A blog that explores Australian houses. If you love architecture, design, interiors and interesting buildings of all types, The House Hunter is for you.

Various – Elizabeth Bay, Darlinghurst, Rushcutters Bay

Something about this Darlinghurst terrace took me back to Paul Bowles novels and the UAE. I think it's the colours; they're reminiscent of the desert, dryness, years of sun.

Okay, this is another mini-post. I promise my next one will be exploring a house in depth. The upside is, it takes you through Elizabeth Bay – one of my absolute favourite suburbs. I always feel good when I’m there. It manages to be close to everything cool while also retaining an affluent, serene vibe, which puts it in direct contrast to its rowdy neighbour, Potts Point. It has kooky little corner stores that have been there for decades and make amazing bacon and egg rolls. There are views of the harbour. It’s lined with old, company title apartment blocks stacked full of people paying a premium to live in one of Sydney’s nicest and most convenient spots. And you can stumble over to Gazebo, Fratelli Paradiso and a host of other awesome places with minimal fuss.

 

These photos were taken in Darlinghurst through to Elizabeth Bay. The terrace photos are from the Darlinghurst side; the character apartments are in Lizzy Bay. There aren’t many houses there, although I did blog about one pretty notable one in the past.

 

The contrast between Elizabeth Bay and the Cross, which is mere footsteps away, is remarkable. Those who live in the precinct know that the undesirable aspects of the Cross are localised in a particular zone. Elizabeth Bay seems to avoid all of the trouble, which means its residents are able to enjoy the various delights of one of Sydney’s primary dining/drinking districts while also getting to live somewhere that’s just plain special.

 

So enjoy the pictures. I’d regale you with more property information, but this post is really just about enjoying what you see, since that’s what I was doing when I took the snaps.

 

 

 

Darlinghurst alleys.

 

 

One of Seidler's buildings, Aquarius.

 

 

 

 

Possibly my favourite apartment block in the world.

 

Various – Echo Point, Balmain, East Killara

 

Being busy has impeded (aren’t you happy you read a blog that uses the word ‘impeded’?) me from exploring houses of late. One plus is I did write this well-received Seinfeld article recently, which I’m plugging again.

 

New friend.

Because I haven’t had time to look at a particular house, I’m once again showing you the exterior of some interesting houses I’ve come across in my wanderings. But instead of concentrating on the one suburb, like I usually do with these things, I’m taking you around the places I’ve been recently. The above house, for instance, is in Echo Point in the Blue Mountains. I’ve also traipsed around Balmain and East Killara. I’ve written a post on Killara before, but East Killara is a different architectural story – the houses are all extremely unique and lots of them are incredibly large, without the Federation background, making for an assortment of styles and histories.

 

By the way, the little guy to the right is the new friend I made at Echo Point. So adorable.

 

Echo Point is a sight seeing spot in the Blue Mountains that we visited on a daytrip to Leura. Apparently, it actually falls within Katoomba. It has some cute Federation and mid-century houses, the former mostly weatherboard. The median price in the general area is apparently $345,000, which means it wouldn’t be a bad place to pick up a weekender if you’re into that sort of thing.

 

Balmain, another suburb I’ve looked at on the blog previously, is one of the inner west’s heroes. It’s home to terraces, good eats and views. It’s a ferry trip from the city. Pretty much everyone loves it there, except people who are trying to find parking.

 

East Killara is, unsurprisingly, the suburb east of Killara. It’s a small, quiet, walkable patch that, likes its neighbour, is affluent, but its housing seems to date primarily from the 1970s to now (while Killara is famed for its heritage). It’s also where Killara High is located, making it a hot spot for parents hoping to enrol their kids in the school. It’s family oriented and provides easy access to Chatswood, Gordon and St Ives. It borders the bush/national park, giving it some nice views and walking tracks, as well as a general peaceful setting. Its median is $1.365m.

 

Echo Point

 

 

Balmain

 
My love of dilapidation is a hard one to explain, but it’s always there. These sandstone cottages at Balmain are favourites of mine.

 

Balmain

 

If you walk through Balmain/Rozelle frequently, you’d know that the suburbs have a monopoly (or would it be oligopoly, then?) on cute houses. This one is a prime example.

