Lee House

Located within beautiful Camp Cove, Lee House is a two-storey home designed to acknowledge the past and its heritage value whilst embracing the future. Responding to the heritage of the area, there is a recasting of a derelict fisherman’s cottage into a contemporary home of permanence. Whilst modest in size, the building provides all the needs to its inhabitants with a minimum of fuss, offering a sense of calm repose. Considerations of light, material, and form were key in developing the interior, which is ordered by a central off-form concrete barrier.

From the interior a carefully considered sequence of spaces leads to an external landscaped patio from where the architecture of concrete, timber and steel characterise the building’s nature as an offering to those who will inhabit this work in the next few generations. Lee House contributes positively to the character of the surrounding conservation area with elements of the original form being reconstructed throughout the build to match. Within the living space there is a change in floor finish at the old wall locations, a gesture that acknowledges what once was present.

The open plan kitchen and  living space is generous, light, and airy. The volume created by the pitched roof is emphasised by the internal walls not quite meeting ceiling height. The living room timber framed glass doors are designed to slide away & the transition between inside and outside disintegrates. The covered deck looks down upon the garden below with outdoor BBQ alcove and seating.

When walking throughout the internal spaces from one level to the next there are surprising and delightful moments offered through the perfectly positioned framed views. Occupants are encouraged to feel at one with the building and its surrounds. Whilst sitting in the study nook, a connection is made to the main living space through a small opening in the curved wall. At the same time, a visual connection can be made with the garden. The timber framed windows at eye level catch a glimpse of the frangipani tree.

The main living space is designed for family and friends to gather, a relaxed setting amongst the calming palette of materials – maple timber veneer, concrete floor, glass, stainless steel and corian. The breeze is encouraged to filter throughout.

The living space can also be warm and comfortable when needed with a fire-place ready to go on cool winter nights. The seamless connection between these spaces embodies tranquillity and a modern aesthetic.

Connection is not only made with the landscape beyond but also with the sky above though the uniquely shaped skylight which draws the eye upwards & illuminates the centre of the room. The atmosphere is mystical and mysterious much like that created by English master of Lumière Mystérieuse John Sloane in his breakfast room at No 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Every design decision is as practical as it is beautiful.

The architectural expression from the street would at first glance appears to be wholly traditional, and in fact could be read as a restoration of an original building; a new timber framed roof structure; new painted timber shiplap profile weatherboard cladding; fibre cement cladding with timber battens; new masonry walls and new painted timber v-joint weatherboard cladding
replaces the old and achieves a high architectural standard that preserves and maintains the existing streetscape by virtue of its details and design features. A gradual evolution into contemporary materials and forms along the sides of the building develops into a wholly expression toward the rear.

Photography: Rory Gardiner