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An Architect’s Self-Designed Butterfly Home!

Architecture

It’s surely every architect’s dream to design a home for themselves… providing the rare opportunity to practice what they preach!

This family home in Melbourne’s Sandringham belongs to Simon Perkins, director at Pleysier Perkins, and was designed over several years in collaboration with his team.

The project saw a modest ‘60s bungalow double in size to suit Simon’s family of five, with a feature butterfly roof in the centre, bridging areas old and new.

31st January, 2020

‘Rather than a street statement, the drama unfolds upon entry where the architecture truly reveals itself. Houses are for living in and looking out of, more than looking at!’ Simon explains. Photo – Michael Kai.

Rigid lines are made satisfyingly asymmetrical by the sloping roof. Photo – Michael Kai.

Black steel and extensive glazing is offset by oak timber joinery. Photo – Michael Kai.

As the outline of the existing home was preserved, the former skillion roof became a butterfly roof. Photo – Michael Kai.

A timber-clad ceiling spans the living, dining and kitchen space. Photo – Michael Kai.

Curved walls and orb lampshades soften the lines of the dining area. Photo – Michael Kai.

Rigorous geometry meets aspects of unexpected whimsy. Photo – Michael Kai.

Sunshine bouncing off the terrazzo floors and oak timber cabinetry brightens the bathroom. Photo – Michael Kai.

Bedroom detail. Photo – Michael Kai.

Oh, the geometry! Photo – Michael Kai.

An oasis of greenery. Photo – Michael Kai.

The property’s mid-century origins are referenced in the uniform use of concrete blocks throughout. Photo – Michael Kai.

The sombre palette of black and charcoal is designed to make the garden greenery pop. Photo – Michael Kai.

Amelia Barnes
Friday 31st January 2020

‘Houses are for living in and looking out of, more than looking at!’ – Simon Perkins.

The Butterfly House in Sandringham is the family home of architect Simon Perkins, director at Pleysier Perkins. With no time or client constraints to adhere to, Simon took his time designing this home, with the input of all his practice’s team members along the way.

The opportunity to essentially design his own home allowed Simon to take some risks, the first being how the house was extended. Simon says while ‘conventional wisdom may have included demolishing the original house and building a much more efficient two-storey structure’, he designed the new addition to essentially mirror the existing house.

The original footprint was largely maintained, but with all the internal walls replaced. Within this newly configured floorplan is now the parents retreat and their daughter’s bedroom. ‘Its black colour is designed to accentuate the greenery of the new garden and vines,’ explains Simon. The new ‘box’ at the rear accommodates the son’s bedrooms, and a games room leading to a poolside deck.

As the outline of the existing home was preserved and essentially mirrored in the extension, the former skillion roof became a butterfly roof, floating over the two built forms. The family areas including the kitchen, meals and lounge are all located under this new timber clad ceiling forming the centrepiece of the house.

Simon’s house continues the Pleysier Perkins tradition of showcasing very little from the street, so as to avoid a double car garage dominating the front facade. Simon explains, ‘Rather than a street statement, the drama unfolds upon entry where the architecture truly reveals itself. Houses are for living in and looking out of, more than looking at!’

Sharp lines, black steel and extensive glazing are offset by soft grey interior walls, oak timber, and the occasional pop of colour. Rigorous geometry meet aspects of unexpected whimsy, such as the bathroom, with coloured grout and a pink basin!

The property’s mid-century origins are referenced in the uniform use of concrete blocks throughout, and the landscape design by Matt Walsham, inspired by a recent trip to Los Angeles and Palm Springs.

By working with the existing house on site, Pleysier Perkins, in collaboration with their builder Kleev Homes, have designed a more creative house. ‘The result is totally unique,’ says Simon. ‘It’s a house that works very well but could never have been imagined from a Tabula rasa (clean slate) site.

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