Series 4 · Episode 8
Daniela Turrin, Niran Peiris and their son Calum are doing something no-one in their historic
street in the prestigious Sydney suburb of Hunters Hill has done before. They’re knocking down
their old house to build a smaller one. But these are people who believe that the family that
spends time together stays together – a premise that forms the core of the design of their new
Combining their shared love of rustic materials like concrete, stone and wood salvaged from
their old home, the owners, who hail from Italy and Sri Lanka intend to create an intimate living
space that reflects their history.
Flying in the face of convention, they’re building a two storey home with a gravity defying
suspended slab measuring 14 by 10 metres that will span the main living pavillion – topped by
a planted roof with hanging gardens. In a mix of traditional Ceylonese architecture meets the
rusticity of Italian concrete finishes, this is a house like no other.
Daniela and Niran are only able to pull off this radical departure from their heritage listed
neighbors because their battleaxe block is hidden from the street, accessed by a tree lined
laneway. But this seclusion brings its own set of headaches, beginning with those trees!
For Daniela who’s overseeing the entire project, it’s all new ground as she negotiates her way
through a minefield of red tape, concrete loads, heritage sensitivity and one very complicated
In creating something unique, have Daniela and Niran pushed the design envelope too far or
will their brazen experiment be a perfect marriage of styles?
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