Season 02 - Episode 02

Media Gallery

It’s one of the most spectacular and popular sites in Sydney's eastern suburbs. For architect Chris Elliott, the location was the chance he'd been waiting for his entire career. But not even the most creative architect could ever have thought where Chris would draw his inspiration. The site is opposite Waverley Cemetery, one of Australia's oldest graveyards in which Chris managed to embrace the design possibilities.

Spending hours wondering amongst the head stones, Chris saw the inherent beauty in the monumentality of white marble. It was the sculptural beauty he felt would transform nicely into a piece of architecture. The site is as wide as an inner city terrace, as well as being very odd in shape. Chris spent months refining every minute detail to gain maximum space. Some of the hallways and stairways are red lining in terms of narrowness - but this was a calculated decision to give as much room back to the living room and bedrooms. 

Built over 5 levels, including a small roof terrace, the house has 3 bedrooms and an entire floor below ground where you'll find a secret swimming grotto inspired by ancient Roman baths as well as a hidden movie room.

It’s always a juggle for an architect to design their own home. For Chris's wife, she was happy to let Chris explore everything and allowed him to use his imagination in ways that normal clients would not. The results were worth that trust. One innovation is that Chris has redefined what windows can be. Indeed they have been described as 'shark eyes' as they are the defining feature of both the inside and outside of the house.

This SANDCASTLE is the result of an unusual set of circumstances from an architect who had been dreaming for chance like this his entire professional life. This remarkable house evokes not only nautical and ocean references but draws extra power from its spiritual neighbour - the result is a career defining design from an extremely likeable and creative architect.