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Come straight through

A new front entry centres on the true spine of this reinvented house, opening into a hall that expands into open living and curated backyard beyond

Designed by Weian Lim, WALA

From the renovating architect:

Brief

This home is located in the neighbourhood pocket of Black Rock – within 400m to picturesque Beach Road and walking distance to the Sandringham Beach Foreshore Reserve.

The homeowners had a clear ambition of laying roots with their young family in this Bayside community and setting up their forever home. 

The existing dwelling was a post-war, double-fronted brick-veneered house which was part of the common building stock of its time and did not hold any heritage significance. 

The old house had familiar characteristics of its post-war pedigree by way of low ceilings and an awkwardly laid out horse-shoe internal configuration, so the logical decision was made to take a knock-down/rebuild approach.

The owners wanted a practical, fuss-free home that would last them for years to come – our challenge was to create a design that responds to their present & future needs.


Design response

While the existing building was of no heritage significance, a conscious decision to retain and edit parts of the existing fabric (ground level exterior walls) was inspired by the original horse-shoe shaped building layout that prioritised an east-facing courtyard which enjoyed lovely morning light. 

Short sections of the existing brick-veneered walls were retained as best they could be – primarily along the western and northern faces of the building. 

A new front entry was orientated to be centred with the true spine of the house to lead into a generous hallway that expands into an open-plan living space which further spills outwards to a well-curated backyard.

Full-height glazed sliders stack back or are concealed to allow the living spaces to open up completely to the outdoors. 

This indoor-outdoor connection is further emphasised with zero-thresholds between interior flooring and exterior decking, bringing borrowed amenity and a full 180 degree view of the garden inside.

The front hallway is well lit from the large windows from the stairwell that looks out to the central courtyard. 

Morning light is captured through this window in a warm glow and paints the space with shadows from the lush landscape outside. 

Curved walls gently lead into the north-facing living room which feels light and airy throughout the year.

Despite the generous feel of the open-plan living space downstairs, the home has been designed with privacy of neighbours in mind with custom cedar screening to both the front and rear upper-level facades.

Material selection

High-quality, long-lasting materials and proven construction methodologies were selected for their time-tested qualities. 

Exterior finishes of black timber battens, white-painted recycled bricks and a velvety grey cement render collectively form a sophisticated material palette that is understated yet timeless. 

The colour palette is monochromatic to accentuate the subtle textural qualities of the building materials. 

From the street, the restraint palette is not meant to overwhelm the streetscape but rather sit quite comfortably in this leafy neighbourhood pocket.

To contrast the light and open feel of the shared family spaces, the private rooms adopt a moodier persona, with darker colour schemes. 

The library/study is representative of this with a deep feature-window steel reveal, that doubles as a bay window, coloured black. 

The dark tone continues with matte black cabinetry and a graphite black quartz hearth for the open fireplace. 

Offsetting these dark tones are the warmer wood-veneered joinery and strategic ambient lighting. 

This application of timber on joinery extends throughout the house to tie all these pieces in a consistent material and visual language.

A cement-rendered feature wall in the dining space mirrors the velvet finish of the exterior walls, strengthening the relationship and visual consistency between inside and out.

Spatial planning

The eventual physical footprint of the new house is not large compared to its surrounding neighbours in this Bayside neighbourhood, but the spaces within it do feel generously sized courtesy of its high ceilings, clever use of windows, and efficient spatial planning.

Gardens and landscaping have the space to breathe and occupy their own parts around the house which will, in time, complement and soften the angular edges of the building’s skin.

The fortuitously north-facing backyard enabled the rear living spaces to open up to it and reap the benefits of a northerly aspect. 

Outdoor recreational facilities such as the pool, sauna and BBQ platform are well-placed to be in full view from the indoor living areas.

The ability to completely retract the glazed sliders means that a good cross flow of air can always be maintained downstairs.

Credit list

Renovating architect
Interior designer
WALA
Pool contractor
Hayward Pools
Roof
Lysaght
Bedroom flooring
Carpet – Cavalier Bremworth
Bathroom tiles
Ragno Bianco, from Tiento Tiles
Fireplace
Jetmaster
Living area furniture
Cloud Sofa, by Prostoria; Ella Easy Chair, by Montis; Servogiro Side Table, by Pianca – all from Collective Australia
Awards
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Highly Commended
Builder
MJC Builders,
Landscape designer
Peachy Green
Cladding
Recycled bricks, from Beaver Bricks; wall render, by Coharo Coatings; cedar battens with WOCA black stain
Main flooring
Timber – White Smoked European Oak engineered boards, by Woodcut
Rugs
Living room – Wega, from Halcyon Lake.
Paint
Dulux Natural White
Feature light fittings
Powder room wall lamps – Glo-Ball from Euroluce
Dining table/chairs
Collective Local Table; Monk Chair, by Prostoria – from Collective Australia

Designed by: Weian Lim, WALA

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Dave Kulesza

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