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