Written by John Williams
Their plan was to demolish the old house and replace it with a larger modern home; one that was in keeping with the surrounding heritage homes in the area. “We wanted something contemporary, but not too different from the beautiful villas and older architecture from days gone by,” says, Marilyn.
The design brief to their architect, Alan Shanahan, was to give them lots of sun and light, and to maximise the site, but also give them privacy. They wanted a flowing, open living space that had flat access, because they had 80-year-old parents that visited regularly. And at the other end of the age spectrum, they had grandchildren, some of whom were just babies, so it had to be safe and secure for them, too.
“The design of the house is a modern interpretation of a traditional form, with a very flexible internal floor plan,”
“It’s what I’d call a ‘boatshed’ look, characterised by the prominent double gable, deep eaves, and horizontal weatherboards.” says the architect.
It certainly has a welcoming street presence – its sharp architectural lines challenging, yet at the same time empathising with its neighbours.
At 270sqm, this is a large house – much bigger than most of the housing stock in the area. It also has five bedrooms, one of which is on the ground floor and has a walk-in ensuite, perfect for the visiting parents, or for use as an alternative master suite.
The flow of the house works well, too, especially on the ground floor. Entering either through the front door, or via the double internal garage, the first experience is a good-sized TV, or media room, that has a feature gas fireplace and access to the swimming pool, via a north-facing, sun-filled garden courtyard.
The main open-plan living area takes up much of the rest of the ground floor and features a large, highly spec’ed kitchen, complete with a full suite of Miele appliances, an integrated wine fridge, and a scullery that can be completely closed off when not in use. One of the highlights of this kitchen is the 3-metre island, topped with a durable slate benchtop.
The adjacent lounge was conceived a relaxed conversational area that faces out towards the deck and garden, and the good-sized dining area, which comfortably accommodates eight, has a huge picture window that also overlooks the garden.
The living area’s floor-to-ceiling glazing is its defining architectural feature. The effect is to make the space extremely light and airy, giving unobstructed views out to the well-manicured tropical borders that enclose the rear of the home. Despite being so open, the house is not overlooked by any of its neighbours, and the garden is private and secure, so it’s great for young families.
Natural ventilation was high on Marilyn’s wish list, and the architect duly delivered by the using columns of slim-profile aluminium louvres that can be opened to control the airflow through the house. Upstairs, in each of the four double bedrooms, the architect has used panels of louvres on the outside of the building to achieve the same effect. Here, the panels are fixed as a safety consideration for young children.
The combination of a large amount of glazing and louvres in each room makes this house very efficient to control from a heating and cooling perspective, with Marilyn commenting that she barley uses the ducted air conditioning… “May be just an hour in the morning during the winter months to warm the place up,” she says.
The heated outdoor pool is a great use of space, and the architect’s finishing touch of tiling the perimeter walls in marble make it feel very luxurious and spa like. Although it’s not a full lap pool, it’s deep and perfectly adequate for splashing around and cooling off in during hot summer months. There’s also a extra-wide, built-in corner step where the littlies can stand up and play, or parents can sit down and have a glass of wine. The pool tools and cover can be neatly stored in a dedicated space beneath a hatch in the deck.
This house has a lot going for it. It has the clear advantage of being a new build, with all the practical convenience that brings, yet its classic lines give it an aesthetically pleasing look. Also, it’s adaptable layout means it can be configured for practically any family situation – Marilyn calls it ‘intergenerational’, which is a perfect description for this unique modern residence.
27 Webber Street is now on the market - click here to view the listing