This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Bigger Isn’t Better In This Newcastle Home

Architecture

This Newcastle home may appear large in photos, but that’s all due to the clever design by Curious Practice.

Occupying a mere 55 square metre footprint, the new house plays with volume and height to maximise space for a young family. 

By using utilitarian materials (unpainted fibre-cement sheet, galvanised steel, concrete and others!) planting extensive garden areas, and engaging with the street, the project achieves its primary goal of creating a comfortable family home on a small footprint, whilst sitting harmoniously in its context.

25th January, 2021

Durham Road by Curious Practice. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – Harriet Farrah of Koskela 

The house in Lambton, Newcastle replaces a large home on site, which was unmaintainable due to extensive unmapped mine workings and land subsidence. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – Harriet Farrah of Koskela 

The material palette features unpainted fibre-cement sheets, galvanised steel sheets, chain link fencing, concrete, unpainted laminated veneer lumber, and timber battens. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – Harriet Farrah of Koskela 

The small 55 square footprint, developed to maximise landscaped areas, promotes and maintains the green and leafy suburb whilst configuring family living to an intimate scale.  Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – Harriet Farrah of Koskela 

Planning and robustness of materials were keen considerations given the modest project budget. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – Harriet Farrah of Koskela 

A seat at garden level seeks to actively engage with passersby. Artwork on far left is ‘Timber Beach’ by Michelle Tear. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – Harriet Farrah of Koskela 

Generous windows look out to currently establishing landscaping. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – Harriet Farrah of Koskela 

The four-bedroom house belongs to a family of five. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – Harriet Farrah of Koskela 

The architect intends for the home’s outdoor areas to become the eventual focal point, supporting the project’s primary objective of ‘promoting and maintaining the green leafy suburb.’ Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – Harriet Farrah of Koskela 

A simple study nook. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – Harriet Farrah of Koskela 

A raked ply ceiling over the upper floor envelops and connects each member of the family. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – Harriet Farrah of Koskela 

Dappled light steams in through the tall trees above the home. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – Harriet Farrah of Koskela 

Contemporary, simple bathroom interiors. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – Harriet Farrah of Koskela 

The home is located on a corner site. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – Harriet Farrah of Koskela 

The Newcastle home may appear large, but that’s all due to the clever design of Curious Practice.Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – Harriet Farrah of Koskela 

The house plays with volume and height to maximise space. Photo – Katherine Lu. Styling – Harriet Farrah of Koskela 

Amelia Barnes
Monday 25th January 2021

‘With a modest budget, expanding the living areas through large openings onto landscape and outdoor rooms was prioritised’ – Greg Lee, Curious Practice.

The clients of this Lambton, Newcastle, project originally engaged Curious Practice to design a small renovation only. However, upon discovering extensive unmapped mine workings and land subsidence beneath the site, a complete rebuild was required. 

Given a new house was not initially on the cards, the client’s budget was modest, calling for a particularly inventive response from Curious Practice. While the previous house consumed the majority of the site, the practice took the opportunity to design something smaller, and more contextual.

‘The discovery of subsidence and subsequent opportunity for a new house allowed us to develop this scheme and maximise garden areas with much more rigour,’ says project architect Greg Lee. ‘With a modest budget, expanding the living areas through large openings onto landscape and outdoor “rooms” was prioritised, and areas such as garages were seen as superfluous.’ 

The architect intends for these outdoor areas designs by Tallowood Landscapes to eventually become the focal point of the home, supporting the project’s objective of maintaining the green leafy suburb. ‘As they establish over time, the gardens will reveal hidden paths, and are designed for verdant consumption of the building, reducing its presence in the green suburb,’ says Greg.

The home’s relatively humble material palette includes unpainted fibre-cement sheets, galvanised steel sheets, chain link fencing, concrete, unpainted laminated veneer lumber, and timber battens. ‘Our approach to materiality was to be robust, honest and modest, but to create a visual whole and subdue the architecture against the vibrancy of the growing landscape,’ explains Greg.  

These varying textures enhance the way sunlight hits each surface, particularly the dappled light that streams in through tall trees above. Birch ply joinery and wall lining extend this same approach internally. ‘The birch ply surfaces were developed to further blur the distinction between wall and joinery, abstracting the spaces’ volumes,’ says Greg.

Covering just a 55 square metre footprint, this project proves less is truly more! 

This Week

News

Shop These Plush Woollen Rugs And Get A Special TDF Discount!

Carpet Court’s customisable rug range is made with 100% New Zealand wool and can be cut to suit the size, shape and colour of your interio...
Sponsored

Interiors

A Glam ’60s-Inspired Makeover For A Drab Suburban Home

Kaiko Design transform a forgettable suburban space into a ritzy family residence, with big personality!

On The Market

A Light + Bright Beachside Home Hits The Market

This property in Sunrise Beach, Noosa is a full time home that feels like a holiday home - and it’s ready for new inhabitants!

Homes

A Designer’s 1970s Bells Beach Dream Home!

The incredible eclectic home of interior designer Léo Terrando and Jessica Watts, on Victoria's surf coast.

Interiors

Get The Look: Dark + Moody Bathrooms And Kitchens

All the product and styling advice you need to achieve the dark, moody bathrooms and kitchen interiors trend, brought to you Oliveri.

Studio Visit

Two Best Friends' Lockdown Hobby Turned Cult Candle Business

Creative entrepreneurs Ruby Kannava and Emma Cutri pooled their respective small business knowledge to found Blazed Wax - a colourful, cult-...

