BOX GARDENING: A LIFESTYLE CHANNEL PRESENTER’S RETRO PAD
WHEN BRENDAN MOAR, landscape architect and Lifestyle Channel TV presenter, first set foot inside his sixties inspired “Bond pad”, he knew instantly then and there that this house was made for him. “Every time I walk through the front door, I’m blown away,” says Brendan. Entering from the street, the façade of the house, the only original part remaining, completely disguises the impressive, cathedral-like interior.
“It’s like walking into the Tardis,” he says.“I just love the height of the ceilings, the flood of natural light, and the elegance of the spiral staircase.”
Brendan found the house in Sydney’s inner west and exchanged contracts on the property within 24 hours of first seeing it on the internet. “I had originally discounted it because of the image of its façade, but I am so glad I went back through my reject pile!” The house was renovated by the previous owners in the 1980’s, to a 1960’s aesthetic, which involved knocking down the entire house (apart from the façade), and excavating the interior. The floor level was dug out to create a sunken lounge room, and a ceiling height at the rear of an impressive four-and-a-half metres. Here the ceiling-to-floor ‘Mondrian’ glass windows connect to an ’L’ shaped swimming pool that wraps around the rear of the house and feels as though it’s flowing inside. “Literally, all I did was move in, and what was unbelievable was how well all my furniture fit, proportionately and aesthetically.”
“I like it when you enter a house and immediately get a sense of who lives there.”
The open-plan downstairs living space is divided into the three zones, with what’s been dubbed the “smart room” at the front, the sunken living room complete with copper fireplace in the centre, and the kitchen/ dining area to the rear. Every available surface is filled with Brendan’s collection of art, ceramics and glassware creating a vibrant and personal space. “I like to express myself in the house and in the garden,” says Brendan. “I like it when you enter a house and immediately get a sense of who lives there.”
Upstairs on the middle level are three bedrooms and the main bathroom. The spiral staircase continues up to the third level where an office space opens onto a private rooftop terrace with views of a nature reserve to the left and the city skyline to the right. “This floor is an amazing space for working in because it feels completely separated from the rest of the house. I really feel like I can escape up here either to work, or to chill out on the terrace.” Brendan’s stamp on this outdoor space is evident in the “barcode” striped decking in vibrant shades of green. “It’s become a bit of a signature design element in my work,” explains Brendan, in creating gardens as a landscape architect, and in the gardens that he designs for his TV series Dry Spell Gardening.
There are no boundaries between inside and out in this narrow terrace. Brendan has cleverly created a seamless flow between the two by introducing lush arrangements of indoor plants, namely philodendrons, in the living area and installing outdoor planter boxes behind the glass windows in the light wells. These hanging planter boxes are overflowing with cascading foliage of two different varieties of rhipsalis creating a waterfall effect. The water theme is also echoed in the aqua tones of the window glass and in the palette of the décor. “I’m a blue boy,” smiles Brendan, “Blue can be so intense, and so peaceful.”
But the boy likes to party, and the house is often filled with people. “It’s a great space to entertain in, so friends come around a lot. I still can’t believe I found this place, it just fits me to a T.”
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