Built on a tight site with a compact footprint, this four bedroom, two bathroom contemporary family home in South Yarra feels incredibly light and spacious. Under the meticulous care of the team at ADDARC, rigorous planning and thoughtful design optimise the layout, using materials and spaces to deliver a perfectly proportioned sanctuary, balancing amenity and aspect.
The ground floor is built for relaxation and entertaining, including front formal sitting room, bathroom/powder room, butler’s pantry and laundry, as well as an open plan kitchen, dining and living room that opens onto the rear courtyard, complete with outside kitchen and plunge pool. An upstairs private retreat contains three bedrooms, including master with ensuite and Juliette balcony, as well as a study.
Located directly opposite a pocket park, the design takes full advantage of park views, with both the formal sitting room downstairs and master bedroom upstairs overlooking its lush green setting.
With minimal opportunity for landscaping or internal courtyards on this small site, the architects were tasked with the challenge of attracting light and shadow play in alternate ways:
“We introduced a really long linear skylight to get that light in so it felt really bright, and used textural materials to play up that light,” explains Tamara Dunkley, Director, ADDARC.
The nine-metre long skylight runs the entire length of the open plan living room on the northern side of the house. Combined with a minimalist, neutral palette of tactile materials, it adds drama and shadow play to the room that, on a larger suburban block, would typically be afforded by the landscape.
“The materials complement each other in tone and also offer different textural qualities that change with the passing of the day and light,” Tamara continues.
Pale grey tones of handcrafted Petersen D91 bricks, render, stone and concrete dominate, and are a beautiful contrast to the warmth of the Oak timber flooring and expansive glazing.
The Petersen D91 bricks are applied in two spaces. The first on the chimney breast in the front sitting room and the second, and most prominent, running the entire length of the northern wall in the living room, directly under the skylight. This creates a top lit opportunity to showcase the stunning wall of textured bricks, rather than using a conventional side lit approach. Along with a concrete plinth underneath, shadow play on the brickwork from the northern light is maximised, and utterly sensational.
“The Petersen D91 brick has some beautiful muted grey colours and tones within its variegation and we thought that texturally, it was a beautiful opportunity sitting underneath the skylight to play up the texture and the colour of the backdrop. So it’s a feature wall and a subtle backdrop all at once,” Tamara remarks.
Cantilevered shelves set into the mortar course seemingly float on the wall, a great display piece for family photos or ornaments against the backdrop of textured Petersen bricks, while a freestanding fireplace provides a lovely break in the long wall of bricks.
“The shadow play that comes through that skylight is interesting itself as it filters down on the brickwork and the freestanding fireplace sitting on the wall is a really lovely textural backdrop that we don’t often get as minimal and simple as a gesture, it came up really well,” Tamara concludes.
Floor to ceiling glazing invites the rear courtyard into the living space. This strong connection to the outdoors reinforced by extending the concrete plinth under the living room fireplace to the courtyard space, acting as a stepping stone into its circular, heated plunge pool. A BBQ and table complete the outdoor setting, effectively creating another ‘room’ for the family to enjoy.
South Yarra House is a delightful sanctuary. ADDARC is to be congratulated for providing a light and spacious contemporary home on such a tight, inner-urban site. There’s no surprise that it was recently snapped up at auction – a bitter sweet result for the developer who would have loved to live there a little longer.
Product: Petersen D91 bricks
Images: Courtesy SProjects