When Rob Malter set about developing and building the Caulfield South townhouses, his focus was on quality in building and design, continuity and creating light-filled spaces and something that ages well. And, with architect Maurie Novak by his side, Rob knew he’d realise this and more.
Because if you know anything about Rob or Maurie, you’d know they make a formidable team. Masters of their crafts who think outside the square, never accept second best and know that persistence pays dividends.
And the results you see here speak for themselves.
What began as the site of Rob’s childhood home has been thoughtfully and creatively transformed into two spacious, light-filled four bedroom, four bathroom townhouses, one of them in which his parents will enjoy retirement. Both equipped with every luxury any downsizer would wish for–including an internal lift–and with minimal maintenance.
The townhouses’ striking contemporary palette–of Petersen D91 bricks, American Oak timber and polished concrete render–exudes quality, inside and out.
Petersen bricks were a firm choice from the outset. Rob is a big fan, having used them on his previous development in Orrong Crescent three years ago, “People still call me about the bricks and I love the fact that both young and older generations love them,” says Rob.
“The brickwork looks fantastic it’s definitely one of the highlights of the build. It’s the whole combination of the Petersen brick that I like – the different colour tones and how they work well together, and when the mortar is raked it looks so neat, and the imperfections of the bricks give them character. They’ll date exceptionally well, too, so we’ll end up with one of those homes that looks even better through time,” continues Rob.
From the front façade, the bricks continue inside where a feature wall makes its way from the living room to the rear deck. “It’s important to have continuity throughout, and it’s nice to tie the internal to the external, so when you slide the rear doors open, it blurs the boundaries between the inside and outside,” explains Maurie Novak, Director, Maurie Novak Architecture.
Dark stained American Oak is a vibrant contrast to the grey-toned bricks, used extensively from the front façade and door, to the internal flooring, door frames and joinery elements. Likewise bluestone tiles welcome you at the door, and are used again in the backyard and internal courtyard.
While brick choice was a no-brainer from the beginning, the timber and render were added as the building progressed. Maurie explains, “The good thing about working in this way with Rob was that we didn’t decide on any other element than the bricks two years ago. We decided on the bricks and then tried a few options. We had tiles at one point, but ended up with concrete render on the first floor up against the bricks … It’s one thing to do drawings and 3D images but when you can actually see the results, and test the results on the building it’s a lot better. Rob went to great lengths, and it paid off in the end. He got it right.”
One of the most creative features in this development is the internal courtyard, which welcomes light into both floors of the house. The steel framed, full height glazing was a particularly challenging jigsaw puzzle to build, given its multiple angles and outward tilting windows. But, from a practical point of view, it’s a clear winner. It breaks the house into two halves on the ground and first floor, and creates a full garden in the centre of the house that’s also a highly functional space – there’s room for a table and a sliding door from the kitchen opens right out onto it. As Rob says, “Maurie is clever, creative and very good with space.” He’s created a beautiful green sanctuary.
With such a quality, contemporary build, there’s no doubt that Rob’s parents will be more than comfortable for many years to come in Caulfield South, as will their lucky neighbours. As for Rob and Maurie, we can’t wait to see the next project delivered by this inspiring team.
Developer and Builder: Urban Empire Construction
Architect: Maurie Novak Architecture
Product: Petersen D91 bricks
Bricklayer: Adrian Venditti, A&R Brick and Block
Photographer: Shannon McGrath