Petersen Kolumba K91 bricks were part of a simple and understated materials palette selected for a new family home in Lavender Bay, Sydney. The carefully chosen palette gently and beautifully ties the house together, adding a calm and timeless element to the design.

With a front row view to the Sydney Harbour, the Lavender Bay House was designed by architecture studio Tobias Partners to frame the outlook and engage with the stunning setting. The home’s sweeping vistas capture Sydney’s favourite icons – the Harbour Bridge, Luna Park and the Sydney Opera House. But the Lavender Bay House is not only about the views.

The ingenious team at Tobias Partners created both expansive and introspective outlooks, comfortably accommodating a family of five – including guest room and home office. And the proportion of space simply sets it apart, creating a light and uplifting, yet beautifully tranquil home.

Following a deep excavation of the incredibly steep site – extending 16m from the street front to the water’s edge – the five-level home reads as a single level dwelling from the street. A jaw-dropping welcome is a mere taste of the delights to come inside, the front entrance framing the view of the Harbour Bridge’s northern pylon. And from here to the water’s edge, no detail is left unturned.

“Our clients wanted to understand all of the options and they really did invest in making good decisions. The house is built so well it is going to be there for a long time because they didn’t cut any corners,” says Richard Peters, project designer and principal, Tobias Partners.

The palette is simple and understated: concrete, Petersen bricks, polished raw plaster, Brazilian granite and White Oak timber.

“We have Luna Park across the road so there’s enough going on; we wanted to create something calm and timeless,” Peters comments.

Off-form concrete frames the building, and a huge in-situ concrete spine runs the entire length of the interior, connecting all five levels. It’s monolithic, yet delicately soft. The bedrooms run off this spine, and the open plan living areas sit across the lower levels, which lead outside to the garden, pool and water’s edge.

Handmade Petersen Kolumba bricks (K91) were a textural choice to contrast with the concrete on the southern façade creating the perfect backdrop to tranquil courtyards laden with greenery. Peters explains, “The Petersen K91 brick has that nice variation to it and we liked the way natural light played on their surface during the day. Our clients also like the texture of the Paterson bricks and felt strongly about using them after visiting our Deepwater House project in Bondi.”

The White Oak flooring inside is magnificent, beginning at the front door and running down in a gallery staircase to the lower garden. The White Oak branches off the spine into the bedrooms, kitchen and living areas, sharing the remaining floor spaces, wet areas and all the external terraces with a brilliant Brazilian granite called White Ice. Finally, polished raw plaster creates a soft patina in the light that plays off the walls. It’s simple, elegant and timeless.

Excitingly for the team, Lavender Bay House has been shortlisted for Best Residential Design in the 2022 Australian Interior Design Awards, with results to be announced on 17 June.

Image credits: Justin Alexander & J&O Bricklaying