Creating a modern, contemporary home that was easy to maintain and would evolve with the owners and their children as they grew was a simple enough request. Add to that the potential size limitations of a narrow semi, that’s hammered by the blustering south-easterly breezes sweeping up the Bronte coastline, and struggling to attract sufficient natural light and warmth. And there it is: the subtle complexity of the design challenge.
But that’s exactly where the team at cm studio rose graciously to that challenge. Creating a design that delivered an easy living home with an abundance of light and warmth, a litany of storage space, and an interesting narrative that changes as you move through the space.
Paramount to material palette choice was aesthetics plus weather resistance, given the coastal location. So, bricks, first and foremost, complemented by steel and concrete were the natural choice. Fortunately for the architects, the homeowners were seeking more of an industrial look, complemented with warm touches. While downstairs greets you with striking bricks and concrete, upstairs transforms into a larger, breezier space with floating, sheer curtains and softer furnishings.
“For us, the bricks were really important; we wanted to make them a real feature and for the owners to enjoy them. Unfortunately in a semi, you only see them from a really acute angle. We didn’t want them to have to look down a narrow passageway to see them. So that’s why we made sure we used the bricks inside as well,” comments Megan Burns, cm studio.
The homeowners gravitated towards the Petersen D91 bricks early on, commenting, “Nothing else came close to the Petersen bricks that would give us the look in terms of the colour and finish. The bricks are a feature for us, like an art wall, and we wanted it exposed so it that it could stand on its own.”
Of course, cm studio has always admired Petersen bricks and was excited to use them on a project for the first time. “What we love about the Petersen bricks is the fact that the colour is baked all the way through, and the artisan quality of them. You can definitely tell that they’re handmade, because they have that real quality to them. And the tone through them is much more organic looking, much softer and more interesting,” adds Megan.
So use them they did, in a variety of different ways throughout the home. As well as on the side passage, they’ve also been used in three mini feature walls in the kitchen/living space, on a striking floating lintel at the back of the house, and on a seat edge/retaining wall around the back garden. Megan continues, “We wanted the owners to enjoy the Petersen bricks in a whole lot of different ways throughout, from indoor to outdoor.”
With every simple requirement met, and more, this is a job remarkably well done by cm architects, and thoroughly enjoyed by an incredibly happy family in Bronte who just “love, love, love the Petersen bricks.”
Architects: cm studio
Product: Petersen D91 bricks
Builder: Alila Group
Photographer: Katherine Lu