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High-spec with small footprint

March 10, 2014

West Australian – New Homes Guide – Edition March 8-9, 2014.

Some people might shy away from building on a 250sqm infill block. But the owners of this North Perth site used it to their advantage, creating a low-maintenance, apartment style house with a luxury feel and no feature overlooked. The two storey house is owned by Switch Homes contracts manager Anthony Scurria. It was designed and built as a collaborative effort between Mr Scurria and X-Space Architects’ Orlando Catenacci.

Designed for Mr Scurria and his fiancee, the home was custom-designed for the 13m-frontage site and has 245sqm of living space. Mr Catenacci said they had invested a lot in the finishes to create a high-spec home. “We thought long and hard about material selection, with the aim of making the house a lock-up-and leave that was very low maintenance,” he said. Another idea behind the home’s design was to give a feel of space and openness and make the most of the natural light.

“When working with such a small site, the primary design objective was to create a home that didn’t look or feel small,” Mr Catenacci said. “The trickery and placement of different openings, the material palette, voids and varying ceiling heights enabled the overall experience of the different living spaces to feel generous in size and flexible.”

Neutral colours and features including a Colorbomd Spandek and a sunscreen, give the elevation an eye-catching look, with its gables designed to tie in with the roof lines of character homes in the older suburb. To the right of the double garage are the entry and first alfresco entertaining area, a fenced courtyard garden with composite decking, two built-in bench seats and low-maintenance hedges.

To save space and give a good first impression, the entry door opens directly to the open-plan living, kitchen, and dining area with void above the living area to give a huge sense of volume. Mr Scurria said the floor tiles in two different shades were chosen to give the visual effect of an entry without eating up precious floor space. “Using two different kinds of tile and laying them differently creates a passageway in the open-plan living,” he said.

At the rear another set of bi-fold doors opens to a second alfresco entertaining area and private courtyard. The layout of the living area allows for cross ventilation through the home by opening bi-fold doors. Mr Scurria said they chose a pared-back palette of neutral tones with materials echoing through both floors to give continuity. Features include white stone benchtops, Tasmanian oak timber veneer and a graphite concrete block feature wall to the elevation. Even the side garden has been paved and landscaped with care.

On the upper floor are a second living space and light-filled gallery that overlooks the void, Mr Scurria’s favourite feature. On this floor are three bedrooms, the two minor rooms with built-in-robes, a family bathroom and the main suite, a spacious room with walk in robe and ensuite. The main suite has two windows with views across the neighbourhood. Mr Scurria said the floor plan and flexibility of the living spaces and bedrooms, with the ground floor bedroom currently used as a study, meant the house had good versatility.

“It’s a perfect home for professional people, downsizers, small families and those who want a lock-up-and-leave and a great entertainer that is close to the city,” he said. “It’s a modern house but with an apartment look with a funky edge,” he said. “We love to push back the bi-fold doors so the entertaining can flow inside and out.” Mr Scurria said the simplicity and pared-back style and modern feel of the home had received many compliments from family and friends.

An advantage of building on a smaller site was that the build did not cost as much as that of a house with a larger footprint, so these funds could be used instead to finish off the home.

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