Curves in all the right places

This contemporary, light bringing ageing-in-place renovation picks up on a curved feature in the original heritage home and runs with it

Renovation by Rob Nerlich & Kate McMahon, McMahon and Nerlich

From the architects: 

Design points

  • The defining feature of this modest house by the bay is a curved glass courtyard corner which is gently repeated in the opposing curved white wall within, and a circular skylight to the outdoor kitchen. Curves also feature in bathroom and laundry, where the small format vertical finger tiles contribute to an atmospheric rendering of light and spatial form.
  • The curve feature came about in response to a heritage element of the original front rooms of the home and detail of the heritage coved corners.
  • The retired owners were downsizing from a substantial property, and had an unusual brief from the outset; despite the proximity of the dwelling to Middle Park beach and bayside views, they eschewed the normative 2-storey renovation and sought single-level living with an ageing-in-place approach. This was for both economic and ethical reasons – a way to control costs and improve sustainability by minimising the footprint and volume of new construction.

  • Their brief was exacting, however, and they also sought a light and bright house, with an outdoor kitchen for extensive extended-family cooking, an indoor-outdoor lifestyle where the homeowner could paddle board in the bay and easily come home, store equipment and rinse off in ease and privacy.
  • With 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and laundry, open-plan living, kitchen and dining, zoned to suit entertaining, as well as outdoor areas and a carport, on the relatively compact site of 233m², we knew spaces needed to be of exact size and fit together seamlessly.
  • The house resonates with calm and meditative white spatial materiality cocooned between Blackbutt timber floor and ceiling and celebrating the curved corners, enveloping the senses.
  • The new interior layout mimics the glass courtyard curved wall with an opposing curved white wall, allowing nuance to the unusually diagonally dispersed spatial relationship of living and kitchen/dining areas – reflecting spatial clarity and rigorous reductive detailing.
  • White walls, joinery and doors provide clarity and spatial expansion while light grey stone to the kitchen adds richness and reinforces the spatially meditative atmosphere.
  • Furniture with curved or radius elements is selected in timber or colours to complement the blue-green courtyard landscape hues, with locally designed sofa and occasional tables, rugs and other soft furnishings that create a light warm feel and encourage the flow of space.
  • Lamps and pendant lights are circular, and dimmable recessed light fittings are visually subtle and provide controlled lighting.
  • The generous ceiling height is maintained in the new areas and interior and exterior are integrated by high levels of natural light, large slide-away glazed doors and continuity of materials.
  • Finger tiled curved corners provide intimacy to bathrooms and laundry, and curved-corner skylight-reveals envelop bathers in natural light.
  • Timber floor and ceiling bookend the white interior and light floods in throughout the day from the 2 courtyards and feature bathroom skylights – plus the house is full of beautiful furniture with a curved theme.
  • The heritage rendered façade has been restored to the original mix of brickwork and roughcast stucco that is the characteristic of the neighbourhood.
  • Sustainable design is fully integrated with the spatial and experiential design.
  • New and existing construction is highly insulated and double glazing is inserted into existing timber windows and high-performance aluminium framed double glazing are utilised for new windows and doors.
  • The new roof area is fully utilised for solar panels, and highly efficient heating and cooling systems are provided, with low dust hydronic heating.
  See the related bathroom story

Credit list

Kitchen/interior design
McMahon and Nerlich
Lysaught Colorbond Klip-Lok, High Strength; existing terracotta tiles
Main flooring
Secret nailed tongue and groove Blackbutt Australian hardwood
Bathroom tiles
Artedomus Inax Yuki – border; Artedomus Urban Grey, porcelain tile
Matt 2-Pac Paint Lexicon Quarter, Dulux Lexicon Quarter
Feature lighting
Bright Green downlights; Da Voluce Kitchen pendant; Richmond Lighting bedroom pendants; Ross Gardam table lamps, Flos IC; floor lights from Euroluce
Dining area furniture
Globe West Classique Round table; with Globe West chairs and Tolv inlay upholstery armchair
Kitchen benchtop and splashback
Honed Super White Dolomite
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Highly Commended
Builder/kitchen manufacturer
WB Built
Austral Bricks Castelana from the La Paloma range to new brick walls, Cemintel Barestone to fences, original brickwork
Window/door joinery
Schuco Concealed top and bottom rail double glazed sliding doors
Bedroom floors
Jenny Jones rugs; Blackbutt Australian hardwood floors
Wall coverings
CSR plasterboard
Morso Modern cast-iron, by Castworks
Living area furniture
Anaca Studios side tables, mirror, pod & sofa; RJ Living bureau
Evenex Tuscan Oak timber veneer, by Elton Group
Oil paintings by Greg Wood, from Otomys Gallery; Renee Mitchell perspex bunnies and Tracey Lamb sculptures, from Madam Hunter gallery

Designed by: Rob Nerlich & Kate McMahon, McMahon and Nerlich

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Shannon McGrath

14 Aug, 2022

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