Bold and beautiful
This peaceful pad built on an irregularly shaped Mt Nelson block offers panoramic views, light and, most importantly, winter warmth, writes Jarrad Bevan
WHEN designing a home, it’s important to start without any preconceptions, Hobart architect Fred Ward says. Looking closely at the space you are designing for and listening carefully to your client’s needs are equally significant, he says.
Fred’s firm 1+ 2 Architecture designed a Mt Nelson home for Debbie Vogel, Glenn Evans and their son Callum in 2008.
“Their brief was quite conventional, a three- bedroom family home incorporating two separate living zones, outdoor entertaining areas and decks, a two- car carport and a workshop/ studio,” he said.
“They asked for lots of natural light, good passive solar performance and warmth in winter.
“The architecture was to be contemporary and appropriate to the setting.”
The site had been carved off a larger semi- bush block, gently sloping and rocky with orientation towards distant city and river views to the north and Mt Wellington to the west.
“The site is an awkward shape – neighbours’ driveways had a direct effect on the planning of the house,” Fred said.
Being 350m above sea level meant cooler temperatures, winter snow and exposure to cold winds. High- quality insulation was vital. Fred said the plan responded directly to the conditions of the site.
He said the house’s wine- glass form relates to the angular boundary geometry of the Mt Nelson block.
Living rooms were positioned for sun and views, with large openings creating spatial flow between indoor and outdoor living areas.
“The entry has been designed as a deliberately compressed space to accentuate the sense of greater volume when entering the living room,” Fred said. Deliberately small in area, the house is about 200m2. Floor space was traded for well designed- space. Fred said the living room was designed around the needs of his client’s small family.
“The spaces between furniture elements were designed for conversation,” he said.
“The study, just off the living area, borrows space from the hallway and was designed with a visual relationship to the garden in mind.”
The design also focuses on quality in construction. It was built by John Hebblewhite Builders, completed in 2011.
Debbie said they “immediately clicked” with the builder and even though there were some scheduling clashes and unexpected obstacles, he was their first and only choice.
“I looked forward to the fortnightly site meetings with the 1+ 2 guys and John, it felt like a team effort and was great fun,” she said.
“We spent a year on the design process, even Callum had his say on what he would want in his dream house.
“It would be impossible to pick a favourite highlight, but I do love in the cold, crisp, sunny wintertime sitting on a couch in the lounge with a newspaper and coffee, it’s so warm, beautiful and peaceful.”
Fred said, in the end a house is not just a building, “it’s a community event”.
Debbie agreed: “It’s much more than four walls and a roof.”
Throughout the property attention was placed on finer carpentry and masonry detail, carefully crafted joinery and fine details.
Fred described it as “refined, carefully detailed, small and beautiful”.
Externally the house was designed to sit comfortably within its surrounds.
Dark- stained vertical- board cladding has been selected as a durable, eco- friendly material that beautifully complements the bush surrounds.
“We used macrocarpa which is often used for farming wind breaks for its durability and because it is basically a weed as opposed to using forest timber,” Fred said.
“It also lends a beautiful, silky, tactile quality to the exterior. We wanted the exterior to be dark and protective in contrast to the light- filled, warm interior.”