Facing up to the future
Building a maintenance-free house by the water was a challenging task, writes
The location of the house up for sale was certainly enviable, but the dated red brick looked out of place among other modern two-storey designs on the street. Overlooking the Georges River in Blakehurst in southern Sydney, the home was technically on a site of about 900sq m, but in reality the new owner had access to more than 1000sq m of space because the pool sat on Crown land.
This meant that when Aspire Constructions director Jake Kearns took on the job of replacing the old red brick with a contemporary home worthy of its address, the only thing that stayed put was the pool.
“We flattened the red brick house. The new owner bought with the intention of knocking it down, and it was not something you could really fix, it was in such poor condition. The only good thing about it was the parcel of land it sat on,” says Jake.
“There is quite a bit of Crown land around the property, it’s in a beautiful spot, and thankfully the pool was in a reasonable condition, so the new owners were able to leave it there.
“If we had to build a brand new pool, we would have had to move it further back on to their actual block.”
Designed by architectural firm Collins W Collins, the new home is two storeys at the front and three storeys at the rear where the land slopes towards the river.
The modern masterpiece has four bedrooms on its top level, while the ground level has a mud room, a kitted out cinema room, plus an open-plan living room with a state-of-the-art kitchen (pictured on cover). As impressive as the kitchen is, it hides another full-sized kitchen behind a large timber swinging door.
“You could call it a butler’s pantry, but it’s actually a proper kitchen and every chef’s dream,” says Jake.
No expense has been spared on the property, with the latest sound system and automation products adding $130,000 to the normal electrical package.
The basement is equally impressive, with a laundry, which Jake says is the size of a standard living room, a gymnasium with a bathroom and wine cellar.
On the waterfront
While living by the river certainly has it perks, the practicalities of building a house on a site so close to the water that can withstand the sun and salt air is not so straightforward. Wood rot, rust and damp and are some of the obvious risks, but the homeowner was on the front foot against the elements from the get-go. Jake says his client was intent on using innovative materials to build a waterfront home of the future. Alpolic exterior cladding, an aluminium
The owner chose innovative cladding materials that overcome many of the maintenance issues associated with building by the water.