Sticks & Stones House by Luigi Rosselli
The Sticks & Stones House is a fantastic contemporary residence located in the attractive Hunters Hill suburb of Sydney, Australia. The home was designed by Luigi Rosselli, a studio we’re familiar with from their Books House project in Mosman and their High Country Residence in Armidale.
Just as the name suggests, the Sticks & Stones House is primarily built out of stone and timber as it is on the edge of a private park and the choice really lets it blend in the surrounding environment.
Hunters Hill is an attractive, historic peninsula that lies between the Parramatta and Lane Cove rivers on the north shore of Sydney Harbour. The suburb, a precursor to the Garden City movement, was subdivided in the 19th century with sandstone mansions and Victorian timber cottages sitting side by side, with large gardens and private parks containing centuries ancient trees.
It was natural to select stone and timber to build a modern house on the edge of one of these private parks. Sydney sandstone has a slightly yellow hue that darkens and becomes more attractive over time. The timeless materials provide a warm colour palette in an otherwise contemporary construction.
Behind the sandstone walls, enormous, double glassed (Skyframe) windows with minimal framing are pocketed out of sight. Post tensioned concrete slabs have been cantilevered with minimal steel post support to cover the main garden terrace. Behind vertical timber shutters, curved glass windows span from floor to ceiling.
Designed for an uncluttered and relaxed family life the house layout is very simple and quite cartesian in plan except for one sinuous wall overhanging the driveway. Every room opens to a terrace or the garden through large glass doors that slide on ball bearings; one can step outside without noticing the thresholds. Additionally, one can move fluidly from the entry to the open plan living space while hardly noticing the floor to ceiling timber door that, when open, is entirely hidden in the wall but when closed completely separates the open plan area from the rest of the house.
All this modern machinery for simple living could end up being sterile and boring without a dark side: take the stairs to the basement and you will find a subterranean level housing a car collection, a home theatre, workshop, and wine cellar.
Project Architect, Jane McNeill managed to pull out of the barrel a lovely cellar and perfectly detailed drawings that required no site visits and no questions from the Builder to execute.