Architect Emili Fox saw the cliff not as a challenge but as an opportunity to build a wellness-focused home for her family.
When scrolling through photos of architect Emili Fox’s new home, one can practically feel the texture of the concrete floors underfoot, the smoothed grain of the wood cabinetry, and the warmth of the sun on the front patio. But such tactile delights were not always a hallmark of life on this Birchgrove neighborhood lot, says Fox, who is codirector of the Sydney-based firm Fox Johnston.
Fox and her husband bought a near derelict two-bedroom house in the Sydney suburb in 2014 and lived in it for four years. While the site had promising water views to the north, its best qualities weren’t embraced by the existing house, which was invaded by both black mold and possums at some point.
“It was a long period to be living in such an unhealthy environment,” says Fox. “We could be sitting in the dark indoors, rugged up, and suddenly go outside to see it’s a sunny day. The kids shared a room and didn’t have a window. But we saw the potential.”
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