How many homes have you lived in? Can you count them on one hand, or do you need two? Sharon and Bob need three. In 30 years of marriage, the couple have called 15 different residences their home across four different countries \u2013 Australia, Scotland, England, and the Netherlands. A nomadic lifestyle is truly the signifier of the 21st Century \u2013 there\u2019s something to be said for not being tied to one spot: it\u2019s liberating.\r\n\r\nInterestingly, it\u2019s exactly the opposite that brings joy and excitement to Sharon and Bob when you mention their current residence, Doorzien House in Sydney\u2019s Kirribilli. \u201cThis is their forever house now,\u201d says Melonie Bayl-Smith, Director of Bijl Architecture. First-time clients, now friends of Bijl Architecture, Sharon and Bob were attracted to Melonie\u2019s confidence and strong convictions. Her Dutch heritage didn\u2019t hurt either. As the couple had just returned from living in Den Haag in the Netherlands, it brought the two teams together on a personal level.\r\n\r\nWhile it may seem like an added extra, it\u2019s important to have a personal connection and mutual respect when working on residential projects. It\u2019s a delicate and intimate process for all involved. Melonie allows for that.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe understand that clients go on a journey and we are very flexible in that respect,\u201d she says. \u201cThat\u2019s characteristic of our process: allowing space for clients to grow and experience the design process. We don\u2019t superimpose a set design and say this is the only way it will work. It\u2019s about having robustness to the concepts [we present] and how we can move forward with them.\u201d\r\nFollowing the time spent working on the initial design concept, an 18-month build saw Sharon and Bob temporarily relocate to Melbourne where Bob, still today, works five days a week. Moving back into their now forever home, and sorting clothes into her completely customised walk-in-robe, Sharon remembers a warm sense of relief \u2013 this would be the last time she unpacked her belongings into a new space.\r\n\r\nHabits of a nomadic lifestyle have nonetheless carried through to their new home. On request Melonie and the project team at Bijl, including Associate Andrew Lee, have designed in seamless storage opportunities, visible and hidden, consistent with the lightness of space that rules the entire house. And yet Sharon and Bob are hesitant to fill it, living lightly by default and carrying an aversion to the accumulation of \u201cstuff\u201d. What was once a fairly typical, long and narrow semi is now the polar opposite: open, spacious and filled with natural light \u2013 whatever the time of day.\r\n\r\nThe design itself is heroed by opening up as many lines of view as possible, ergo Doorzien House, doorzien being the Dutch word for see-through. Perched on the gentle slopes of Sydney\u2019s lower north shore, there are plenty of enviable views that extend out to Kurraba and Cremorne Points. However the house doesn\u2019t peak at the exterior views, instead offering different perspectives on the interior, too. Every time you turn a corner or look behind you, you\u2019re granted a different visual perspective of the house.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s all about trying to get those cross views. That\u2019s why it\u2019s called Doorzien House,\u201d says Melonie. \u201cBut it\u2019s also about the interplay of view and viewing \u2013 new physical lines of sight are created through the floor and through the walls with glass toplights...When you walk through you aren\u2019t measuring your view by the corner \u2013 you are seeing through the corners.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe project is also about seeing old things in new ways: old brickwork, old typology, a heritage \u2018skin\u2019 leveraged to manipulate light, movement and new materials to create strong vertical and horizontal flows.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe lower ground floor did exist prior to Bijl\u2019s intervention, but in a completely different format. There was a small cellar space dug out at the back, a laundry, bedroom, sitting room and \u201cthe stairs were in a completely different location\u201d. Excavating three metres of \u201cnotoriously solid\u201d purple sandstone afforded the layout Sharon and Bob are able to enjoy today.\r\n\r\nA fully finished and furnished \u2013 not to mention stocked \u2013 cellar up the back celebrates the arduous excavation with a long, backlit subterranean window that showcases a section of the rock they had dug through.\r\n\r\nThere are now two bedrooms on the lower ground floor to the master bedroom on the ground floor. In each of the two bedrooms are large artworks to denote which room belongs to James, their son, or Olivia, their daughter. Just as you or I might have a strong sense of nostalgia attached to the house that we grew up in, Sharon and Bob\u2019s children, who enjoyed their parents\u2019 nomadic footsteps, grew attached to pieces from Sharon\u2019s art collection.\r\n\r\nA growing collection of, and ever-evolving love for, art has followed Sharon back and forth across the globe. It\u2019s no coincidence, then, that the high ceilings and white walls within Doorzien House, reminiscent of an art gallery, are favoured features. Sharon likens them to the walls of the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.\r\n\r\nA beautiful feat of architecture that appeases the residents\u2019 visual predilections as much as it does their operative needs, and it\u2019s easy to overlook the location \u2013 and it isn\u2019t easy to overlook Kirribilli. For Sharon, the area translates many of her favourite European customs. She doesn\u2019t own a coffee machine anymore; instead she\u2019ll take a stroll up to the local barista. Likewise, when the desire arises for a post-dinner treat, Bob and Sharon will happily walk up the hill to the ice cream parlour on the main strip.\r\n\r\nLiving abroad has afforded the couple a window into diverse cultures, customs and lifestyles. While they have by no means adopted every habit to which they\u2019ve been exposed, it has allowed them to assess their own patterns, resulting in a life more purposefully lived.