Blue rooms

In this mod­ernist marvel, even the pool has a view

The Weekend Australian - Magazine - - LIFE -

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.”

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