Down a long driveway in Merivale, Luci Morris discovers a home of hidden depths and beautiful details. Photography: Charlie Jackson
Finding the ideal place to call home can be a challenge, and for these homeowners the decision to build meant not having to compromise on their wants. “You know when you find what you are looking for, and we just couldn’t find it,” they explain. “So we decided to create it for ourselves.” Seeking a home that was functional, family-friendly and able to change and develop as their young children grew, the couple turned to designers Tobin Smith and Blair Paterson of CoLab Architecture.
“It is incredibly important that you can relate to your designer and we instantly knew they understood what we wanted. Coupled with our builder, Clive Barrington they were a dream team.” For Tobin the synergy in the working relationship is one that made this project particularly special. “The homeowners knew
how they wanted their home to function, both now and into the future, which allowed us to really understand and visualise how they wanted their home to perform; and Clive and his team were execptional at planning – staying one step ahead right throughout.” Describing the finished product as a “generous family home” Tobin and Blair have added their characteristic style to the project, transforming it from a simple structure into something special. “There is beauty to be
found in simplicity,” explains Tobin, a feat perfectly embodied here. From the exterior the form is highlighted through a play on black and white. Of particular note is the use of a metal cladding on the upper level of the home. Emphasising the lines of the home it brings an element of texture and depth, while enhancing the sense that this is something much more than simply a black and white home.
“Classic design is achieved through simplicity and strength of concept,” offers Tobin. “And in this case it was about blending together all the clients’ wishes into a cohesive structure.” Merging the need for a self-contained guest quarter, multiple living areas, open spaces for entertaining and plenty of indoor-outdoor flow; the finished product has surpassed the homeowners’ expectation. “From coming through the front door, to the overall flow and feeling that has been achieved, we love all of it.” “It is classic, with elements of added visual interest,” continues the owner. “There are so many beautiful architectural details which lift it beyond being simple.” One such detail is the use of skylights, which with their lack of frames appear more as holes in the ceiling. A feat highlighted with the narrow slot window, in the formal living area. “The window extends up into a skylight,” explains Tobin. “It offers privacy to the outdoor courtyard, which is connected to the separate guest quarter, while performing in a practical sense to bring natural light into the room.”
With outdoor living and entertaining essential to the brief, a fully integrated contemporary kitchen (with hidden scullery and powder room) designed by Davinia
Sutton offers plenty of space in which to create, while multiple outdoor living areas offer all-day enjoyment of the surrounds. “From courtyard living spaces to more intimate settings the landscaping has been shaped around the internal living spaces and external lines of the home,” explains Tobin.
Recalling the passion and dedication of both CoLab and Clive Barrington Builders, and the finesse of Davinia Sutton and Jane Rennie from Inside-Out Design, the homeowners are quick to credit those involved in helping them translate their vision into a picture-perfect reality. “We really enjoyed the whole process.
There was lots of fun to be had, laughs and wines! There is nothing we would change.”