In this modernist marvel, even the pool has a view
western Australia Mewstone Crescent, North Coogee $2m+
Award-winning Perth architect Blane Brackenridge was presented with a challenge: design a cutting-edge house on the city’s southern beaches that was also a functional, warm family home. Include an elevated swimming pool, and capture views of the coast. And do it all on a 260sqm block.
The result, completed in 2009, is a striking modernist property with 438sqm of internal living space over three levels. A solid concrete construction with steel frame, the North Coogee house employs Brackenridge’s signature clean lines, the stark angles offset by the owners’ clever use of textures in the interior furniture and fittings.
Rob and Adri-Ann Brown, who moved from South Africa to Australia in 2005 with their daughter Camdyn, first saw Brackenridge’s work when they lived in nearby North Fremantle, where in 2006 a house designed by the architect won a coveted Royal Australian Institute of Architects award. They were attracted by the industrial styling and unusual curved concrete roof, which reminded them of the work of renowned architect Stefan Atoni in their home country.
The brief to Brackenridge was for “something that was unique, that would take advantage of the views and we also wanted a pool on the first level”, says Rob, admitting that the size of their block at North Coogee, 350m from South Beach and 1km from Fremantle Yacht Club, was “a bit of a challenge”.
The architect’s solution was to spread the floorspace over three levels, giving the occupants an unparalleled view of the yacht club in one direction and Garden Island in the other. The 2.2m-deep, 80,000-litre solar-heated pool is incorporated into the first floor. Accessible from a second living area, it has underwater windows that deliver a serene watery hue into the ground floor rooms below.
There are four bedrooms, including the top-floor master bedroom, designed as a private retreat, and three bathrooms. Also on the top level is the open-plan kitchen, living and dining space, which doubles as a teppanyaki barbecue. On the ground floor is guest accommodation, garage parking, a wine cellar and storage.
Design features include curved polished concrete walls, whitewashed brick finish or timber feature walls, reinforced frosted glass stairs, LED lighting and two walls of glass. “There are very clean lines in the house,” says Rob, but “it’s still very warm inside compared to a lot of minimalist modern places.”
Adri-Ann, an interior designer who owns a North Fremantlebased interior design store, can take credit on that front. Her background has informed her love of earthy colours, interesting textures and authentic crafts and textiles, which soften and add interest to the light-filled spaces.
The Browns take immense pride in their creation, particularly when it stops passersby in their tracks. “The builders suggested I set up a toll gate and collect $1 for every photo that was taken of the house,” Rob laughs. “I think it would have paid for most of the build costs.”