Long narrow site suits owners' request for privacy in their new home

Garage with glazed back wall screens this West Coast contemporary from the street but at the rear it opens up to a landscaped yard and protected forest views

In contrast to the front of this house, architecture, backyard, cottage, elevation, estate, facade, home, house, property, real estate, residential area, roof, green
In contrast to the front of this house, the rear fully opens up to connect to the simply landscaped garden, a spa and a firepit. The upper floor appears as a floating volume, with its Nordic Brown copper roof wrapping round to form the balcony off the master bedroom and continuing to form the roof of the ground floor.

Designing a home to fit on a long narrow site can present its own challenges. But for the property featured here, the 70x17m shape of the site suited the owners' requirement for privacy helped also by the presence of forest reserve on two of the boundaries.

Designed by architect Brad Lamoureux, little of the house is revealed from the street due to the positioning of the garage.

"The garage sits about 4.5m in front of the house, separated from it by a reflection pond, and surrounded by lush planting to soften the architectural concrete used on the two buildings," says Lamoureux.

"If the garage was attached, we would have had to include it in the total allowable area for the home."

But this is no stock standard garage blocking the view.

Its back wall is fully glazed, while the doors at the front are substantial, 15cm pivot doors clad in western red cedar. The glazed wall means that the owners' high spec sports cars are always on display from the house and, with the doors pivoted open, there's a clear view through to the street if wanted.

There's space for more vehicle storage in the house's man cave basement. This is large enough to contain one owner's collection of hobby cars, motorcycles and vintage racing bicycles, as well a lounge, bar, wine cellar and a washroom.

Lamoureux says that when it came to the style of the home, the owners wanted West Coast contemporary.

The main floor in this home is divided architecture, ceiling, countertop, house, interior design, kitchen, room, brown, white
The main floor in this home is divided in half longitudinally by a concrete wall that forms the main circulation path through the home. In this shot, the wall is seen to the left extending, from the front entrance to the kitchen. The opening in the wall leads into a music/study room.

"That dictated materials such as timber and glass, with counterpoints of stone or concrete," he says. "The form is very planar, with flat roofs and clean, open interior spaces that have strong inside-outside connections."

His design places the main living spaces on the ground floor, with a strong floating volume above that houses the master and a guest suite.

"An architectural concrete wall divides the main floor in half longitudinally and establishes the primary circulation path from the front door through the home," the architect says.

The large open kitchen provides ample space for the owners and for entertaining.

"The kitchen is in clear readable geometries. It's anchored at one end by a bank of stainless steel appliances and panels, while a walnut ceiling panel replicates the grid of the stone island top beneath it."

Living and dining spaces are positioned to the south for maximum privacy and to make the most of the forest outlook.

Within these living areas, the stairs create a strong focal point.

"The steel stringer system and slab stone treads have a floating effect. So the stairs actively engage the space rather than being discreetly placed in it."

Although these interiors present as one large open interior design, living room, loft, black, gray
Although these interiors present as one large open plan area, there are subtle demarcations. The living area is two steps lower than the dining and kitchen areas, while the kitchen area is highlighted by a walnut ceiling panel that mirrors the shape of the island beneath it.

At the back of the house, the dining and living areas overlook a landscaped rear yard containing a custom built spa and firepit, set against the forest backdrop

The connection between inside and outside is enhanced by the use of some exterior materials on the interior as well.

For example, as well as concrete on the spine wall, Nordic Brown Copper panels from the exterior are also found at stair top height in the interiors. These panels have already been through an oxidation process so will only marginally verdigris over time.

Lamoureux says that what's pleasing for him about the design outcome for this house is the simplicity of the architectural concept and the clarity of the massing.

"Its success also comes from the owners' willingness to buy into the detail needed to make it something special.

"We were able to use high quality materials and then focus on how to bring them together in a seamless, integrated way."

Credit list

Brad Lamoureux Architect
Landscape design
Paul Sangha
Structural engineer
CA Boom Engineering
Doors and windows
Errebiluce, Buzzi & Buzzi, Eurofase, Dasal, Transilite Sonoma, Traddel, Distra
Minotti and custom by Mitchell Freedland Design
Sun Projects
Kitchen design
Mitchell Freedland Design
Benchtop and splashback
Pental in Cascade White
Bathroom vanity
Polished calacatta slab from Ican
Faucets and shower fittings
Toilet and bidet
Interior design
Mitchell Freedland Design
Ican Contracting
Western Red cedar and fir by JSV Millwork; Nordic Brown Copper panels, concrete, stucco
Limestone, wenge, slab from Ican
Armstrong, Viking Technologies
Home theatre
MFD, Samsung, Bose
Aloha Pools
Cabinet company
JSV Architectural
Kitchen sink
Oven and cooktop
Speed oven and dishwasher
Bathroom walls
Limestone Wenge, calacatta slab

Story by: Paul Taylor

Photography by: Ema Peter and Joe Lee

09 Sep, 2016

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