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Celebrating the joy of the art deco movement with Petersen D72 bricks

Petersen D72 bricks, Merriwee

Merriwee is a modern interpretation of an existing theme. A clever transformation of a simple, yet generous art deco house into a timeless contemporary home for a young family. But perhaps the greatest skill of Templeton Architecture in this exquisite renovation is celebrating the joy of the art deco movement through material, proportion and pattern. And on first glance at this beautiful home, it is these thoughtful details that simply sing.

Because the existing art deco building was stucco accompanied by brick details, the search for the perfect material palette was driven by the need to find the right brick. “We’d made a decision that brick was part of the focus and interest of the building, so we needed to find something that would work harmoniously with the existing brick details and the stucco, yet could be translated in a contemporary manner,” explains Emma Templeton, Director, Templeton Architecture.

Several brick options were considered, but the moment Emma held a Petersen brick in her hand, the search was over. “Once we handled the product we were committed. I had seen them in editorials, but this was the first time I had held one in my hand, and that was the end of it,” Emma recalls.

With the Petersen D72 brick selected, the balance of the material palette quickly fell into place. “We had that softness and tactile, handmade quality of the brick that really talked to the project,” Emma says, and black aluminium window and steel balaustrade details were selected to pick up on the old balconies, and the volumes and proportion of art deco buildings.

In fact, the Petersen D72 brick drove the design concept. “We focused on the decorative possibilities found in brick construction and the concept was driven by the format and the tactical quality of the Petersen D72 bricks,” Emma says.

Emma had seen the brick used in different ways, and realised that they could create a pattern with it, using soldier courses and a stretcher bond, to really make a harmonious link to the history of the property and the site. “While the original appeal was the handmade chalky finish of the bricks, we loved the proportion because it’s lovely to repeat. And we realised we could use repetition and pattern in a subtle way that can still be contemporary,” Emma adds.

As you can see, the brickwork is breathtaking, thanks to immaculate, careful bricklaying. “The setout of the bricks was really tricky to get the mortar precise, so we could get our window heights to line up with the soldier courses, and everything else. And the brickies did an amazing job. They even placed the Petersen stamp in iconic spaces on the walls,” Emma explains. Now that is a beautiful, thoughtful touch.

Merriwee simply personifies true craftsmanship in its spectacular design, quality materials and superb building and bricklaying. What’s more, Emma’s client, a non practising architect, is thrilled with the end result. So that really is high praise for Emma and her team.

Photographer: Ben Hosking

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