The Mirrabooka House in New South Wales’ Castle Hill (29 kilometres from Sydney’s CBD) is a bona fide bombshell. Designed by architect Bruce Rickard in 1961, the single-storey residence houses five bedrooms inside its sandstone L-shaped building.
Entrants are greeted at the threshold with a sunken garden, complete with a Japanese koi pond, steppers and waterfall (!). To the right lie the living quarters, containing lounge, dining and kitchen areas; while the left (the shorter side of the ‘L’ shape) forms the bedroom wing. All four secondary bedrooms overlook the sunken garden through timber-lined windows, while the main bedroom and adjoining ensuite occupies the southern tip of the house.
While the bedrooms maintain a calm, tranquil connection to internal and external gardens, the connected living quarters contain more extravagant architectural flourishes (that lime green tiled sink, anyone?!). An enormous stone fireplace sits at the centre, with the kitchen, dining and living rooms flanking the centrepiece hearth. The mammoth shale stonework is meant to be a direct reference to the infamous Van Damm house in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest!
Bruce Rickard is one of Australia’s most prolific modernist architects. He was heavily influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Mirrabooka House displays many hallmarks reminiscent of Lloyd Wright’s work. The sandstone walls are set against Tasmanian Oak cladding and Western red cedar joinery, while the west-facing cantilevered balcony is an exercise in brutalist concrete work. You can even glimpse views of the Blue Mountains from it!
In welcome news for fellow mid-century enthusiasts, the house received a state heritage listing in the last twelve months – meaning no changes can be made to the iconic design. Take our word for it, this once-in-a-lifetime house will not be on the market for long!
372 Old Northern Road, Castle Hill is for sale now. You can see the listing and request an inspection here.