 

East Killara

 

This is one of the houses in East Killara I was referring to earlier. Unfortunately, it had gotten too dark by the time I started snapping pictures so I’ll have to just leave you with this house for now. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen in Australia. Enormous and just straight out intriguing.

 

East Killara

 

And since I mentioned another dog, I have to make mention of one of my own. She happens to be the prettiest dog on the planet.

 

Alice, supermodel canine and all-round great hound.

Various, Cremorne Point

I really hope that one day I become the kind of person who lives in a place like this.

 
Can you smell the sweet, sweet scent of prestige? That’s Cremorne Point for you. You know the people who traveled first class on the Titanic? The people who live at Cremorne Point are the modern-day equivalent of them. That sounds more dire than intended (I’m sure the suburb isn’t sinking). The point I’m trying to make is: woah wealth. The suburb is around 6km from the CBD and is smack bang on the harbour. It has a ferry wharf, making it even cooler. I couldn’t find anything more recent in my five minutes of research, but according to Property Observer Cremorne Point was the sixth most expensive apartment market in Sydney in 2012…just a random fact reaffirming my ‘this is an expensive suburb’ thesis.

 

 

I’ve been a bit slack lately and haven’t explored a house, but since I was in the area I thought I’d snap some pictures of the fairly amazing houses and apartment buildings dotted along the foreshore of this suburb. Hopefully that will tide you over.

 

 

The view isn’t bad, either. Incidentally, I think the shed in the above photo might be the same one that’s the subject of this article? Fun fact: I was eleven when that article was written. Half the age I am now. Ah, nostalgia.

 

 

Although this set of apartments comes from a later era than most of the places in the suburb, I really like the formation/symmetry/pattern.

 

Cremorne Point is also home to my favourite Sydney pool. It's right on the harbour. Perfection.

Penthouse, “Princeton”, 282 New South Head Road, Double Bay

Of all of the homes I've visited, this is possibly my favourite room.

Name any stimulant. Chances are, its strength is, at best, on par with my level of hyperactivity this evening. So I thought I should channel all that random energy into a blog post. Plus, I was excited about posting this penthouse up; it’s a masterpiece, for one, and a significant piece of real estate, for another. The Canberra Times unfortunately beat me to it, but that’s because this is a landmark with inimitable style. It was owned by the late Leslie Walford (some details here), one of the nation’s foremost interior designers (I highly recommend reading that Vogue Living blog post, particularly as it features excellent examples of Walford’s work). This is a proper penthouse (with almost 500 sqm total space) atop a large, exquisitely maintained Art Deco complex.

 

The apartment has both design cachet and location going for it. Double Bay is one of the gems in Sydney’s eastern crown, so to speak. My dad’s one of the people who’s fond of calling the suburb ‘Double Pay’ (according to Wikipedia, this nickname is now rarely used, but that doesn’t reflect my experience!). So, it’s at the top of the wealthy set’s hit list. It’s a harbourside suburb that’s always been blue ribbon. Some of its grand Gothic Revival houses have been converted into apartment complexes – you can decide whether that’s a positive or negative (arguments could go either way).

 

This apartment has the feel of a house due to its size – it occupies the entire top floor of the building (as a proper penthouse should) and boasts 219 sqm internal space and 279 sqm worth of terraces. You’re drawn out onto the terrace as soon as you walk into the apartment (particularly on the kind of day I visited, which was sunny/amazing); it’s the best vantage point for the harbour views, which are another highlight. The external space is very impressive as it’s so large. Separate terraces wrap around the apartment, providing distinct entertaining areas and multiple views.

 

The terraces are reached through French doors from the apartment’s primary living area. This zone of the penthouse (incredibly light due to the French doors) has a foyer, living area to the right and incredible formal dining room (seen above) to the left. The dining room has a ceiling mosaic and coordinated silk walls and curtains (I don’t mean to gush, but they’re seriously gorgeous). The living area has an impressive fireplace, high ceilings and timber floorboards.

 

Apart from its sheer size, another factor in making this apartment feel house-like is its layout. It has two hallways, two living rooms, three bedrooms plus a study/fourth bedroom and three bathrooms. There are also two car spaces and additional storage. The second living area leads out onto a separate terrace, which means there are multiple areas of the home that can be used to relax in. This is pretty central to family living, and it’s what makes this place particularly amenable to a family set-up.

