Opening to the sky

In a small Neutral Bay house with
no outlook and on a busy road,
how are you going to create interest
and fulfil what the clients requested
of architect Timothy Moon;
a home that has internal atmosphere
enough to imbue it with character
and a distinct sense of refuge and retreat?

In a wholesale makeover of a house
that he says “was the size of an apartment”,
and that heritage ruling precluded
expanding beyond its existing footprint,
Moon gave the wittily renamed
Casa delle Lune or “House of the Moons”,
a great deal of interior interest by
concentrating a lot of effort on
fine detailing and the design of
the now striking ceiling above
the living area.

While it appears to be complex engineering,
the skylight coffers were formed, he says,
“with timber framing and plasterboard”.

Three feature skylights were used
to bring light into the interior and
to give it a sense of the travel
of the sun during the day.

”Otherwise, with east-west orientation,
the interior missed out [on the sun]
during the middle of the day.”
He says all the skylights are
remote controlled which also
enables natural ventilation.

A third bathroom and bedroom
were added and the kitchen
moved to the front, not only
to allow the full-width living room
to open directly to the walled courtyard
but also “to provide a more generous
place for arrival when entering
through the front door”.

Big support timbers reclaimed from
a demolished warehouse, and spotted gum
panelling canopy the tall, wooden front door.
As a “sheltering” scheme, the wide eaves
and the varied finishes and earthy colours
of the exterior walls create what Moon believes
has become “a hard-wearing outer case
to deal with the inner city urban environment
that … protects the softer, more delicate interiors”.