With everything against them, including a death-defying 45-degree slope from street level, visionary Rob wanted to create a world class residence.
“I had a dream of building the most sophisticated luxury villa in Australia,” he says, “and it turns out that the easy part was buying our own beachfront land, with the best views in Sydney.
“The problem that we didn’t ever anticipate, was finding a way to get DA approvals to build and construct the house.”
Humble Beginnings: Australia’s best residential property started as an unused concrete pool – and took 15 years to complete!
With no vehicle or waterfront access to the land – and no services, the Klaric’s only solution was to purchase – and then install – a huge tower crane on Parriwi Rd.
“That really set the cat amongst the pigeons,” Rob says, “and it took six years, plus three Land and Environment Court applications, to get approval.”
“Luckily, I never give up on my dreams.”
With no vehicle or water access, the Klaric’s had to install a huge crane on Parriwi Rd in order to build their dream home.
Permission for the construction of Villa Aqua wasn’t formally granted until 2009 – and just when they thought the fight was over, the real work began.
Earth works, including extensive excavation, the installation of 80 concrete piers to bedrock – and the removal of soil took another three years, before the ambitious build began in earnest, in 2012
Architect Designed by the late Laurie Chiarella and Stephen Fayle (from Woodhouse and Danks), Villa Aqua slowly but surely took shape as a modern-day classic residence, offering sophisticated living over four levels.
Showcasing classic Mediterranean villa design, the home has a strong emphasis on entertaining and living.
Yes, it was the most challenging construction of our careers,” joint Master Builders Vili Cubelic and Stephen Mallinger tell me, “but also the most rewarding experience for everyone involved in the project.”
With its unique 30 metre beach frontage, these days Villa Aqua is comfortably accessed by a cable car, that smoothly descends the 40 metres from street level, down to a spectacular waterfront palace boasting front row seats on Sydney Harbour.
“It is a beachfront home that you can’t put a price tag on,” Rob says, “because there’s nothing else like it anywhere in the world.”
Showcasing classic Mediterranean villa design, the home has a strong emphasis on entertaining and living, with each level accessed by a bespoke Turkish marble staircase, an engineering feat in itself.
Meticulous attention to detail is what makes Villa Aqua a residence like no other, and although they won’t reveal the final cost, Rob and Leonie agree their dream home is “priceless”.
Entry level has been purposely designed for luxury living, and the vast open spaces provide a perfect mix of both casual entertaining and formal rooms. Naturally, there’s a commercial grade, designer kitchen, with a Carrara marble island, a 1000 bottle walk-in cellar – and a glamorous infinity pool.
“People didn’t ever believe that we would be able to build on this site – even one Town Planner said it couldn’t be done,” said Rob Klaric.
Four bedrooms all have American walnut cabinetry – plus Turkish marble bathrooms – but it’s the Klaric’s very own ‘Presidential Pavilion Suite’ that is beyond breathtaking, with floor to ceiling glass, a private hotel style mini bar, his and hers showers and a freestanding bath that looks out to Sydney’s spectacular harbour.
“It is a beachfront home that you could never put a price tag on,” Rob says, “because there’s nothing else like it anywhere in the world.
“A huge part of our married life has gone into creating our dream home and after everything I’ve put her through, it’s a miracle Leonie is still with me,” Rob says with a cheeky smile.
“I could never have taken on – or achieved – this massive project without Leonie’s love, support and faith in me.
Rob and Leonie Klaric fought hard to build Australia’s best residential home, but say the years of effort were worth it.
“The reality is that without my wife, nothing would ever have been possible and I don’t have the words to express the gratitude she truly deserves.”
Standing on the terrace, with an ocean of tranquil, turquoise water stretched out before them, Rob and Leonie Klaric share a smile as they take in their incredible view.
“Not bad for the son of a refugee from the other side of the tracks,” he says.
Not bad indeed.