The design of the house begins with the story of its occupants. Two families had become one, and they needed a space that could meet the needs of their new family. Architect Clive Wilkinson had two young children, and his wife Elisabeth had a 13-year-old daughter. The children all needed separate rooms–individual spaces for personal growth within this new merged family. The chosen hillside location provides vertical spatial separation, allowing each floor to be employed for a different purpose. The ground floor includes the three children’s bedrooms and a studio; the middle floor holds the master bedroom and a guest bedroom; and the top floor is the large communal space that brings the family together.
Matching the two-story scale of its neighbors, the house is entered from the rear street. Visitors descend into the front entry terrace and, from there, are drawn upstairs to a full-width balcony overlooking the vast urban landscape below. The living floor is open on its south side and expressed as a large beamed attic space formed entirely in wood. Kitchen, dining and living all co-exist, orienting to the south view. At the rear is the enclosed library with black steel shelving. The exterior of this top floor volume is clad in black zinc panels, emphasizing its role as the crow’s nest, or observatory, of the house.
The lower floors hold five bedrooms and five bathrooms, as well as a den and small gym. The children’s bedrooms open onto the stone-tiled pool terrace and garden, which extends down the hill. The steep site provides three distinct social spaces: the living attic, the pool deck, and the garden terrace. The separate levels address the varying needs of the family, as adults and children have their own territories but can come together for social, recreational and dining needs.