The development of Polly Bastow and Tony Stuart‘s home is a little unusual, and shows some serious long term commitment to their vision! After designing and building a ‘perfect studio/workshop and office’ in their backyard 18 years ago, the creative couple were faced with a dilemma. How to build a new home on a contained suburban block, without losing their beloved workspace? The solution was all about playing the long game. Over 15 years, the pair seized opportunities to purchase the two neighbouring properties on either side of their home – eventually creating a new home, without having to move. (We warned you in was a long-term plan!)
The new house took Tony two and a half years to build. The bespoke home was ‘designed to fit our lifestyle like a tailored garment fits the body’ he explains. As might be expected from a collaboratoin between a furniture designer and architect, the materiality of the house is inextricably interwoven with the overall design. Tony crafted the doors, windows, stairs and joinery by hand, creating a sense of the home as a ‘large piece of furniture.’
Warm timber, recycled bricks and an avoidance of plasterboard creates a strong aesthetic vocabulary, while also allowing the couple to honour their principles of energy efficiency and passive solar energy. This is both an ethical and financial win, as Tony and Polly describe the thrill of ‘feeling the passive solar design working, and knowing that through good design, power bills can be minimised and our environmental footprint reduced.’
The couple’s passion for sophisticated sustainable design solutions is evident in every room of the house. ‘We designed it knowing where the sun would come in, where the furniture would be, where the arts works would sit and expand into’ they describe. This thoughtful approach has also ensured the provision of reflective spaces and sunny nooks for Sunday activities such as ‘drawing, and listening to music while drinking wine.’ Very important!