Nat­u­ral Habi­tat

Healthy-liv­ing ideals and eco-friendly prin­ci­ples shaped this beach­side build in Perth.

Australian House & Garden - - CONTENTS - STORY Laura Barry | STYLING Lisa Quinn-Schofield | PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Jody D’Arcy

Perth na­tives Chevonne and David Groom had been liv­ing in Mel­bourne for more than a decade when their plans to start a fam­ily had them look­ing to WA. It was 2007 and, as luck would have it, David was in Perth on a busi­ness trip when a friend who lived in the sought-af­ter sub­urb of Cot­tlesloe called about a nearby prop­erty for sale. “David bought it straight away, with­out me even see­ing it,” says Chevonne. “All I knew is that it was on a large cor­ner block, north-fac­ing and a two-minute walk from the beach.”

The cou­ple rented out the prop­erty while they planned their next move. Chevonne, a natur­opath, and David, a prop­erty de­vel­oper, dreamed of rais­ing their fu­ture chil­dren in a healthy, en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious home. The ex­ist­ing house – a tired 1930s weath­er­board cot­tage – just wasn’t go­ing to cut it, so they de­cided to knock down and build anew. With the help of David’s brother, a com­mer­cial ar­chi­tect, the cou­ple de­signed a two-storey, four-bed­room home with lots of ac­cess to green vis­tas. Con­struc­tion be­gan in June 2014.

On the ground floor are the liv­ing spa­ces, with a study and li­brary lo­cated to the right of the en­trance; on the left are a pow­der room and laun­dry. At the end of the hall is a spa­cious kitchen/din­ing/liv­ing area that opens to a cov­ered bar­be­cue area and pool. On the first floor are all four bed­rooms, a play­room and fam­ily bath­room.

Pas­sive-so­lar prin­ci­ples are cen­tral to the de­sign. Walls of glass along the north­ern as­pect, shaded by ex­ter­nal black­butt screens, draw nat­u­ral light into the core of the home, min­imis­ing the need for ar­ti­fi­cial light­ing. For op­ti­mal ther­mal ef­fi­ciency, an in-floor cool­ing/heat­ing sys­tem has been paired with traver­tine floor­ing and ceil­ing fans in­stalled to cir­cu­late air through the home. The land­scaped gar­dens by DigWA and min­eral-based swim­ming pool also con­trib­ute, cool­ing the air be­fore it en­ters the house. Rooftop so­lar pan­els pro­vide more than 50 per cent of the prop­erty’s elec­tric­ity.

Healthy ma­te­ri­als were also crit­i­cal to the cou­ple’s vi­sion. “We chose fin­ishes that won’t off-gas the harm­ful VOCs of­ten re­leased in new homes,” says Chevonne. “Traver­tine, black­butt and con­crete for the hard sur­faces, and mostly linen and wool for the soft. The beds all have or­ganic-la­tex mat­tresses, too.” All the paint, stains, sealants and ren­ders, inside and out, are rated low- or zero-VOC.

It’s been a long road, but David and Chevonne’s ded­i­ca­tion and per­sis­tence has paid off as they – along with their two chil­dren, Oliver, now five, and Char­lotte, 10 months – en­joy a home they’re in­cred­i­bly proud of. “Our fam­ily’s health is a big pri­or­ity for us and this house ticks all the boxes,” says Chevonne. “Not only is it ar­chi­tec­turally in­ter­est­ing, it’s ab­so­lutely won­der­ful to live in.”

‘We chose fin­ishes that won’t off-gas the harm­ful VOCs of­ten re­leased in new homes.’ Chevonne Groom, owner

LEFT Opt­ing for a hor­i­zon­tal win­dow max­imises nat­u­ral light in the south-fac­ing main bed­room. Kelly Wearstler ‘Hal­cyon’ lamp, The Mon­tauk Light­ing Co. Barn­aby Lane bed­side ta­ble, Cran­more Home. Linen, Bed­tonic. BE­LOW A free­stand­ing com­pos­ite-stone bath from Mi­lano Stone takes cen­trestage in the en­suite. Bocci ‘28.7’ chan­de­lier, Lu­cre­tia Light­ing. ‘Topaz’ tap­ware, Bath­room Ware­house. Cur­tains in West­bury Tex­tiles ‘Mis­tral’ fab­ric. Stool, bath­mat, towel and cush­ions, all Em­pire Home­wares. GlobeWest ‘Vit­to­ria’ loveseat, Roxby Lane. Art­work by Jody D’Arcy.

OP­PO­SITE TOP The kitchen/din­ing zone is a so­cial hub link­ing the in­door and out­door liv­ing ar­eas. David made the Vic­to­rian ash din­ing ta­ble him­self. ‘Spens­ley’ din­ing chairs, Barn­aby Lane. ‘Re­nata’ sus­pen­sion light, Sii Light. Con­crete is­land bench. ‘Jok’ stools, Em­pire Home­wares. Built-in bar­be­cue, Gas­mate.

OP­PO­SITE BOT­TOM Raw traver­tine tiles cre­ate a fea­ture wall. “They are the same tiles as on the floor but un­filled so you can re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the tex­ture,” says Chevonne. The steps are can­tilevered black­butt with a glass-and-steel balustrade.

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