Open to the light

A simple white-on-white colour scheme imparts a clean, spacious feel to an inner-city townhouse nestled inside an expansive courtyard
Story by: Lori Nims
View of open-plan living and dining area with architecture, estate, floor, flooring, house, interior design, living room, property, real estate, table, orange, brown
View of open-plan living and dining area with travertine marble tiled flooring, couches and dining furniture, recessed lighting.

Minimalist design can be used to create a sense of space within a small dwelling. A neutral palette enhances that sense.

Architect Craig Rossetti of Rossetti Architects faced the test of fitting a townhouse onto a tight, sloped infill block. He succeeded by creating a light-filled, one-storey dwelling set within a high-walled marbled courtyard.

"The overall design was primarily about emphasising the space to make it feel as large as possible," Rossetti says. "I worked with height and views to make the rooms appear more spacious."

Rossetti imagined the infill site would be attractive to empty nesters. With this in mind, the bedrooms are separated. Two are set on one side of the house, with a corridor and study between them and the master bedroom.


View of kitchen area featuring CaesarStone benchtops, recessed ceiling, countertop, interior design, kitchen, real estate, room, brown, orange
View of kitchen area featuring CaesarStone benchtops, recessed lighting, appliances, cabinetry, bar stools.

"The idea was to create a space for the children and grandchildren to use without infringing on their parents," Rossetti says. "But the design has appeal for younger people as well."

Both the master bedroom and living area access the courtyard, which contains the view with a high privacy wall. Trees planted around the perimeter will add to the property's seclusion as they grow.

The cement sheeting hides a retaining wall that was needed when part of the site was excavated to keep the house on a single level. A benefit of being tucked into the hillside is that the earth helps insulate the house, saving energy on heating and cooling, Rossetti says.

A small entry leads into the open-plan living area, which combines the lounge, dining room and kitchen. A higher-than-average ceiling 3m instead of the more common 2.4m makes the rooms feel larger. Floor-to-ceiling windows open onto the courtyard, letting in light and air. White travertine marble is used inside and outside to unify the areas and to enhance the sense of space.

View of dining area with dining furniture, travertine chair, furniture, interior design, table, brown, gray, orange
View of dining area with dining furniture, travertine marble tiled flooring, recessed lighting.

In the streamlined kitchen, appliances and the pantry door are tucked behind white melamine to create a smooth, unbroken line. Integrated fingerpulls in the cabinets eliminate the need for additional hardware. The CaesarStone benchtop has a waterfall end, which further contributes to the streamlined effect.

Two skylights admit natural light into the kitchen, while under-cabinet lighting augments other recessed fixtures.

Glazed sliding doors that open onto the courtyard draw light into the master bedroom. In the ensuite, a large mirror reflects natural light, while a clear glass shower screen makes the most of the space. The same technique was used in the main bathroom to make it appear bigger.

Jul 21, 2009

Credit list

Builder
AJ Hoffman Contractors
Cladding
Brick
Benchtop and vanity tops
CaesarStone
Paints
Dulux
Windows
Nu-Line Windows
Drapes
Lincraft
Refrigerator
Fisher & Paykel
Sink
Blanco from Clive Peeters
Bath and basin
Reece
Kitchen manufacturer
Kitchens by Matric
Tiles
National Tiles
Flooring
Travertine marble from CDK Stone
Lighting
Beacon Lighting
Blinds
Cameron's Blinds and Awnings
Oven, cooktop and dishwasher
AEG
Splashback and shower enclosure
Tapware
Kitchen from Arthaus World;
Toilet
Arthaus World
We know the specialists