Lofty heights of for­mer quarry

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Jessica Howard

PERCHED high above Ho­bart but seem­ingly an en­tire world away is an awe- in­spir­ing house that would even make Grand De­signs host Kevin McCloud gush.

Knocklofty House has got it all. Style, grandeur, in­no­va­tion, prac­ti­cal­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity, which is ex­actly why it has been nom­i­nated in the 2013 Tas­ma­nian Ar­chi­tec­ture Awards.

Con­structed by Taswide Build­ing on a bush block back­ing onto Knocklofty Tce which has been in the owner’s fam­ily for 20 years, the site con­tained two aban­doned sand­stone quar­ries.

This unique, and at times diffi cult, site very much dic­tated the de­sign of the Y- shaped house.

“The most im­por­tant thing was pri­vacy and be­ing able to feel like you weren’t in the city but rather part of the bush,” ar­chi­tect Karen Davis said.

“The house strad­dles the two quar­ries and be­comes part of the quarry floor as well as part of the bush be­hind.”

The set­ting is as much a part of the house as the con­crete and spot­ted gum struc­ture it­self.

Nowhere is this more ob­vi­ous than with the nat­u­ral pool be­side the kitchen and in­for­mal liv­ing wing.

“It’s new tech­nol­ogy for Aus­tralia but they’ve been do­ing it in Europe for al­most 30 years,” Karen said. “The owner did heaps of re­search into pools.

“He didn’t want a lap pool and we wanted it to be part of the ac­tual land­scap­ing of the house.

“Most peo­ple have pools that you put a lid on and for­get about for half the year but this is noth­ing like that. It’s filled with fresh wa­ter so it’s more like swim­ming in a lake or pond.”

Trans­formed from a “black and slimey” pond, the pool can be seen from al­most ev­ery room in the house and took six months to com­plete be­fore the con­struc­tion of the house could even get un­der­way.

One of the big­gest chal­lenges of the pro­ject, Karen ad­mits she prob­a­bly wouldn’t re­peat the process.

“Only if some­body begged me,” she laughed.

“But it is very much part of how the house is used and over sum­mer it was fan­tas­tic.”

The dou­ble height en­try to the home sets the grand stan­dard found through­out the rest of the three- bed­room prop­erty which was com­pleted in Novem­ber last year.

Down­stairs is the par­ents’ do­main, with a huge kitchen and din­ing space, in­for­mal and for­mal liv­ing ar­eas, mas­ter bed­room with en­suite and a gym be­side the pool area. Kids rule the top storey, which fea­tures two bed­rooms with win­dow seats over­look­ing the sur­round­ing bush­land. There’s also a bath­room, study and cosy liv­ing area.

A look­out on top of the home, or “the most ex­pen­sive folly in Ho­bart” ac­cord­ing to Karen, has the ap­pear­ance of the bow of a ship and looks down upon the River Der­went.

Pol­ished con­crete floors, ex­ten­sive dou­ble glaz­ing and so­lar power means

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