A tumbledown Californian bungalow occupied the site.
“I didn’t love the house and it faced the wrong way, but I did love the piece of land,” says one owner.
And her partner, a keen surfer, who might have preferred living closer to the sea, agreed.
After shivering through a winter, the couple realised this project was a bigger renovation than they were willing to take on.
They hadn’t built before but now was their chance.
“When I left the country 25 years ago, I had never heard of David Reid Homes,” says the same owner.
But she did some research and was convinced by the aesthetic and the quality of the new-builds she saw.
“I didn’t want a kitset or to buy off plans.
"I wanted some involvement in the design, and I liked the security of working with a company that provided a framework around that and would project-manage the job.”
So the process began to create a family home that had 'light, light, light' with big windows to capture the sun and to bring the sense of suburban greenery indoors.
With three teenagers and their enthusiastic golden retriever, top of mind, she also wanted space and a somewhat bulletproof material palette.
Her brief to David Reid was for a contemporary architectural style: “If I wasn’t going to have an ornate renovated villa, I’d rather go ‘boxy’ and clean-lined so that I could add the character with the Asian furniture and art we’ve collected.”
Demolishers removed the bungalow, salvaging what they could, and the new two-storey 260m² home is sited towards the rear of the section so the living and outdoor areas can face north.
The influence of living in Singapore for several years may not be immediately apparent but, explains the homeowner, black and white houses (colonial bungalows with dark timber beams and whitewashed walls) are now rare but sought after in that country – and this look is reinterpreted here.
The lower level, clad in dark-stained cedar board, looks smart and geometric.
The vertical boards are random width to lend texture to the façade which wraps over the garage and a blade wall that hides the living room from the driveway.
This downstairs zone has the kitchen and dining room too plus a master suite where the same owner finds the walk-in wardrobe a real treat.
To break up the bulk of the form, the upper level is staggered and pushed back towards the rear of the site.
Clad in a concrete-look panel, this floor is painted white and a cantilevered section slices through one corner to hang above the entrance, sheltering it from the elements.
Just beyond the front door, the stairwell is concrete but is softened by a handrail and entrance screen crafted from pieces of matai boards rescued from the old bungalow.
“My dad painstakingly removed them from the floor and then David Reid worked them into the design; they really add warmth.”