Belle - - Con­tents - Pho­to­graphs DEREK SWAL­WELL Words CARLI PHILIPS

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 and work­

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’ lighttting. 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.

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