Jewel House by Stafford Architecture

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    Jewel House by Stafford Architecture responds to the challenges of a complex site overlooking the Sydney Harbour, transformed through sweeping curves and light-filled volumes.

    Situated on one of Rose Bay’s busiest roads into Vaucluse, Jewel House sees the traditional home layout flipped on its head through sculptural, geometric forms, tailored outlooks and integrated indoor-outdoor living. Deemed ‘the little guy’ of Rose Bay by Stafford Architecture before their intervention, the height covenant on the building raised a series of difficulties, alongside the bustling locale and exposed site. Stafford Architecture have reaffirmed the home’s original intent through a holistic approach, connecting it to its surroundings.

    Project architect Chris Trotta says the brief was simple; to create a home with well-proportioned forms and spaces that were connected with nature and provided calm for the clients’ busy lives. “The idea of ‘sanctuary’ was core to their brief,” Chris says. “Unpacking this idea of ‘sanctuary’ led us to explore ideas of curves, architecture as sculpture and use of light and bringing landscape within the interior,” he adds. 

    From the curbside, the home takes the title of ‘Jewel House’ for its sculptural presence. “We wanted this house to be statuesque and different – something that wouldn’t melt into the agglomeration of massive houses in the area,” director Bruce Stafford explains. By recessing the entrance and raising the pool area at the front of the home, Stafford Architecture have evoked an immense sense of privacy from the street when you’re at ground level. 

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    The entrance of the home signifies the divide between private and shared spaces. The formal lounge and master bedroom are located on the right side of the building, while the left side of the home contains the kitchen, living and entertainment zone, pool and courtyard and children’s bedroom on the second story. 

    Bruce Stafford says the view line can often be complicated when designing a home where you enter from the street. “Ideally, it’s always nice to enter the front of the other side of the building, where you walk into the view,” he says. “We articulated and layered this home to stimulate a feeling of being enveloped within the building, both mentally and physically.” 

    The Sparrow Pecked sandstone is a historic nod in keeping with the narrative of existing homes in the neighbourhood; a technique used by convicts when they arrived in Australia, where the surface is hit with a chiselled hammer. As you progress inside, the sandstone continues through to the light-filled stairwell, where it’s then left behind and replaced with more refined materials; travertine, polished concrete and timber.

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    The study is at the centre of the home, where pristine views of the harbour bridge take centre stage. “When you’re in the study, you’re unaware of the street below; the raised pool and the landscaping completely mask it,” Bruce says. The master bedroom shares the same view of the harbour, strategically ‘pulled out’ of the building akin to a drawer from a dresser. Materials and colours in this suite are along the same tonal spectrum as the rest of the house – cool greys, timber black and white offset by the blue water.

    Jewel House by Stafford Architecture confidently reacts to the challenging site, with a fluid connection to the outdoors and an enclosed, protected sense of serenity; as Bruce Stafford puts it, ‘cocoon-like’.

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