Private, flexible home for family or empty nesters with great indoor-outdoor flow

Contemporary home with dramatic facade, connections to nature and separation between living areas

Inner landscape  this home by architect Ernie architecture, building, facade, home, house, property, real estate, residential area, black
Inner landscape this home by architect Ernie Lau creates its own outdoor environment of lawn, pool and side courtyard. The bottom-heavy facade brick at ground level, giving way to metal and cedar cladding above is designed to have a sense of anchoring to the land.

The home you buy should be the one you love, but looking to potential resale is also important. A savvy developer takes the long view designing a house that can be used quite differently by different owners.

This house, designed by architectural firm A2 Studio together with developer PHI Group, is a good example. Joycelyne Ghee, of PHI Group, says the home is ideal for family, with upstairs and downstairs living areas and plenty of outdoor space.

"However, it's also suitable for empty nesters who want to live on the one level."

Besides responding to different living options, the home has a range of features to appeal to any owner, says Ernie Lau.

"Built on a corner site, the high-fenced home has an internal focus much like a Japanese courtyard house. The character exterior alternates warm cedar with cool metal cladding creating visual interest."

These materials are complemented by black brick on the lower-level not seen from the street due to the privacy fence.

This master bedroom commands open yet private views architecture, bedroom, ceiling, estate, floor, home, house, interior design, property, real estate, room, window, gray
This master bedroom commands open yet private views of the leafy suburban surroundings. The master suite is through the door on the left. To the right, you can look through into the second lounge and one of the other three bedrooms on this level. External battens and those at the top of the stairway are echoed by the vertical wood battens on the masterbed beadhead. While the floors are wood downstairs, most of the upstairs features a rich yet hard-wearing carpet in a neutral tone. Mirrored drawer fronts on the bedside cabinets add to the bedrooms glam factor.

"The idea was that the brick treatment grounded the home in visual terms, with lighter wood and metal introduced above."

On entering past the tranquil koi pond, guests and owners step into a large open-plan living and entertaining volume that includes dining, kitchen and family areas. Taking a generous bite into this dramatic space, an outdoor courtyard brings light into the heart of the home. With ceiling-height sliding doors on three sides, this sheltered outdoor living space can merge seamlessly with the interior.

There are also large sliders on the front wall of the living area. These connect the interiors to the front yard and the pool deck on this side of the home.

The design efficiently dovetails its lifestyle elements into the tricky fan-shaped corner site in a home that that effectively "turns its back on the street" says Lau.

"The finer points of the interior layout are an exercise in efficient space planning, too," he says. "A large scullery screens clutter from the kitchen while the kitchen is two steps from dining and living areas. The laundry is behind and to one side of the kitchen. The bedroom at this level could be ideal for elderly homeowners who want to live on the ground floor, or for stay-over children or grandchildren. It's set to one side, near the double garage, offering privacy while still being close to the fridge or bathroom."

Upstairs, is a second lounge, with extended leafy views through the void created by the stepped-in courtyard. The cut-in void also provides for a neat separation between the master suite on one side and the bathroom and three more bedrooms on the other.

Indoors blur with outdoors in this living, dining, apartment, architecture, ceiling, estate, floor, home, house, interior design, living room, property, real estate, window, gray
Indoors blur with outdoors in this living, dining, kitchen, family room and courtyard space. The far wall of glazing also opens up to the front lawn and pool deck, with the pool to the left.

"Everything is well connected in this design," says Lau. "In the master suite, for example, a small study is tucked in behind the bedhead late-night inspiration no longer means going downstairs to a distant corner to get to your computer."

Joycelyne Ghee also had a significant part in the home's eclectic interior design, which extends the sense of individuality already seen on the articulated facade.

"Imagine an interior created by a homeowner who is worldly and widely travelled as empty nesters may have been collecting an art piece while in Europe and something else from Asia," says the designer. "Touches include wide-plank wood floors downstairs, accent wallpapers with an exotic feel, a dramatic upstairs line of floor-to-ceiling battens defining the stair, and a copper-hued pendant over the kitchen island. And this sculptural light is just one of the many pops of colour that complement the white and grey decor."

The home also has several sustainable or green strategies, such as cross ventilation.

Credit list

Ernie Lau, A2 Studio
Adonis Constructions
Kitchen manufacturer
Window, door hardware
Knobs and Knockers
European Ceramic, Tile Space, Tile Warehouse
James Dunlop and Seneca Textiles
Murano Lighting, Lighting Direct
Kitchen cabinets
Lacquer gloss finish
3D tiles from Tile Warehouse
Hansa Stella from Franklins
Shower stall, shower fittings, bath
Hansa Stella from Franklins
John Synott
PHI Group
Kitchen design
Hayley Dryland, Bespoke on Khyber
Window, door joinery
Ascot Aluminium, APL Joinery
Cedar from Herman Pacific; metal Cladding from Metalformers, black brick
American White Oak
Albany Heatpumps
Absola, Pietra del Cordosa honed finish
Oven, stove, dishwasher
Vanity cabinetry
Vitro Nuovella
Flooring, wallcoverings
Tiles by European Ceramic

Story by: Charles Moxham

Photography by: Jamie Cobel

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