overcliffe cottage, potts point, new south wales
The late Neville Quarry, Professor of Architecture at UTS and so much more, least of which being a man who moved from Melbourne to Sydney and his football allegiances from Carlton to the Swans. Well, in the late 90’s Neville called me and said you’re going to get a call from ‘said client’ and this would an opportunity to good to miss and that ‘you’ll be alright’. It was the last bit that piqued my curiosity. Neville sadly left us way too early. But my client is still going strong and I indeed survived.
Leon Fink is just about as colorful a client anyone could have. Colorful of jacket. Colorful of sock. Colorful of past. Colorful of present. Colorful of future. He’s energy is more draining than it is intoxicating. I know not one person on this planet that can match his drive. We ‘hit it off’ immediately. Probably helped by the fact that neither of us knew the other. He had visited my first house and saw something in ‘it’ and me.
I know it’s a cliché to talk about a project as a ‘journey’. But what a journey Overcliffe was. Built from timber I hand picked from his ‘soon to be demolished’ Blackwattle wharf buildings and assembled magnificently by the boys from Bellevarde. The project was an addition to an old cottage. We renovated the cottage (it was dark and dreary and mouldy and creepy) and built a completely separate structure ‘out the back’. From the street you have no idea of the new structure. At ground level the house blended into a wonderful garden. The whole affect was not unlike living in a tropical oasis. Leon does gardening well!
It was the year 2001 and there was never a dull day. Just lots of hilarity and adventure and learning and disbelief and jaw dropping delight.