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The clients’ brief was to design a home on a 336m² block running East West for a young couple to accommodate their immediate lifestyle needs and their future family. The open plan living area connects directly to the outside living area with an intimate retreat off to one side. The home explores the design intersection of an efficient floorplan, passive solar design principles and local council parameters and regulations.

The building’s contribution to the street is modest. The palette is a combination of raw textured face brick, white rendered walls and the warm tones of cedar cladding. We prefer our work to be part of the conversation amongst the public to better appreciate architect designed houses – therefore making it more accessible for everyone.

The house sits within a historic character protection area, which required an interpretation of a ‘pitched roof’. This requirement resulted in a strong sculptural double storey pitched roof form. Attached to the north side of ‘the barn’ just short of midway, is a single storey box which houses ‘the snug’. This delineates the pool courtyard to the West and carport to the East. One enters the building into a double height void space with burnished concrete floors. The rawness of this slab finish is one of the features throughout the ground floor. The east wall of the brick box continues into the house – part of this is punctured by the concrete stairs and the rest of the wall wraps around the corner to form one side of a narrow corridor. With substantial storage on one side, the corridor links the master bedroom, laundry, winter snug and living areas. Up the stairs are the three bedrooms and bathroom.

The kitchen and dining areas open towards the living area and courtyard to the north. The expanse of the main living area is vertically accentuated by the double height internal volume of the barn form. These spaces enjoy good natural light – a concrete awning provides adequate protection from the direct light during the summer and the winter sun warms the floor during colder periods. A small hit-and-miss breeze wall provides privacy to a powder room and entry to the snug. This snug is where parents escape to when the kids are asleep. The playful gestures of the breeze wall carry through on the external portion of the wall with a brick motif reindeer that overlooks the pool and courtyard.

Collaboration with the structural engineer achieved an elegant, cost effective design of the concrete canopy that has a generous overhang and span over the sliding doors of the living area. The tender price came back 5% cheaper than the original budget which gave the clients the luxury of adding more cabinet work and other finishes to the interior.