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This dynamic family home is full of interesting design details

Known as the ‘black barn’, this family home explores the use of contrast and volume. From asymmetric lines to large vaulted spaces, discover how all the design details in this home tell a story

Designed by: Laney LA

From the architects:

This home was inspired by the client’s underwater cinematography and their commitment to build a home that is low-cost without sacrificing creativity.

The idea was to create a low-impact, low-cost, healthy family home that was an alternative approach to suburban housing.


The home is organised around a light-filled double-height interior volume, simulating the effect of an underwater diver experiencing the dark space below and the bright mass above.

The design embraces an extreme degree of contrast between the moody, grounded character of the exterior and the floating, airy quality of the interior.

The design

The identity of the exterior architecture is heavy, grounded, dark, and subtly reflective. The gabled geometries stack and shift to clearly identify the modest, covered entry portal.

Inside, the treatment is an entirely different environment. The double-height volume is flooded with light, highlighting the bright upper mass and more complex living surfaces below.

The floating black volume is defined by its asymmetrical ridge and position of the extruded opening, implying dynamic movement.

The arrangement

The home is organised into two sections, linked on the ground floor by the double-height dining space, and linked on the upper floor by a library bridge.

The front section contains the two children’s bedrooms on the upper level and the film studio on the lower level. The rear section is reserved for the master bedroom, complete with window seat and impressive ensuite. 

The master bedroom

With a crisp white palette and plenty of natural light, the master bedroom has a relaxing ambience. The soaring gable ceiling is interrupted only by a large, operable skylight, which floods the room with light.

In the centre of the room is the wooden-framed bed. The thick timber base adds warmth to the interior and was designed to look like a floating raft above the surface of the floor.

The bed looks directly into the master ensuite, which features the sculptural tub in the centre of the room. The marble floor in the bathroom is made to look like the gentle rippling surface of water, with the exposed edge facing the bedroom.

A large, subtractive reading nook overlooking the backyard defines the rear wall. From the inside, the nook adds a layer of comfort. From the outside, experience of leaning against frameless glass surface allows the homeowner to float above the backyard.

Designed by: Laney LA

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Jess Isaac

16 Aug, 2020

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