A new build is just what the owner ordered – thanks to a successful working relationship with the architect.
A good working relationship between architect and builder prompted a collaboration on a personal project.
This page ‘Fifty’ chair from Domo o ers a spot to relax. Living Divani sofa. Ligne Roset occasional table from Domo. Opposite page Steel sculpture in the front garden is from Lump Studio.
Over the past seven years Bear Agushi of Agushi building and construction and architect John Bornas of Workroom have collaborated on other people’s houses. So when Bear had to choose a designer for his own Melbourne home he made a beeline for John. The reason was twofold: their solid working relationship, and John’s South American roots which suited Bear’s penchant for Brazilian architects such as Marcio Kogan and Guilherme Torres. “I showed John pictures of houses that I loved and there was a bit of a pattern. John is from South America and his style is similar [to theirs]. I knew I wanted to use him from the start.” The unof cial brief for the house was developed over four years while Bear and John worked alongside one another on other projects. “We’ve worked together so many times and have such a good rapport that I think I gave him about 20 briefs!” says Bear.
Bear’s must-haves were primarily practical: a north-facing pool, ground-level garage for direct access into the house (via a mudroom) and a master bedroom at the rear of the property where it’s quietest. For easy access to the bedroom it was vital that the stairs be positioned at the back. “This house is not for us to have dinner parties here every weekend, it’s our family home. The people who own and live in this house deserve to have everything convenient for them – and that’s us,” says Bear. In order for the family to remain connected, it was important that the kitchen, dining and living were open plan with direct access to the garden.
John was given considerable design leeway. “Most of Bear’s brief was functional, not so much what the house should look or feel like. The scale, form and materials were teased out to develop into our palette. Everything functional worked around that,” says John.
The core materials of Pietra Grigio marble, smoked oak timber, travertine and off-form concrete were used consistently, inside and out. Travertine in the living area ows outside to line the pool while panelled timber walls in the corridor wrap around through to the kitchen and onto the deck. John says that this “blurring of boundaries results in the perception of a larger, more inclusive space”.
From the entry, right through the house, “the familiarity you get when you walk in is at every level,” says John. “The materials have been used consistently and seamlessly; they don’t surprise. It’s minimal in that we’re using the same things in the right way.”
This is a house whose “dichotomy of raw and re ned materials contrast and complement”, says John. The gloss of travertine is pared back with honey-hued smoked oak, while in the kitchen and utility area, Pietra Grigio marble and Bengal black granite were selected for their depth, colour and textural qualities. Underfoot, the robust ground- oor travertine transitions to a warmer timber staircase leading to the rst- oor bedrooms which are carpeted in soft Mongolian Yak hair from Whitecliffe Imports. “We used the oor nish to delineate certain areas of the house. It’s a careful composition that creates a complementary contrast rather than a jarring one.”
Bear and John agree that the most challenging aspect of the build was the staircase which involved a complicated system of concealed xtures. “There was a particular order in which things had to be installed and there was really only one go at it,” says John. It’s now Bear’s pride and joy, but he says that “as the builder, it was dif cult. Every junction, line and angle had to line up perfectly. The devil was in the detail.”
Bear says that while the outside appears to be an austere white box, “when you come through the door there’s a warmth that’s not only visual but tactile. It’s like stone – quite rough on the outside but when you cut through there’s beautiful veining – it’s a similar concept.”
For more go to agushi.com.au and workroom.com.au.
These pages Living Divani sofa. Ligne Roset ‘Linden’ occasional table from Hub. Poliform ‘Manta’ chairs surround a custom table with stone extension by Zuster. Flos ‘Aim’ lighttting. Ligne Roset ladder. Gubi ‘Branca’ kitchen stools. ‘Fifty’ outdoor chair from Domo. Opposite page The outside of the house appears quite austere, belying the warmth and tactility inside.
“THE MATER IA L S HAVE BEEN US ED CON S ISTENTLY AND S E A MLE S S LY; THE Y DO N’ T SU R PR I S E.” This page Carrara marble table from Meïzai and Magis ‘Piña’ chairs from Cult in the main bedroom. Opposite page, clockwise from top Camerich ‘Lark’ bedside tables from Meïzai. Artwork is Dreaming in Reverse by Rebekah Stuart. Pietra Grigio marble bath surround. Menu bathroom accessories. Custom joinery in smoked oak veneer. Douglas and Bec folding stool.
» Bear Agushi of Agushi building and construction and John Bornas of Workroom collaborated on Bear’s new home in Melbourne, having worked together successfully for several years. » Bear put his trust in John, allowing him a lot of leeway in the design. His only stipulation was for a functional family home with direct access to the garden and an open-plan kitchen, living and dining area and a north-facing pool. » John used a materials palette of concrete, smoked oak, marble and travertine, creating a feeling of simplicity and continuity thoughout.