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Architect Clinton Cole transforms narrow building site into luxury ‘living screen’ home

Inside the ‘living screen’: Incredible Bondi home comes complete with a ‘vertical’ garden, a see-through glass swimming pool and a stunning Balinese-inspired bathroom retreat

  • Architect Clinton Cole built a house on a narrow site just nine metres wide in North Bondi, Sydney in 2016
  • He designed the home to look like a ‘living screen’ to make it feel wider and brighter than its dimensions 
  • An above-ground swimming pool runs along the floor-to-ceiling window of the living room to reflect light
  • Each of the four bedrooms overlook a ‘vertical’ garden planted along tiered panels on the outside walls

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An architect has transformed a narrow building site into a luxury family home that looks like a ‘living screen’, complete a ‘vertical’ tiered garden and an above-ground swimming pool that reflects sunlight into the house and often casts rainbows onto the kitchen and living room floors.

When clients asked father-of-three Clinton Cole to design an upscale house on a plot of land just nine metres wide in North Bondi, Sydney, in 2016, he knew he would need to use clever techniques to make the property feel wider and brighter than its dimensions.

The result is a stunning four-bedroom split over two storeys with Balinese-inspired bathrooms, a long outdoor pool, sun deck, spacious terraces at the front and rear, underfloor heating and even a small ‘cinema’ theatre.

Each of the four bedrooms overlooks a garden of flowers and shrubs planted in panels along the exterior walls, bringing a sense of nature indoors and creating the illusion that the inanimate building is ‘alive’.

‘We used the ‘living screen’ to provide light and outlook to greenery, but most importantly to screen neighbouring windows to prevent overlooking issues,’ Mr Cole told Daily Mail Australia. 

The house of living screens: Sydney architect Clinton Cole created this stunning family home on a nine-metre wide site in North Bondi in 2016

The living room runs parallel to an above-ground lap-pool (pictured) which reflects natural sunlight into the house

The living room runs parallel to an above-ground lap-pool (pictured) which reflects natural sunlight into the house

Neighbouring houses towered above the site on both sides, dwarfing its size and eclipsing any natural light that would have otherwise illuminated the inside.

Mr Cole solved that problem by building the raised lap-pool directly against the floor-to-ceiling window of the living room, which draws a reflection of sunlight from the water.

‘The result is quite spectacular in terms of the light and shadow that play throughout the day,’ he said.

The reflection of the pool casts what Mr Coles calls 'spectacular' light and shadow into the kitchen and dining area

The reflection of the pool casts what Mr Coles calls ‘spectacular’ light and shadow into the kitchen and dining area

The small 'cinema' theatre looks out onto the above-ground pool and sun deck on the ground floor

The small ‘cinema’ theatre looks out onto the above-ground pool and sun deck on the ground floor

The front door swings open into a small courtyard

The stairs is positioned directly over the kitchen island to make the most of the nine-metre width

The front door swings open into a small courtyard (left) which leads to the main living area where the stairs (right) is positioned directly over the kitchen island to make the most of the nine-metre width

An evening view of the pool supported by a wall bolstered with acrylic and glass

An evening view of the pool supported by a wall bolstered with acrylic and glass

Award-winning Sydney architect, Clinton Cole

Award-winning Sydney architect, Clinton Cole

The living room connects to a spacious kitchen and dining area and an outdoor patio, providing ample space for entertaining which was the main request from Mr Cole’s clients.

He developed the concept of the ‘vertical’ garden when his clients’ second request for ‘leafy green’ space could not be accommodated on the ground within the confines of the narrow nine-metre site.

‘They had a strong desire for a leafy green outlook from the living spaces so we used the [screens] to resolve this requirement,’ he said.

The house is fitted with timber panels and concrete, with steel columns running between the outdoor screens purposely left exposed to ‘celebrate’ the complex structure of the garden.

The house is fitted with a state of the art ‘Home Automation System’ synced to an app on phones and tablets, which allows residents to programme lights, water temperature, underfloor heating and heated towel rails to suit the changing climate throughout the year. 

The master bedroom with an ensuite that looks directly onto the 'vertical' garden planted into the screen walls outside

The master bedroom with an ensuite that looks directly onto the ‘vertical’ garden planted into the screen walls outside

One of the two bathrooms upstairs, complete with a free-standing Balinese-inspired tub

One of the two bathrooms upstairs, complete with a free-standing Balinese-inspired tub

Flowers and shrubs have been planted in a 'vertical' tiered garden to create the illusion that the inanimate building is 'alive'

Flowers and shrubs have been planted in a ‘vertical’ tiered garden to create the illusion that the inanimate building is ‘alive’

A view of the dining area through the glass of the swimming pool

A view of the dining area through the glass of the swimming pool

The property won a 2018 Good Design Award and was shortlisted for a sought-after World Architecture Festival and Houses Award.

The family who commissioned the house and have lived in it since 2016 say it has ‘well exceeded’ their expectations.

Mr Cole did not disclose the cost of the project and its worth has not been valued at current market rates.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk