The house was designed for a family as their first together in Australia having just moved from the UK to embrace the outdoor life of Australia. The house was designed to respond to this change in culture for the family in providing a sense of tradition and permanence while embracing the big blue Australian sky. In embracing the outdoor life the interior of the house brings in the outdoors. The interiors of the house flow in form, structure and materiality from the external building envelope and environs maximizing visual and physical connectivity between internal and external living spaces.
A strong relationship between internal and external areas was sought for the living areas of the house, being the kitchen, meals area and dining room all connected to the central 'hub' of the house being the external terrace. Devices such as the highlight windows allow a constant glimpse to the sky, blurring of internal and external boundaries through external materials inside the house and large openings making visual connections. The stone walls used externally have also been used internally to the south wall of the meals area and the copper soffit lining to the upper terrace runs internally in the bulkhead and ceiling to the kitchen, meals and dining room thereby blurring the internal and external areas.
Timber batten lined ceilings define spaces within the open plan areas, add detail, warmth, unite internal and external materials and conceal acoustic insulation that absorbs reverberant noise amongst the otherwise resilient finishes. A sense of serenity and calm resonates through the house via the walls, ceilings & cabinetwork which are expressed as unadorned interlocking sculptural 'blocks' and 'planes' resulting in a calm understated setting. Light fittings are either recessed to disappear or are suspended to exist independently of adjacent walls or ceilings.
Selecting materials with an intended permanence or long life span was considered as contributing to a sustainable outcome for the life of the building. Stained 'FFC' certified American Oak timber was used for the timber batten ceilings and engineered flooring. The cabinetwork within the kitchen was designed to be 'robust' with cabinetwork doors being 24mm thick. The feature stone walls are from alluvial rock sourced from farm paddocks south of Perth. Each room has multiple options for lighting control with the 'mood' to the main living spaces being that of areas of contrasting 'light and shade'. Free standing task lighting allows occupants an immediate light source without the need to light up the entire room.
The house has been designed with the aim to being 'timeless' and to gracefully age. To this end the building form and the type of finishes were carefully considered. Robust materials such as natural stone, copper and timber have been used for their aged patina and for the texture, detail and interest that they provide. Walls and ceilings are expressed as unadorned interlocking sculptural 'blocks' and 'planes'.
The new house was positioned to respectfully maximize the views to the Swan River thereby financially benefiting the value of the house. Constant visual contact with the river has been provided from every room. Rather than an interior of 'applied' finishes the interiors in this house are 'sculpturally' integrated as part of the building envelope to hopefully remain relevant over time.
The use of steel was pivotal in achieving the underlying core idea of this house, that being the unity of internal and external living areas visual simplicity and openness. The internal areas of the dining room, kitchen and meals area are interfaced with the raised external terrace through two 8m lengths of corner parting electrically operated glass door systems. Cabinetwork is given the feeling of 'substance' with the use of 25mm thick cabinetwork door and drawer fronts. Solid Walnut timber fronts to door and drawers within the kitchen have mitred external corners so that the cabinet appears as a solid block of timber. Timber batten ceilings have been used to conceal acoustic insulation within ceiling spaces.