Little Big House is located at the rear of a battleaxe block with an outlook across Malvern Valley Golf Course in Ashburton, Melbourne.
Concealed from the street, the house’s ground level remains hidden from view, even in the driveway, by the slope of the block. It is only when entering the home on level one that its large scale is slowly revealed through double-height living areas and expansive views.
The architectural concept was designed by Basset Lobaza Architects as a series of interlocking boxes stepping down the hillside, each accommodating a different function. ‘It was a very striking design with beautiful clear volumes which I immediately loved,’ says Mairead Murphy, director of Maike Design, who designed the interiors. We were brought on board to, (in the words of the client), “ensure that it is done tastefully and that everything works together as a whole.”
Maike’s design carefully balances visual beauty with practical spaces required for a young family. ‘The architecture uses clear rectangular forms in the building. We wanted to enhance the sense of these boxes, while also breaking up the volume of the house into easily recognisable interior zones to help bring it to a more domestic scale,’ explains Mairead.
Changes in floorplan work to differentiate spaces, enhanced by the carefully considered colour and material palette. The shared areas feature light timber, concrete and white bright walls; while the main bedroom and lounge adopt a muted, darker colour palette with carpet, dark timber and deep blue and grey walls. ‘I also love the way the dark lounge frames the view across the yard,’ says Mairead.
Little Big House is a family home designed for both parents and children. ‘We really were designing a house that was equally for the big people and little people in the family,’ says Mairead.
The client’s children love the playful integrated features designed just for them, including the play nook under the stairs. ‘It is such a quirky little space… It disappears behind the opening so you can tuck yourself away in there, and there are storage trap doors to fill the space under with toys and pillows.’
These features embody the perfect balance struck by Maike Design in the home combining practicality and design. As Mairead says, ‘It feels like a family home should.’