Leonard House

Located in a quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac in the beachside suburb of Bondi, Leonard House is a modest, two storey, lightweight timber structure, clad in fibre cement with a single pitched roof. The project sits within a street of an eclectic mix of houses. It is unique and unexpected, sitting comfortably and delightfully, drawing interest from passers-by. Reminiscent of the landscape of an ascetic musician the project’s surroundings are protected by two magnificent trees – one at the front and one at the back of the property.

The project was designed and built for a professional saxophonist, her husband and young, growing family. The brief transcended the usual discussions of form, function and minute details and unexpectedly sought inspiration from musical composers such as Bartok and Shostakovich. After much deliberation and discussion the plan evolved, and the influence of Peter Markli resonated strongly. With awareness of the plan challenged, the result successfully guides, facilitates, and dictates the way the spaces are physically occupied and the perfunctory manner by which things must happen in this house.

In conjunction with family life, this project also seeks to nurture not only the client’s musical talents but that of her young protégés. The fostering of talent happens in the practice room, closed off from the street by a large top hung timber sliding door with perfectly placed glazed portholes allowing for a glimpse of this musical life within. It is a purpose-built room for a musician to assist her in creating and teaching great works of music. The warmth of the mind is important in the creation of this space, and this is not lost in the process.

The acoustic considerations for the practice room were paramount. Double-glazed windows and solid core doors filled with glass wool were specified to provide a sound proofing element. Beyond the practice room is where family life happens. Via a discrete side entrance sits a well-designed open kitchen and living space offering the abundance of space and storage. Timber detailing provides unique moments of delight fostering a richness that is enjoyed throughout. The living space is generous, airy and filled with light and the dream conjured of a twelve-seater table where friends and family can gather is realised. Musical performances and memorable moments will co-exist here.

Photography: Dianna Snape