A contemporary farmhouse, on an inner city site with a distinct rural feel, framed at every available angle by a lush garden. The Garden House is a thoughtful design by Chamberlain Architects that openly celebrates the tranquillity and softness of a much-loved garden, creating a quiet sanctuary for its retired owners to retreat from urban noise.
Three extruded gable roof forms create a strong presence from the both the street-front and rear walking trail, exaggerating the site’s rural feel, and each connecting to a different space in the house – one to the living room (the central point), one to the bedroom wing and one to the indoor pool. Ella Leoncio, Principal, Chamberlain Architects, explains, “With the garden being really central to how you experience the house, we wanted to tap into a farmhouse feel, which is why we gravitated to that gable roof form. And the way we arranged that around the site was to try and maximise the connection to the garden.”
From a practical point of view, what Chamberlain Architects has achieved is a beautiful balance between accessibility – for owners wanting as many living spaces and rooms as possible on the ground floor – and maximising the garden connection by creating as many framed views of it from each room. “We thought a lot of how you walk through the house, and the different framed views you get of the garden, and how we can capture as much of that as possible,” Ella continues.
Seamless integration with the existing residential streetscape and the desire for calm drove material choice. “We wanted something that was going to be quite calm and soft. As a practice we like materials with that sort of texture and warmth, but also still quite simple. And we always knew we wanted it to be bricks, so it had that traditional house feel,” Ella comments. After comparing three or four different options, choosing the right brick was relatively simple. “The Petersen D72 brick was so different to everything else that was out there in terms of the handmade look and the beautiful variation in the texture and colour; that light pinkish colour – there wasn’t anything on the market like it. The mix of colours is really unique, there’s something really special about it.”
Ella and her team spent considerable time on site with the bricks, with the help of Jason Keeble of EcoLogique Developments, in conjunction with Red Earth Developments, refining the mortar. “The mortar and even the time of day made big difference to the colour; it looked different every time we visited the site, which is nice. We liked the fact that it was almost like a living thing that kept changing with the seasons and the time of day,” Ella remarks. Investing this time on site really reaped rewards, making a big difference to the final colour of the bricks. They were an important part of the design outcome, and an aspect of the Garden House that Ella says people always comment on.
True to its name, the Garden House really is a joyous celebration of the garden, connecting it to every space within the home and creating a truly calm retreat that will serve its owners well, for many years to come.
Architect: Chamberlain Architects, 1B Stanley Street, Collingwood, Victoria,
+61 3 8414 4300
Product: Petersen D72 bricks
Builder: EcoLogique Developments