My Ideal House

Come on in! This land­mark home project by Aus­tralian House & Gar­den and Mir­vac is fin­ished, fur­nished and look­ing fab­u­lous.

Australian House & Garden - - CONTENTS - STORY Sarah Pick­ette STYLING Kate Nixon & Kayla Gex PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Maree Homer & Nic Gos­sage

The big re­veal!

Any­one who’s ever built a house knows the flood of joy and re­lief that hits when you fi­nally put your key in the door and walk into your brand-new, com­pletely fin­ished home. Here at Aus­tralian House & Gar­den, we’re rid­ing that wave of ela­tion right now, and it’s with great ex­cite­ment and pride that we open the doors and wel­come you in to take a good look at My Ideal House.

From the street, the tim­ber-and-white ex­te­rior of this home is im­me­di­ately dis­tinc­tive among its neigh­bours in the Syd­ney sub­urb of Gledswood Hills. With its beau­ti­ful win­dow­boxes now brim­ming with fo­liage, herbs planted be­tween the step­pers in the front gar­den and a lush ex­panse of turfed drive­way, it’s in­stantly friendly and invit­ing. This, it quickly be­comes clear, is a house where ev­ery de­tail has been con­sid­ered.

Syd­ney ar­chi­tect Madeleine Blanch­field won the My Ideal House de­sign com­pe­ti­tion run by H&G and Mir­vac with her plan for this home, which is com­prised of two mod­ules: a dou­ble-storey sleep­ing zone at the front and a sin­gle-level liv­ing area at the rear. The bril­liant thing about Madeleine’s de­sign is that the mod­ules can be ad­justed to suit the ori­en­ta­tion of any block, en­sur­ing a north-fac­ing as­pect is al­ways achieved.

The tim­ber front door opens to re­veal an ex­pan­sive view through the home. To the right of the en­try is the mul­tipur­pose room, a gen­er­ous space de­signed to be used any way the own­ers might wish. Its chief draw­card is, with­out ques­tion, the invit­ing tim­ber win­dow seat that vis­ually con­nects to the front gar­den.

Wide en­gi­neered-oak floor­boards, which ex­tend to the bed­rooms up­stairs, im­bue the home with warmth.

When you reach the liv­ing ar­eas, the floor­ing switches to an un­der­stated con­crete-look tile, but tim­ber is again utilised – this time on the ceil­ing. The re­sult is a beau­ti­fully warm and tex­tu­ral ad­di­tion to the large open-plan space. De­signed to take the form of an airy ‘glass pav­il­ion’, the liv­ing zone de­liv­ers Madeleine’s vi­sion for a seam­less in­door-out­door con­nec­tion.

This area is de­fined by its deep char­coal walls (Taub­mans Knight Grey), sink-into-me sofa and re­laxed leather arm­chairs. The fur­ni­ture is po­si­tioned around the fire, cre­at­ing a cosy spot to sit and read or en­joy a cuppa look­ing out to the gar­den. The ad­ja­cent din­ing zone is de­mar­cated by a strik­ing wo­ven pen­dant light.

Star billing in the open-plan space is, how­ever, re­served for the in­te­grated kitchen. The gen­er­ous is­land bench, wrapped in a mar­ble-look stone com­pos­ite, is the one el­e­ment of the kitchen Madeleine in­tended to stand out – the rest of the join­ery is de­lib­er­ately de­signed to blend in with the ar­chi­tec­ture. Neat V-groove cab­i­netry opens to re­veal ev­ery­thing you’d ex­pect to find in a well-equipped fam­ily kitchen, from a top-of-the-range dish­washer to a combi oven, french-door fridge and cof­fee ma­chine. And be­cause the cup­boards ex­tend from floor to ceil­ing, there’s plenty of space to stash ev­ery­thing away. The kitchen is po­si­tioned at the far end of the liv­ing pav­il­ion so it re­lates to the al­fresco din­ing area and gar­den.

One of the dis­tin­guish­ing as­pects of My Ideal House is the rel­a­tively com­pact floor area of 289m2, which al­lows it to buck the ‘build to the bound­ary’ trend and give back space for lawn, trees and shrubs on its 416m2 lot. The gar­den was al­ways go­ing to play an im­por­tant role in the strong aes­thetic of My Ideal Home.

Land­scape de­signer Richard Unsworth has cre­ated a gar­den for all sea­sons and in­cluded a low brick wall that ex­tends the width of the prop­erty. A strong hor­i­zon­tal form, it sup­ports the home’s spirit of flex­i­bil­ity: the wall pro­vides ex­tra seat­ing in the al­fresco zone when en­ter­tain­ing, and is the per­fect spot to perch and read the pa­per while wig­gling your toes in the lawn.

One of the key suc­cesses of My Ideal House is the rigour in its plan­ning. Ev­ery cen­time­tre of Madeleine’s lay­out has been thought­fully utilised, with cor­ri­dors and walk­ways(“deadspace”)kept­toamin­i­mum.Thebed­rooms, with large cedar-framed win­dows, feel es­pe­cially light and airy. The gor­geous en­suite off the main bed­room is clev­erly zoned so only the tim­ber-topped van­ity is vis­i­ble from the bed­room when its dou­ble doors are open. The show­ers and toi­let are po­si­tioned to one side of the van­ity and the walk-in robe on the other. The fam­ily bath­room also ben­e­fits from care­ful plan­ning: a stun­ning free­stand­ing bath is vis­i­ble from the door, faced by an el­e­gant round basin sit­ting on a tim­ber-topped van­ity. Oval mir­rors keep the story or­ganic, and the shower and toi­let are neatly con­cealed from view. In fact, many of My Ideal House’s best as­sets are hid­den from sight. Take the charg­ing sta­tion clev­erly in­te­grated into the kitchen cab­i­nets, for example. Or the high-per­for­mance glass that makes air­con­di­tion­ing un­nec­es­sary, the ther­mally ef­fi­cient Hebel pan­els used to cre­ate the build­ing’s en­ve­lope, and the so­lar pan­els hid­den away on the flat roof that feed the Tesla bat­tery in the dou­ble garage.

What you see is a beau­ti­fully de­tailed home that’s adapt­able, warm and com­fort­able. But it’s so much more than that. My Ideal House is the re­al­i­sa­tion of H&G’s quest to cre­ate a new blueprint for the sub­ur­ban Aus­tralian home. Thanks for com­ing along on the jour­ney.

‘EACH OF THE BED­ROOMS IN MY IDEAL HOUSE IS GEN­ER­OUS AND BRIGHT. TIM­BER AC­CENTS EN­SURE THEY AL­WAYS FEEL WARM AND WEL­COM­ING .’

Madeleine Blanch­field, ar­chi­tect

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