Residential Design – New House Over $1M construction cost
This is a robust and unconventional design which is a welcome departure from the norms of residential design in the inner suburban context. It is an exceptionally skilled ordering of a chaotic range of materials and forms which results in a warm, light-filled, energetic house.
While the forms of the house evolve more from the constraints of building and planning codes than from any preconceptions of what a house should look like, the design makes reference to earlier industrial building types typical of the inner suburbs of Melbourne. Steel structural elements are left exposed to support a balcony facing the street and the roof over the entry. Recycled brickwork and metal cladding reinforce the early industrial aesthetic, while coloured and figured glazing allows light to penetrate the full height void within.
The interior of the house is a fascinating arrangement of recycled and reclaimed materials, which create a rich tapestry within inviting spaces where the light is ever changing. A dropped ceiling of reclaimed painted timber lining boards over the living area is deceptive in the way in which it defines the space; there is a very real sense of luxury in spite of the supposedly humble materials. The kitchen and bathrooms are as eclectically detailed as the rest of the house, with several finishes cleverly working together in a highly original manner.
Upstairs, the main bedrooms present as a loft-like space, with translucent materials providing natural light and privacy in a dramatically raking wall above an extensive run of low cabinets.
The designer speaks of ‘overuse’ of materials. Handled with the skill evident in this design such ‘overuse’ is delightfully refreshing and original.
Interior Design – Residential
The client brief was to create a warehouse style home that embraces the atmosphere of Melbourne’s cafe and laneway culture. Robust, rich, mysterious, warm, industrial, layered and ever evolving were the words used to describe a situation that was to be inviting and stimulating but never completely knowable.
Recycled timber panelling, windows and light fittings are introduced into a contemporary environment in an attempt to create a sense of lineage and evolution, while the colour palette evolves in direct response to the recycled materials and objects which have been applied in as found condition. Translucent connections between and through adjoining spaces provide glimpses into courtyards and urban landscapes beyond, allowing the eye to constantly meander in a slightly voyeuristic way.
The eye cannot linger long on any one detail as there is so much to explore and discover. Details include the coloured glass panels highlights in steel framed windows and doors, bright yellow subway tiles that direct us round corners of the kitchen island, patterned and recycled tiles creating a strong backdrop to bath in, theatre spot lights creating drama in the kitchen, etched glass panels from The Rose of South Yarra (saved from the former residence) and texturised brick and timber interior cladding.
Adhering to strict ResCode requirements shaped the interior spaces and were the triggers for the use of obscured glass and textures that lined the façades. This, in turn, resulted in a quality of light that lit the interiors in a changing and beautiful manner. The choice of lighting throughout also needs to be mentioned as the strong steel and vintage fittings only further enhance the urban nature of the interiors.
Every wall, ceiling and void of this home has been designed with the greatest of consideration to aesthetic and function. From upholstered, panelled walls that buffer sound to the sculpted fall in the kitchen bench top drainer.
Regardless of the amount of finishes used and components to create space, the interiors gel together as a very integrated exciting and practical home.
Most Innovative Kitchen Design
The chaotic material palette used in the kitchen is at the heart of this interior scheme. The kitchen and its surrounds are designed like a laneway café where a range of different finishes collide with one another and are chosen for their durability rather than their aesthetic value. The outcome is a space that feels robust and well integrated into the whole, rather than a clinical side event.
A range of materials not normally associated with domestic kitchens have been combined to create a semi-industrial space full of life. Subway tiles, blackened steel, stainless steel shelving and concrete have been placed side by side in a successful composition. Colour, texture and pattern have all been used to enhance the interior rhythms.
This space is tough, ready for action and is at the heart of this house. This is a kitchen designed for people who cook. All tasks can be performed in full view of visitors, and incorporate the act of cooking like a performance under spot lights.
The kitchen is strongly connected to an internal courtyard and rear garden. Light filters down from the central void which doubles as a venting stack for the house.
Excellence in Use of Glass
This project is defined by the spatial relationships and a sense that everything is connected but without clearly defined perimeters. Glazing is the single most important device used to achieve this outcome as well as helping to overcome some of the limitations placed on the project by ResCode. Coloured, textured and translucent glazing activate the interior providing mood and a sense of mystery.
Everything about this home has an attitude of “why? – because we can” about it. And this ‘attitude’ extends to the creative and imaginative use of glass in colour, texture and placement. Every window and glazing element is artfully framed in a different material palette. The placement of the glazing elements are skilfully designed to interconnect the internal spaces with light colour and ventilation. Anyone looking at this house wants to stop and look at every window – be it vertical, angled or horizontal, and absorb its framing, and how the light and colour is scooped up, splashed and played onto the room surfaces. Natural daylight through glass, penetrating into the core of the home, blurs the feeling of being indoors or outdoors. Colour and sunlight reach in, casting fingers of shadows onto the varying material textures throughout the home, moves every hour of the day and every season of the year, as if to conduct the mob as an ensemble of vibrancy and happiness. An outstanding winner for Excellence in the Use of Glass.
Excellence in Use of Brick
This warehouse-style home embraces the atmosphere of Melbourne’s cafe and laneway culture. The old ‘Collingwood cottage’ laneway effect of brickwork in this home assured it of winning this category. The haphazard stacking of painted and non-painted old recycled clay bricks ‘glue’ the organic timber to the overall materials and colours palette. You will find all of these colours woven into a single wall of bricks. The brickwork relishes in the internal natural sunlight and shadows to express life and movement and accentuate the natural colours of the clay throughout the day. The use of the brickwork to tie and anchor all other materials, textures and colours throughout the home ‘stole the show’.
Excellence in Use of Timber
The use of recycled timber in this home is simply wonderful. A large variety of second grade and recycled timber products have been used to create a dynamic and vibrant interior. This house is very much the sum of all its parts but it relies heavily on the warmth, texture and movement inherent in timber to form a major part of the scheme.
Timber in its natural grain and sanded and lacquered finish is, of course, easy to predict and love. But, it takes bravado and a playful attitude to skilfully recycle and place as-is pre-painted second grade old timber planking in a haphazard palette. With all their knots, warps and cupping, expressed and celebrated as a potpourri of colour for wall, floor, and ceiling elements. But, this is crucial to linking the overall ambience of the home, offering a material and textural surprise at the turning of every corner.
A clear winner for Excellence in Use of Timber.
Most Innovative Small Works Project
A folded metal sheet and the inclusion of an existing paling fence together represented the Most Innovative Small Works Award for this year. The letter box was considered as part of the overall bespoke design of the Rose of the South, and was a natural extension of the overall design aesthetic.
As the fencing and landscaping evolved for this project, the client decided that a conventional letterbox would not really fit with the scheme. Time was taken to design a letterbox that speaks the same design language as the house, while providing a practical solution to an age old problem.
Using both simple finishes and form, the letterbox is both practical and smart. A blackened steel sheet is folded over a timber paling fence to create a hose for the letters. Details, including recycled spotted gum and galvanised steel awnings, ensure privacy and mail/paper separation. A simple finger pull allows the box to be opened.
This is a detail that fits so well within in the street façade it could easily be missed. But what a joy when it is found, and the pleasure of checking the mail every day.