A dog walk was the catalyst for Nathaniel Clarke and Pamela Medlen’s move to the fringe suburb of Bayswater in Perth. Wanting to escape their increasingly busy neighbourhood, they used their daily dog walk as a sourcing mission to find the perfect place to live. It wasn’t long before they found a spot that ticked all the boxes.
‘We were away on holidays during the home open’ recalls Pamela. ‘I rang the agent and begged them not to sell until we had a chance to come and view it. When we did, we immediately snapped it up. It’s such a lovely, quiet street, so close to the train and the village and we have the most lovely neighbours. It was definitely worth moving’.
The home was a boxy three-bedroom and one-bathroom house built in the 1960s, while the block was a slope of sand, weeds, olive trees and some struggling shrubs and grass. Pamela and Nathaniel wasted no time calling in the experts.
They enlisted Perth based architecture firm The Colour Royale to design an extension, and Bacic Group to build it. Clever design tweaks and material selections were necessary to fulfil the brief on budget – such as swapping exposed aggregate for burnished concrete, and using Bacic’s own insulated concrete walling solution, bWall. Essentially, the house is a concrete rectangle with energy efficient refrigerator panels (Bondor) within it.
‘We actually struggled to find a builder… lots of Perth builders took one look at our sloping block and the retaining walls it would need and wouldn’t even give us a quote!’ Pamela recalls. ‘We were close to giving up, then stumbled across Bacic Group. Their website had some magic words: “We are experts at concrete construction and dream about blocks that other builders are too scared to touch.” They took a look and said it would be no trouble at all!’ tells Pamela.
Architect Aaron King from The Colour Royale dropped the garage, and built the extension over the top. This meant the addition became a self-contained one-bedroom contemporary home, with the original structure now a self-contained as a guest house with Airbnb potential.
The hard edges of this contemporary structure have been softened with the addition of distinctive furniture pieces, soft furnishings and artwork. The space also showcases Pamela and Nathaniel’s love of mid-century lines, pop art, indoor plants and everything Tiki! A retro buffet holds pride of place in the entrance (a gift from Pamela’s parents), and an eclectic mix of old and new gives a cosy, personal feel to the main living area.
‘The whole design is set up for two things: relaxing – in the ensuite bathtub and on the deck; and entertaining’ Pamela admits. ‘We’ve been doing both a fair bit!’