New home with two-tone cladding and connection to nature

An expansive rear living pavilion and private courtyard connect this contemporary home to its tropical garden environment

Character strengths  the exterior of this house architecture, building, facade, home, house, property, real estate, residential area, sky, teal
Character strengths the exterior of this house by Architecture Smith + Scully contrasts black, battened fibre cement with rich red cedar. The garage door is detailed to not read as a door on approach.

Sometimes ideal locations don't seem quite so perfect when it comes to actually building on them. Negotiating the idiosyncrasies of the land can be a major part of an architect's brief.

The site for this home by Hilary Scully of Architecture Smith + Scully is a case in point.

Nestled into a newly sub-divided suburban plot, the land has a flow path running through the centre of it. The house had to be raised above this to allow water to pass underneath without impediment or causing damage, says Scully.

"We achieved this with a suspended concrete garage floor slab and timber pile construction.

"However, beyond the flow path towards the back of the home we were able to step the floor level down. With the ceiling remaining at the same height, this achieved a higher stud for the large rear living pavilion and created a direct rear deck-to-ground connection."

Elsewhere, connections to the lush gardens were made via raised decks and boardwalks.

Black and tan black fibrous cement meets red architecture, deck, facade, home, house, interior design, real estate, siding, window, wood, wood stain, brown
Black and tan black fibrous cement meets red cedar in this side courtyard of a home that has a strong connection to nature.

As this is an inner-city site with several close neighbours, the sheltered side decks provide private outdoor rooms. The clients had wanted to connect with the tropical garden and enjoy the sun from several areas in relative privacy.

In terms of layout, the home's ground floor has a guest suite and garage at the front and then pinches in at the middle via the two side courtyards. This core area has the wine cellar and laundry. The design opens up to the rear, with large sliders pulling back to connect the large living-kitchen-dining pavilion to the garden.

Upstairs, there are three bedrooms, an ensuite, main bathroom, a private lounge, and a study.

For aesthetics, the owners wanted a sharp, contemporary look. Responding to this, the house has strong, complementary cladding finishes the cool of black fibre cement sheet with vertical battens meets the warmth of red cedar vertical weatherboards.

"Despite its relatively modest size, at 300m², the house feels much larger. This is due to vistas through the interior and long views out to the garden and sea, framed by picture windows."

In addition, having courtyards step in on both sides maximises light flow on the interior.

This main upstairs bathroom has a large-format porcelain architecture, bathroom, home, interior design, property, real estate, room, sink, gray
This main upstairs bathroom has a large-format porcelain tile with the look of marble. The shower and bath area take up the width of the room. The black cabinetry seen here, as with black joinery and wood surfaces through the home, complements the lush outdoor environment. The basin faucets, shower and bath hardware and glass shower stall all contribute to the crisp, modern aesthetic.

"The focus on natural light and multiple external views allows the owners to feel very connected to the natural world," says Scully.

In terms of interior colours, a vibrant red front door greets visitors and they see the same red on the kitchen splashback in the pavilion.

"Generally, the interior is in natural tones with walnut flooring and cabinetry. And there's a feature floating staircase in the same wood. This is accentuated with LED lights rebated on the underside of the treads," says Scully.

Energy efficiency was another design focus for the owners a large gas fireplace has ducts that run beneath the floor, heating the home.

The house is future-proof, too. The ground floor guest suite is designed with extra wide openings to the entry hall and this could be used as a master bedroom further down the line.

Credit list

Interior designer
Kerry McComish
Kitchen manufacturer
Huntly Joinery
Architectural & Metro Series joinery from APL Windowmakers
Designa Tiles
Lighthouse North Shore
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Highly Commended
Landscape designers
Jane Kordina and Alan Gibson
Red cedar vertical weatherboards from Herman Pacific; fibre cement sheet with battens
Main flooring
American Walnut Rustic from Vienna Woods
Rinnai gas external infinity water heater; Escea DX 1500 Fireplace with ducting; Warm-up undertile heating
Danske Mobler

Story by: Charles Moxham

Photography by: Mark Scowen

04 May, 2016

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