The clients came to our office with the intention of moving into property development. We found common ground in the fact that they were focused on presenting projects with high design content that support a different visual approach. In the early design phase, we were looking to create an open, interactive street presence, which led to a very different design response. The actual front façade was inspired by the study of '60s and early '70s stereo cabinets, with the slatted timber concealing the speaker elements; in this case, the timber slats accommodate the covered entry and private en suite window. The house sits lightly balanced on angled steel posts—again, reminiscent of the stereo cabinet legs—which affords the house the appearance of floating across the land.
The project fits well in its forested environment. Silvertop ash was chosen for the cladding because it will eventually fade to gray and blend completely into the backdrop. Looking from the north, the timber is still evident only on the third story, as from this vantage point, we wanted the upper level to look like a tree house. ExoTec Façade Panel System was the other main material, chosen because it offers a refreshing contrast to the timber. The cut-out element of the living area window directs the line of sight down to the pool, babecue area, and backyard space, protecting privacy.
The interior begins with a flat veneer wall; its intention is to create the feeling of being at the base of a huge tree. Practically, it houses the coat room, powder room, cellar, and integrated kitchen. This is achieved through the use of hidden doors that, when opened, offer an unexpected surprise. This house is open, yet private, and the timber feature wall on the interior invites a journey of discovery.
The cantilevered box on the street façade houses the day bed and library, which interacts with the study space. The study has a glass splashback wall, chosen for its ability to reflect the outer landscape. A dumbwaiter is included that travels up from the garage into the scullery that resides behind one of the four integrated doors in the kitchen area. Classic Calcutta marble has been used in the bathrooms, while the kitchen has Caesar stone bench tops and a preparation cube at the end of the main island bench.