Shrouded house sits within a leafy inner-Melbourne suburb with contemporary homes on one side and heritage Victorian ones on the other.
It’s a family home, designed to accommodate a couple and their teenagers in multiple modes: as individuals, as a family unit, or with extended family and friends.
The new house has the same internal area as the one it replaced (a Californian bungalow), but occupies half the footprint, so there’s more outdoor space to use. There’s also better solar orientation in all the living spaces.
It’s partially withdrawn from the street, angled and retreating to bring privacy to the living spaces and main bedroom. Rather than relegating the veggie garden to the back, we’ve put it in the front yard, which makes good use of the land and brings interest to the streetscape.
We’ve used timber and brick in playful and unconventional ways: the typical timber front fence is drawn up and across the external walls, revealing the brickwork beneath. There is sweeping black steel detailing around the openings and where timber and brick join. The plantings, paths, edging and seating details, and the pool all share a curvilinear geometry with elements of the house. We’ve made visual and spiritual connections to the landscape wherever possible.
Inside, the generous linear kitchen performs its essential role as the physical and social nexus of household activity. The second storey contains semi-private and private spaces, with a central bridge connecting the parents’ and kids’ wings. One end of the upper level celebrates the ancient peppercorn tree in an entirely timber clad outdoor recreation and cinema room.
Artworks and collectables are positioned throughout the house in places that we’ve enhanced with gallery-style lighting and high ceilings.
There are large windows to let plenty of light in, and skylights in the circulation spaces and the ensuite bathroom. We worked hard to balance ventilation, insulation and air-tightness so the house is comfortable in all seasons with minimal heating or cooling.
The main materials are sustainable, durable and locally-sourced, for example, the radial sawn timber of the façade.