 

The rooms are decorated in the Walford style, and I sincerely hope that this doesn’t change. The study/fourth bedroom, in particular, is a masterstroke (from my perspective); coordinated pink wallpaper on the walls and ceilings, in addition to the curtains, bookshelf and bedspread. It might seem over-the-top, but that’s exactly why it works, in my mind.

 

 

One of the other bedrooms – currently organised as a study – is designed in similar fashion, with more serious blues replacing the pretty pinks of the fourth bedroom.

 

The blue room.

 

The bathrooms are all fairly modern, and the galley kitchen is serviceable with a nice outlook. The only unfortunate point I can pick up on doesn’t relate to the apartment itself, but the fact that I’m sure some prospective buyers (the apartment is on the market with co-agents at what I consider to be a reasonable price) would be looking at renovations. I personally would leave it exactly as is. It’s the charm combined with its views that make it such a stunner.

 

Fireplace in the formal living room.

 

 

Wardrobes in the master bedroom.

 

 

The pink room.

 

 

Hallways give the apartment discrete spaces.

 

Second living area.

 

 

10 Norma Road, Palm Beach

 

My Saturday night plans were canned due to a headcold. The upside is that it’s given me a chance to blog – as cool a Saturday night activity as any…right? Spending the morning soaking up sun in Palm Beach was a pretty excellent start to the day, and this was a suitable spot for it – 10 Norma Road, a quiet, elevated street with an incredible aspect. The home is a beach house through-and-through (with a laidback, modern renovation), and that’s why I like it so much.

 

God I love these kind of chairs. Can someone please buy me one, and a place that has a deck so I can use it?

 

It would be remiss of me to describe the house without first emphasising the view. It is a serious view. The house is designed to support it; both the main level and the downstairs studio space lead out onto decks that take advantage of the closeness of the ocean. I could’ve stood there all day. It helps that the living area is so attractive – dark timber floors, lofty ceilings, bifold doors. The kitchen benefits directly from the views, too. I can imagine having a lot of fun times in this part of the house. It’s built for entertaining and relaxation (not surprising given the area is known as a ‘millionaire’s playground’ – yep, I squirmed while typing that – and is known for its high-end weekenders; convenient example here).

 

The house is built on a sloping block, which means two things; more vantage points for views, and lots of stairs. I often like stairs as they can help to break up space, but I’ll let you determine your own view on that one. Some nice features of the house include the fact that it’s so open; the main living area is split off from a secondary one via stairs (similar to a loft situation), which gives the place an airiness (perfect for the beach vibe). There are plenty of bathrooms (all of them done in a nice minimalist style that complements the house design well – simple tiles and mirrors), the bedrooms have high ceilings, and there is a third entertaining area at the rear of the house that again has a nice indoor/outdoor thing going on with the bifolds and deck. There’s a nice grassed yard, to boot.

 

The lower level is a studio type space that’s currently set up as a bedroom. It has a bathroom and, as mentioned above, access to a deck with full ocean views. This is my room if I move in, for the record.

 

The house is on the market. Palm Beach has apparently been a popular spot for buyers recently, with the SMH speculating that this is due to Sydney’s amazing winter weather. It is a great spot; secluded, summery, visually stunning and home to Boathouse Palm Beach, which isn’t bad for a feed (if you don’t mind lining up…). I’d hypothesise that the key target markets would be families and wealthy types looking for a holiday house to retreat to on weekends. What would be better, though, is if one of my friends buys it and a) lets me live there and b) agrees to entertain regularly. This house is the place for it.

 

Ahhh, the view.

 

 

In my mind, this is where I prepare excellent meals for chilled hangouts on the deck.

 

 

The rear living area – good for a family in need of space or a group who are sharing.

 

 

The main room of the house; entertaining/living/kitchen/dining.

 

 

The downstairs studio (AKA my room).

 

 

The backyard has a cubby house! Pretty sure I would play in one of these if given the chance. Hell, I'd live in it if it had good views/a better aspect than my current place.

 

 

Pared back bathrooms complement the laidback interiors.

Bunk beds. Everyone's favourite as a child. Less popular for adults.