Architecture

A Low-Tech, Handmade House Clad In Shingles

Handing over the drawings to a first time owner-builder isn’t always an architect’s dream prospect for a project. But when it’s a labour of love, and the client’s attention to detail is so precise, a great outcome is possible!

This was the case with this family home in Northcote, designed by Melanie Beynon Architects, who were delighted (and relieved!) at the perfect end result.

Written
by
Sasha Gattermayr

A warm but elegant kitchen. Custom cabinetry by West Wood. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Jarvis Barker.

Reclaimed bricks dominate the kitchen interior. Custom cabinetry by West Wood. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Jarvis Barker.

Custom, acoustic-designed walls are just one invisible feature that enhances the family’s privacy. Custom shelving and sliding door by West Wood. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Jarvis Barker.

Splashback tiles from Anchor Ceramics and Brodware taps add handmade touches throughout the house. Custom cabinetry by West Wood. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Jarvis Barker.

‘We were determined to keep it on a single level, we would have created a lot of shadow had we gone up,’ says Melanie. Pivot door in hallway, cedar unit and hall cupboard joinery and doors all custom by West Wood. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Jarvis Barker.

A very good-looking bookshelf. Halcyon Lake rug. Faye Toogood chair. Custom door (far right) by West Wood. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Jarvis Barker.

Large sliding doors lead to the outdoor entertainment area. Tripod table by Mark Tuckey. Vase by Bridget Bodenham. Pivot door by West Wood. Painting by Emily Ferretti. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Jarvis Barker.

Floor to ceiling wood panelling. Pivot door by West Wood.Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Jarvis Barker.

‘We really wanted to learn how to achieve building a home, that in the attention to detail, was modest, simple, visually beautiful and tactile,’ says the client. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Jarvis Barker.

Tasmanian oak panelling was left unfinished to showcase the rawness of the material. Art work by Doris Bush Nungarrayi. Flos lamp. Custom cedar unit by West Wood. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Jarvis Barker.

The master bedroom. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Jarvis Barker.

The children’s bedrooms take up the pre-existing building, the whole front half of the house. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Jarvis Barker.

Brodware taps. Alain Monnens light. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Jarvis Barker.

Terrazzo floors in the bathroom provided a light, clean contrast in materials. Bathroom cabinetry featuring locally made hand-forged rowsaan handles by West Wood. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Jarvis Barker.

Shingles wrapping the exterior reference the original Edwardian facade. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Jarvis Barker.

Writer
Sasha Gattermayr
20th of February 2020

With the goal of retaining the Edwardian facade and neighbourhood character, this single-storey house renovation project for a family of six was a collaboration from the start. ‘We wanted to achieve a building that was an emotional experience,’ the client explained of their decision to contract separate and specific trades and craftspeople for each part of the build.

Bringing together environmental principles and a desire to learn and understand the building process, Architect Melanie Beynon’s task for this project was to ‘create a visually beautiful house, that was very tactile’. This is achieved inside and out, with raw cedar shingle and shiplap cladding wrapped around the home, and a saw-tooth roofline extending tactility beyond the eyeline.

‘The timber elements will silver in time, allowing the new extension to settle into its surroundings,’ Melanie explains.

The texture turns inwards, too, with reclaimed bricks and Tasmanian oak panels covering the walls and ceilings, left unfinished to highlight the wood’s raw qualities. Handmade Anchor Ceramics tiles and brass detailing bring artisanal warmth to the kitchen, while Melbourne-based craftspeople West Wood contributed a large amount of impeccable custom timber furniture and joinery throughout the home.

The pitched roof in the kitchen / dining area creates elevated volume and ‘an element of surprise when you enter the house’, as well as flooding the communal space with natural light. The central living hub also acts as a divider between parent and children’s living quarters, compartmentalising these private zones at opposite ends of the house.

‘We had enduring specific interest in materials, spatial volume, sonic conditions, natural and artificial lighting and how to achieve a feeling and ‘memory’ in the build,’ the client explains. ‘We wanted the human hand on our house.’

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