On the Water’s Edge – by Tobias Partners
25 Jan 2019
‘Not a beachhouse’ was the brief for this home for architect Nick Tobias and his family, although literally located on the water’s edge. Instead, they pined for something that enabled a water-loving life, yet was contemporary, sophisticated and personal.
When architect Nick Tobias, his wife Miranda and their two young children were moving to North Bondi, they were determined not to have a typical ‘beach home’. Rather, they wanted something smart and urban, something that could be a backdrop to all the things and activities that make up their lives as a young, active and creative family.
The 1980s house with a spectacular view across the water had ‘good bones’, but needed to be significantly reorganised. The external side walls, roof and slab were kept while the interior walls and front and back facades were removed. A lower ground floor became a garage, cinema room and well-used craftroom. The ground level contains most of the living areas (including a music room as the heart of the home) and the upper floor is a quieter zone with the bedrooms and a mint green-carpeted library, which doubles as a meditation room and guest room.
It was crucial to cater to everyone’s busy and diverse lives and interests with storage solutions. Footwear, swimming gear, raincoats and jackets can be easily shoved into and found in pigeon holes at the entry. A racking system in the garage houses all the boys toys (bikes, scooters, skateboards, paddleboards and windsurfers). And terrazzo floors make for an elegant-looking but casual lifestyle, where “you can come in with wet feet, so it’s super practical and easy to maintain,” says Nick.
“We had a Zip product in our previous house, which we thought was fantastic,” says Nick. “Especially the hot water. And they’ve even further refined the whole aesthetic, so all aspects are rocking.” The family has opted to have boiling and ambient, rather than chilled water in their new home. “I don’t really like cold water; ambient is just a good room temperature drink,” Nick shares. And the hot water is equally appreciated: “I get up in the morning every day and have a glass of hot water. I do that whenever I can during the day, but that first cup is crucial.”
While good aesthetics are clearly essential in the home of an architect, it’s the functionality that has made the Zip product a necessity in the home. “I’ve found it to be a solid, reliable piece of machinery. Being able to just walk downstairs and go bang, hot water, is the big driver for us. Cooking for kids, that ability to boil an egg, make pasta — you get hot water boiling on the stove in half a minute.” And of course, appearances are important too. Nick adds laughing, “You look pretty snappy when you make a cup of tea for someone in 90 seconds. You might lose someone’s attention while the kettle’s boiling.”