Designed for a family of five, the clients wanted a house that responded to the land’s topography. A 1920s stables to the rear of the site was to be restored into a studio. Located on the southern side of a Mt Eden street, the 15m wide x 72m long rectangular site slopes from the street downwards towards the rear boundary, set back 10m from the street. The clever design was delivered through an iterative design process led by a skilled architect, who challenged convention, took on the client’s requirements and worked closely with Council’s urban design staff and delivered to a budget. The architects started by taking the idea of a traditional bay villa, which tends to be internally focused with the exception of front rooms facing the street. A villa is usually centred on a site with an internalised corridor leading down the centre of the house from the front to service rooms in the rear. The design team took this idea and deconstructed it. The two halves of the building are split and shunted, one half to the front, and the other to the rear of the site with a circulation spine weaving through the more communal spaces of the house. This maximises the interior to exterior relationship while still taking the front door to the middle of the site.