home, particularly the logistics of accessing the block. “We had a delivery truck go over the end of the driveway and almost roll down the hill,” recalls homeowner Richard.

“The existing house footprint consumed most of the working bench area, thus creating potential coordination and traffic issues between all the sub-contractors and suppliers,” says Tony. “Steelwork was required to be double-handled and concrete was pumped from up to 200m away.”

Richard and Denise are in the hotel industry and having built and run many of them, they had a team and style for their new place in mind. “We wanted something that was light, bright and ultra-modern with plenty of ‘wow’ factor,” says Richard. He and Denise have adult children and young grandchildren, so it was important their new house was somewhere the whole family could enjoy. This large house hugging the cliff has plenty of entertainment space, particularly around the pool and out on the cantilevered deck. There are also spare bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate family sleepovers.

Another facet of the design was to allow for Richard and Denise to show off their vast collection of art pieces, says Tony. Niches and volumes were incorporated as spaces for the various vases, sculptures and glassware to be displayed. “The house was to act as a backdrop to the beautiful collections that the owners have,” he says.

Denise took charge of the interiors of the home and the colours were chosen to add depth and interest and were inspired by her many art objects.

At many stages throughout the design and build there were changes and alterations made to make the house bigger and better and, importantly, just exactly what the owners wanted. As such, the finished product contains four bedrooms, six bathrooms, study, lounge, formal dining, dining, kitchen, butler’s pantry, family room, theatre, indoor pool, large family room downstairs, downstairs kitchen, gym, six-car garage, wine cellar and a spa room.

The end result is a dramatic change from the light-starved home that stood on the ground here before it. With decadent height and space, this house is massive, has views from every room and huge custom-built glass windows. The architectural design is modern, with sleek lines and interesting angles complementing the interior. There is a visual and physical connection between the first floor living zones and the expansive ground floor swimming pool and entertaining area through an open two-storey volume. The top level looks down onto the indoor pool area and is separated by not only the height, but also electronically retractable glass doors – so the level of interaction between the two spaces can be controlled.

“My favourite part of the design is the two-storey volumed swimming pool and entertainment room. It is the one room that connects and interacts with other spaces and allows full utilisation and enjoyment by all,” says Tony.

The couple’s favourite places in their new home are the pool area and the ensuite. The large luxe ensuite, with separate spa room next door, features a custom-built curved glass shower recess with a double rain shower head. This curved shower recess projects out from the house so that when showering, there is the feeling of being surrounded by the bushland and that incredible view. The homeowners say they wanted this opulent space to be a standout feature of the house and it really achieves this. The custom curved glass turns opaque at the touch of a button – just one of the many high-tech features of this modern mansion.

Indeed no detail has been spared with this house. Each room is large, the master suite at 150m² and the 6m-high tinted-glass windows more than makes up for their previous lack of outlook and light. The king-sized bed in the master suite has an electronic function to better take in the vista and a retractable TV screen at its end. Downstairs, the theatre room is ultra comfortable with eight plush recliners and a projector of the same standard you would find in a traditional movie theatre.

With the Aussie bush surrounding this abode and the vast green outlook, this home retains a peaceful and calming feel, which offsets the luxury of the interior furnishings and the three-tiered living style.

Richard and Denise Jones: their journey

For Richard and Denise Jones, building this house was about getting it right and creating a property that suited them and their family perfectly. If this meant moving a wall, adding a deck, changing a window to better capture a view during the building phase – they did it. The project, from initial briefing through to construction and the end result, took almost six years but for the Jones’, this wasn’t an issue. “The project is very special because it reflects the two owners and their journey,” says Tony.

“Our role as architects, along with the builders, was to facilitate their vision and desire, thus producing a result they are extremely proud of. Their hands-on involvement, creating changes during the whole process, was fun and exciting and resulted in a building that they both love.”

“It is special because it is very unique in design. We are very proud owners of this beautiful home with outstanding views of the city and suburbs,” says Richard. “It’s definitely a one-off!”


“We wanted something that was light, bright and ultra modern with plenty of ‘wow’ factor” — Richard


This curved shower recess juts out from the house so that when showering, there is the feeling of being surrounded by the bushland and that incredible view


With decadent height and space, this house is massive, has views from every room and huge custom-built glass windows

Project Team

Architect Tony Zappia, Studio Nine (08 8132 3999,

Building and construction HT Constructions Services (08 8177 1771,



MECHANICAL Seasonair (08 8277 9955,

EXTERNAL CLADDING/ALUCOBOND S & T Glazing and Roofing (08 8365 0403) HYDRAULIC Hall & Baum Plumbing(08 8294 2941, JOINERY John Reuther Cabinet Makers(08 8234 9600,



ENSUITE CURVED GLASS SHOWER RECESS Bent + Curved Glass (02 9773 1022, ALUMINIUM WINDOWS AND GLASS ALUCO (08 8276 5555, AUDIO/VISUAL Harvey Norman Commercial ( GARAGE DOOR Gliderol ( LIGHTING SUPPLY Gamma Illumination (08 8260 1444, TILING Your Tiling Solutions (


CARPET Adelaide Commercial Flooring (08 8443 9366) SCULPTURAL GLASS Art Glass — Lindy Sando & Vaughan Taylor




CONCRETE LABOUR Tranfa Constructions (08 8336 1490) CONCRETE SUPPLY Davalan Concrete (08 8209 3000, DEMOLITION D & V Services (08 8283 2700, ELECTRICAL Jones & Jones Electrical (0400 700 350) PAINTING Maschotta & Son Painting (0419 503 480) ROOFING Roof Max (08 8261 5899, SOLAR Sustainable Works (,


Words / Emma Wheaton Photography / David Solm

From Grand Designs Australia magazine Vol. 3 No. 1