garden house exterior split form

Garden House is a relaxing retreat for a Sydney-based empty nester couple. After the children moved out, the clients wanted to create a sanctuary, a place to unwind from fast-paced Sydney life and entertain family and other guests. 

Essentially, the house is a simple gable form split down the middle into two separate forms. It is joined by a single-storey glazed walkway, allowing passers-by to view the more contemporary forms beyond. 

garden house passive design features

The house was designed using passive design principles. The main living areas have been given a north-western orientation, along with significant amounts of glazing to bring in the northern winter sun. Overhanging awning roofs have been carefully calculated to block out the summer sun, as well as the inclusion of small blade walls surrounding glazed openings. Other sustainable features include photovoltaic panels and rainwater tanks that serve the clients’ daily needs. 

garden house courtyard

Internal spaces on the ground floor open up to a long north-facing deck, which overlooks the pool and connects to courtyards and terraces, creating a strong garden connection overall. Connection to the garden was important as a way to create a feeling of tranquility and contrast to the fast-paced feel of Sydney. 

garden house backyard


The exterior materials palette consists of painted brick, raw timber and glass. The brickwork was chosen to reflect the surrounding suburban homes, which have predominantly brick facades. The raw timber finishes were chosen to reflect the tall gums that preside throughout the neighbourhood. 

Key products/suppliers

1.   Timber cladding – Silver Top Ash – Supplied by Radial Timber Sales

2.   Composite Roofing System – ARCPanel

3.   External Aluminium Doors and Windows – K & K Shopfitters

4.   Integrated Fridge/Freezer – Fisher & Paykel

5.   Double Bowl Sink – Oliveri Profesional Series – PR1163U

6.   Kitchen Tap – Eve, KWC

7.   Pendant Light (over island bench) – Studio Italia, Linescape Pendant

8.   Pendant Light (over dining area) – David Trubridge, Coral