A home with a natural soul

A home with a natural soul


Inspired by their property’s mature garden, an architect and interior designer have created a very special home for themselves on Sydney’s north shore.

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Architect and interior design team Eduardo and Maria Villa began formulating plans to renovate their home, a well-kept, three-bedroom 1940s bungalow located in the Sydney suburb of Chatswood, from the moment they walked through the door at the first inspection. Their goal was to open the house up, creating an integrated series of rooms, as well as opening the home up to the garden at the rear, which is dominated by a beautiful magnolia grandiflora, a jacaranda and very imposing eucalypt. “These three awesome species have a beautiful scale that we wanted to incorporate into our view,” said Maria. ‘Their age alone adds a raw, natural and mature character to the garden and being set against the backdrop of the national park gives our home a lush evergreen setting. Contrary to what many think about cutting or maliciously trimming trees, we think old trees are wonderful and are the core of any beautiful, mature garden; money can’t buy time.

To realise their dreams, the Villas had to underpin the rear of the house to achieve the desired ceiling height and demolish the existing kitchen, basement, outside laundry and rear balcony. They designed a new upstairs living area and terrace. Eduardo wanted to make cross-ventilation a core aspect of the design. The flow of space between rooms and the way the design links them together means the Villas have reduced their energy consumption.

Maria’s choice of interior features was very intentional and thoroughly researched. One example of that is the charming, old yarn rug that she found in Melbourne. Its purpose is to extend the green palette of the garden, into the home, blending the two environments. “Sitting on the lounge and looking at the uninterrupted view of evergreen helps us escape,” said Maria. “It makes us feel like we are far away from the hustle and bustle of the city.”

The experience Eduardo and Maria have built during their professional careers meant their renovations were exceedingly smooth. They carefully followed a budget and a plan, allowing them to splurge when they wanted to. “We spent a little more on the interiors and landscaping as we felt they were such important parts of our project. Every object has been researched and thought out. We didn’t go to showrooms to buy everything at once because I feel that would create a soulless space. Our home has character, soul and beauty. To find the right pieces takes time,” Maria said.

“Our inspiration to make this home special came from wanting to capture the rear view of the property,” said Maria. When asked to name their favourite space in their home, Eduardo and Maria found it difficult to identify just one. “We love to arrive home and see how the evergreen outlook interacts with our interiors; stepping down to the lower level and taking in the jacaranda and the frangipani and arriving into a subdued and relaxed space is very serene,” said Maria.

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