As its name suggests, the core of the design of this family house is the connection to the garden, via a series of indoor and outdoor rooms and unexpected views. The main garden is framed by a subtle loggia element with the centrepiece and focal point of all living spaces being the client’s much-loved magnolia, transplanted from another part of the property. The major garden rooms are split into two wings as formal and informal spaces, each with their own outdoor landscaped areas and with the kitchen acting as the fulcrum. The layout is designed to take full advantage of its setting, dissolving the distinction between interior and exterior living, as well as to accommodate the changing needs of the family.
The home sits on a compact suburban site and is open on all sides. As a way of maximising access to northern light and providing privacy from neighbours, the architecture hugs the bent southern boundary, with most solar access on the northern side. Blinds and eaves overhanging in the main rooms protect from the summer sun and allow the openings to maximise sunlight in winter.
By contrast, the east, west, and southern sides are more enclosed to control both solar gain and heat loss. The design facilitates cross ventilation, making air conditioning unnecessary for most of the year. Thermal mass inside the house complements ventilation for excellent all year round environmental performance. Face brickwork is paired with oiled hardwood in sheltered locations, as well as protected steel and oxide-tinted concrete. The restricted material palette favouring integral finishes limits the need for ongoing maintenance. Services, including water storage, is practically organised to the side and rear of the property, out of view.
The interior is enriched by the interplay of spatial and functional characteristics of the more public spaces, including the double-height room with the fireplace, and the more intimate private rooms for family use, such as the upstairs bedrooms, the family room, and a guest apartment. Largely white throughout, natural materials have been incorporated into the interior for warmth and tactility.
From the street, the concept of a house in a garden is immediately apparent – the only built elements visible are the gate and garage. The gardens extend to the edge of the footpath; even the boundary fence is absorbed by planting, maintaining privacy for the residents while, at the same time, presenting an appealing public face.