House Frances by Those Architects in Freshwater New South Wales is a remarkable suburban home in what architect Simon Addinall describes as an ‘unremarkable location.’ The site is long and rectangular, and the architects responded to the elongated space by avoiding a ‘typical suburban’ design, instead approaching the house as a ‘series of locations’ rather than a series of rooms – in effect, a collection of indoor and outdoor spaces across the 600sqm plan.
This assemblage approach is achieved through a triptych design – a house made up of three distinct parts. Simon explains the property constitutes ‘a central living and dining space bookended by private quarters, one end of residents, the other for guests.’ Importantly all spaces have both visual and physical connections to the courtyard and gardens, which he enthuses ‘creates borderless relationships and strong linkages between inside and out.’
The client requested exteriors that would not require on-going maintenance and upkeep, so robust bricks, concrete, terracotta cladding and limestone paving were selected. A key part of the brief, too, was to create a home that would capture the sun and sea breeze. Simon describes how the combination of a north-facing courtyard and deep concrete shelf allow flooding daylight into the home, while also sheltering from more severe weather.
Making maximum use of a modest suburban site, this house is small in size but big in impact. Simon highlights, ‘we think this project demonstrates you can live well irrespective of the size of the house.’ House Frances demonstrates that luxury lies not in lavish proportions, but in the quality of the design, and the relationships between spaces, from inside to out.