Interiors

A Colour-Drenched, 'Grandmillennial' Home In North Sydney

Bold colour, and both English and Moroccan influences come together in this North Sydney home by Lisa Burdus.

Indigenous Art

15 Excellent Indigenous Art Centres To Support And Celebrate!

We've spoken to some experts, and pulled together this guide on purchasing Aboriginal artwork ethically, and some ideas of where to find it!...

TDF Design Awards

The Sensational Interior Design Finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021!

The 12 incredible residential projects in the running to win the Interior Design award at the TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021, presented by...

Architecture

Everything You Need To Know About Working With An Architect

Four of Australia's best architects answer your frequently asked questions, from what an architect does, to how much they cost!

Gardens

A WOW-Factor 'Secret Garden' In Blairgowrie

Ian Barker Gardens creates a private outdoor sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula.
51:47

Podcast

Country Road’s Managing Director On The Stickiness Of Sustainable Fashion, On TDF Talks

In this podcast conversation, Elle Roseby talks leading one of the country’s most iconic brands through a new age in the fashion industry....

News

The TDF ‘ALL THE THINGS’ 500k Giveaway!

Help us celebrate half a million (!) Insta followers with epic prize packs for three lucky readers! 

Creative People

The Mother and Daughter Duo Uncovering Perth’s Hidden Terrazzo Treasures

A community exhibition uncovering Fremantle residences containing terrazzo floors by master artisan, Giuseppe Scolaro - as part of the city'...

News

Get Luxe Designer Furniture For Up To 15% Off!

Designer furniture retailer DOMO is discounting in-stock and custom items from HC28 + HC28 Cosmopolitan.
Sponsored

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Contemporary Beach House Designed By An Architect For Her Parents

The Bendalong Beach House by Madeleine Blanchfield provided such a serene escape for its owners, it became their full-time residence!

Architecture

This Couple's Home Is Two Houses In One!

Coy Yiontis Architects have designed this home with separate areas for a couple who have been living together for 50 years. His and hers goa...

Architecture

A Breezy Waterside Oasis, Designed For Multi-Generational Living

Owner-architect Emili Fox of Fox Johnston transforms a derelict dwelling into her own light-filled family home in Sydney's Birchgrove.
Sasha Gattermayr

This Week

Studio Visit

Two Best Friends' Lockdown Hobby Turned Cult Candle Business

Creative entrepreneurs Ruby Kannava and Emma Cutri pooled their respective small business knowledge to found Blazed Wax - a colourful, cult-...

Homes

A Designer’s 1970s Bells Beach Dream Home!

The incredible eclectic home of interior designer Léo Terrando and Jessica Watts, on Victoria's surf coast.

Interiors

A Glam ’60s-Inspired Makeover For A Drab Suburban Home

Kaiko Design transform a forgettable suburban space into a ritzy family residence, with big personality!

News

Get Luxe Designer Furniture For Up To 15% Off!

Designer furniture retailer DOMO is discounting in-stock and custom items from HC28 + HC28 Cosmopolitan.
Sponsored

TDF Design Awards

The Sensational Interior Design Finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021!

The 12 incredible residential projects in the running to win the Interior Design award at the TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021, presented by...

Architecture

Everything You Need To Know About Working With An Architect

Four of Australia's best architects answer your frequently asked questions, from what an architect does, to how much they cost!

News

Shop These Plush Woollen Rugs And Get A Special TDF Discount!

Carpet Court’s customisable rug range is made with 100% New Zealand wool and can be cut to suit the size, shape and colour of your interio...
Sponsored

Gardens

A WOW-Factor 'Secret Garden' In Blairgowrie

Ian Barker Gardens creates a private outdoor sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula.

News

The TDF ‘ALL THE THINGS’ 500k Giveaway!

Help us celebrate half a million (!) Insta followers with epic prize packs for three lucky readers! 

Interiors

Get The Look: Dark + Moody Bathrooms And Kitchens

All the product and styling advice you need to achieve the dark, moody bathrooms and kitchen interiors trend, brought to you Oliveri.

On The Market

A Light + Bright Beachside Home Hits The Market

This property in Sunrise Beach, Noosa is a full time home that feels like a holiday home - and it’s ready for new inhabitants!

Creative People

The Mother and Daughter Duo Uncovering Perth’s Hidden Terrazzo Treasures

A community exhibition uncovering Fremantle residences containing terrazzo floors by master artisan, Giuseppe Scolaro - as part of the city'...

Indigenous Art

15 Excellent Indigenous Art Centres To Support And Celebrate!

We've spoken to some experts, and pulled together this guide on purchasing Aboriginal artwork ethically, and some ideas of where to find it!...
51:47

Podcast

Country Road’s Managing Director On The Stickiness Of Sustainable Fashion, On TDF Talks

In this podcast conversation, Elle Roseby talks leading one of the country’s most iconic brands through a new age in the fashion industry....

Interiors

A Colour-Drenched, 'Grandmillennial' Home In North Sydney

Bold colour, and both English and Moroccan influences come together in this North Sydney home by Lisa Burdus.

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Contemporary Beach House Designed By An Architect For Her Parents

The Bendalong Beach House by Madeleine Blanchfield provided such a serene escape for its owners, it became their full-time residence!

Architecture

This Couple's Home Is Two Houses In One!

His and hers goals on the Mornington Peninsula!

Architecture

A Breezy Waterside Oasis, Designed For Multi-Generational Living

Owner-architect Emili Fox of Fox Johnston transforms a derelict dwelling into her own light-filled family home in Sydney's Birchgrove.
Sasha Gattermayr

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.