The family are not new to the area, having grown up in the same street situated on a narrow spit of land projecting into the bay. As well as allowing direct water access, the new house acknowledges the developing independence of the two teenage children by providing independent spaces with their own ensuites, balconies and a separate entry.
The single-level, four-bedroom home is set on a small, irregularly-shaped block subject to the reduced setbacks of the previous dwelling. An existing boatshed and refurbished jetty were integrated into the new design. From the street, the house is private yet approachable, but once inside it opens up with to-die-for water views across extensive decking and along a private jetty.
The main structure is predominantly timber framing clad in plywood and complemented with elements of rendered concrete masonry.The 200-series grey concrete blocks, workhorses of the building industry, are economical and add to the building’s thermal mass.This mass combines with careful siting, ventilation and insulation to form the four pillars of a sustainable, low-energy home.
The design embraces a wide palette of premium materials and textures.Timber floors sit easily with feature walls clad in split-face natural stone tiles directly imported by the owner from Bali and adhesive fixed to blockwork walling.
Austral Masonry’s GB Stone masonry blocks laid in a stack bond also features in a number of internal and external locations.These premium-quality masonry units are characterised by their honed edges and fine surface finish, a result of the high percentage of sand used in their manufacture. “The stack bonding looks a little more contemporary than a stretcher bond,” says architect Paul Braithwaite. “And its modularity in keeping with the design of the house.”
Their most striking application of the Artique Designer Masonry is on the outside of the north-facing wall flanking a lap pool. The Pewter coloured blockwork finishes just above the waterline. Opposite is a freestanding wall constructed in conventional core-filled blockwork and clad on the inner face with small, square natural stone tiles. The stack-bonded Artique blockwork continues further along the northern elevation and briefly on the front elevation, as well as in a small feature panel in the front courtyard wall. In the house, its use is limited to a feature wall backing onto the boatshed.
The distinctive triple-skillion roof form allows natural light to penetrate the interior through a central void. High- and low-level louvre windows open to capture prevailing breezes, enhancing cross-ventilation. Broad overhangs also block the worst of the summer sun while allowing the lower winter sun to penetrate and warm the interior.
The decor reflects the owner’s strong connection to Bali and its culture, not just in decor but in the way the interior and exterior merge, spilling out onto the decking and into the playground beyond.
This may be a simple design solution, in Paul Braitwaite’s words, but careful detailing, articulation and selection of premium materials have combined to create a contemporary house with a distinctively individual character.
- Standard concrete masonry units are the workhorse of the building industry, acknowledged by architects, specifiers, builders, engineers and blocklayers for their strength, durability and cost-effectiveness in a wide range of applications.
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