Newspaper article International New York Times

A Classic Style with Modern Touches ; House North of Sydney Resembles Old Manor but Is Less Than 15 Years Old

Newspaper article International New York Times

A Classic Style with Modern Touches ; House North of Sydney Resembles Old Manor but Is Less Than 15 Years Old

Article excerpt

A sandstone manor next to Sydney Harbor National Park suggests the style of the late 1800s, yet it was built less than 15 years ago.

Tucked away at the end of a quiet road, with Sydney Harbor National Park for a next-door neighbor, is a home unlike any other in its residential neighborhood.

Located in Balgowlah Heights, a harborside suburb of Sydney, the architect-designed house is in many respects a classic sandstone manor, with the style of one built in the late 1800s. Yet because it is less than 15 years old, it includes many modern features.

The house sits on a 1,180-square- meter, or 12,700-square-foot, parcel of land and has five bedrooms, two studies and five bathrooms. It has 810 square meters of floor space, with an additional 185 square meters of deck area.

The house has views that stretch over Sydney's North Harbor to the seaside town of Manly and its renowned harbor, and beyond to the Tasman Sea.

Balgowlah Heights is in the Northern Beaches region of Sydney, about 12 kilometers north of the city's central business district. The area has a median house price of 2.27 million Australian dollars, or $1.75 million, according to a leading Australian property website, realestate.com.au. But the distinctive character of this house pushes its suggested price to between 14 million and 15 million dollars.

The current owner, a Sydney-based lawyer, had been eager to purchase the land (which then held a small brick home) for some time until, in 1996, the opportunity finally arose. A year later, a four- year project began to create a home "which would never date and would blend into the surrounding bushland landscape." To do this, 800 tons of Gosford sandstone was used in the construction of the house and gardens. While the gardens are well maintained, it is the proliferation of sandstone that is most notable as you wind down a short sloping driveway or adjacent path to enter the house on its midlevel. The owner, who asked not to be identified, chose Penrhyn slate roofing to complement it.

The architect, John Brogan, came up with a design that not only allows the views of bushland and harbor to be taken in from most of the bedrooms and living areas but also ensures privacy. …

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