The Birch Tree House by Susi Leeton Architecture + Interiors is an exercise in contrast. Despite being a functional home for a family of four, the clients and designers wanted it to be a statement piece of architecture – replete with sculptural elements and dramatic flourishes.
‘Our aim was to create a gentle but robust family home set amongst a beautiful, restful garden,’ says architect Susi Leeton. To do so, she maximised curved forms and textured materials that served both a functional and aesthetic purpose.
The waving curves and gentle arches of the walls create natural partitions between spaces, organically dividing rooms into their zones.
For example, the entrance hall staircase is a sweeping sculptural form, that shields the front living room from the threshold, while the mezzanine balcony undulates in soft waves to guard upstairs activity from spilling into the lower level. Another curved wall funnels the view from the entryway down to the garden – allowing the pool to unfold itself only as one moves through the belly of the house.
This curved motif continues on the exterior, with circular steel arches framing the northern pool terrace, and an oversized front door that resembles a cave entrance.
In order to achieve balance and constant harmony, these monolithic forms are offset by textures, tone and materials. An understated palette (consisting of natural limestone, oak timber floor, polished plaster wall and linen curtains) works to soften the oversized volumes. For every moment of solidness, there is a moment of delicacy.
‘The walls being Marmorino (polished plaster) create a shimmering effect throughout every space,’ says Susi. This is further enhanced by the glittering pool reflections bouncing off the rear body of the house. An elegant and graceful dance!