The House that started it all
The design phase took almost 18 months. We started with a few basic rules:
- No garage door view-able from the street.
- High ceilings and lots of light.
- A back yard that could be accessed from any room in the house.
- Use as many new and innovative products in the build as possible.
- Be as sustainable and energy efficient as possible, while still maintaining beautiful design.
- Lots of personality.
After many, many, many hours of ideas we engaged a draftsman to undertake the process of drawing up the plans. This was an essential step, as they understand and know the building code and can ensure that your plans will meet council laws and comply with the Building Code of Australia, both are essential for a smooth approval process.
The result was a house in four sections,
- Kitchen, dining and lounge.
- 3 bedrooms and main bathroom
- Second lounge, Master bedroom and ensuite
- Garage and laundry.
In total there were 8 internal doors, allowing for each room and section of the house to be separated. This has a number of benefits, firstly the separation of people, which if you have a house full of teenagers can be a good thing. But this also allowed for the separation of heating and cooling. We installed split systems throughout the house rather than ducted heating and cooling. We only needed to heat and cool the rooms we were in rather than the whole house.
The house gave a commanding view from moment one. The final roof height was just on 4 meters from ground. With a slant roof falling away from the front of the house, and striking timber french doors, a total of 8 sets in all through the house the final result was breath taking. We took great care with the final design of the garden. Canberra is a very dry part of Australia, with baking hot sun in summer and well below freezing temperature in winter. We selected local native plants and used rocks from the block along with treated pine sleepers for garden edges.
The driveway was over 30 meters long, so concrete was absolutely out of the question, not only from a financial aspect, but from an environmental point of view. Concrete has a very good thermal mass, which is you want your over 200 square meters of driveway to pump out heat over a hot Canberra summer, concrete would be a great idea.
We love to cook, so the kitchen was a labour of love to design. One thing I didn't want was to stand over my stove with a hot oven underneath I also wanted space where I could make a mess and it wouldn't be always on display. The result was a high walk-in butlers pantry that help pretty much everything and an island bench that was 2.4m x 1.8 meters. It held the sink, a set of dish-drawer dishwashers, 2 ovens one large one small and the 5 burner cook top with drawers underneath. I could just reach from one side to throw something in the sink. The bench top was amazing, a solid piece of iron bark timber, it weighted around 600kg and was breathtaking.
Dining and Lounge
In the end we changed the design of the wardrobe and ensuite so that we could have a separate shower rather than a shower over the bath. The result was something to be seen to be believed. Black gloss tiles from floor to ceiling, which, at its highest point was 3.6 meters, black claw-foot bath, twin basins, in floor grates and a chandelier over the bath, it was our heaven away from the world. Many an evening I would relax back in the bath and watched TV, yes there was even a TV, just in the perfect spot. This bathroom would be at home in any 5 star hotel.
For the main bathroom I wanted a different feeling from the ensuite. A simple relaxing space that was elegant and functional. I started with putting the bath on a step, this allowed the shower to be open no need for a shower screen.
The step, floor and wall around he bath are tiled from floor to ceiling with gorgeous mat cream stones. Floor to ceiling white tiles on the remaining walls and marble look tiles in grey on the floor. This room was a tilers nightmare, but we were very lucky to find a very skilled tiler who did an amazing job with our pretty difficult requirements.
The three bedrooms run down the middle of the house, each 3.6 x 3.6 meters. A conscious decision was made not to build in wardrobes, allowing the buyers to customise the rooms as they needed, bedroom, office, play room. Good design is about provide flexibility as well as functionality.