These are the Top 50 homes in NSW (Part one)
In a state as diverse as NSW, we set ourselves the almost impossible task of choosing the 50 best homes.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. What followed was an animated debate over what constituted a "best home". For me, it was never about the size of the house or its budget, and more about showcasing the innovations and clever solutions that designers and architects have delivered for their clients, whether they are driven by sustainable principles, the threat of bushfire, or they have just fallen in love with a quirky building they want to call home.
Housing affordability continues to be a hot topic, and nowhere is it more obvious than in Sydney where the median house price exceeds $1m.
We've celebrated the response of owners and their architects to this problem, choosing houses that are not only beautifully designed and a pleasure to live in, but created to keep costs to a minimum. For some, it's been about making do with less space, while for others, it's opting for simple but robust materials. Often, it was a combination of both, although the outcome was always the same - a beautiful place to live.
Sustainability was also a strong theme, whether it was choosing recycled materials, paying attention to passive solar design and cross ventilation or the addition of rainwater tanks and solar panels to take the pressure off the grid.
In a state with so much going on beyond the cities, we've cast our net far and wide, showcasing regional and coastal homes that would make any would-be tree or seachanger swoon.
We've also raised a glass to some of the older homes in the state. While some date back to convict days, many were built last century and tell the story of our state's evolution from showing deference to European architectural traditions to embracing the local environment. The best of the mid-century designs still feel shockingly new and offer lessons about making more with less.
But in beautiful, brash Sydney, you can't ignore the extravagant piles that only a tonne of cash can buy.
Owned or commissioned by the upper echelons of the business world as well as some A-list celebrities, many of these houses cluster around our glittering harbour, offering their owners world class views.
As we start our countdown today, we hope to challenge you to think about what home really means to you.
Some of these houses are places we can only dream about, but others we hope will inspire your next project, or even your next stage of life.
Pick up The Sunday Telegraph tomorrow for the top 25 and we hope you enjoy our selection as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to you.
Originally published as NSW's top 50 homes - Part 1