This TV series put on by the ABC showcases some of Australia's cutting edge residential architecture. It is a real inspiration. Enjoy some of the best design our country has to offer!
The first episode features a Melbourne couple faced with a dilemma familiar to many parents. With three young kids they quickly found themselves out growing their small terraced home.
The options were either move from a street they loved or transform their block of land into a home for the future. They decided to stay and gave the architect, Andrew Maynard, a testing brief - design a playful home that, like the family, would grow and change over the next 30 years.
The result is certainly futuristic and at the home’s heart is an Aussie backyard transformed by a man-made hill. The award-winning design is arresting and certainly got all the neighbours talking!
"I want a house for a car. I want to be able to see my car as I walk around the home."
Cherise Collins has had a passion for cars since she was 15 and to date has bought and sold over 160! When she was briefing her architect she said she would prefer to be out driving than gardening. And she didn't want doors in the house.
As Architect Damian Campagnaro says, "I've had all sorts of unusual requests from owners, but this is the first time I'd been asked for a house to be built around a car!"
These are not the only unusual aspects for the house design. The site Cherise had chosen, with sweeping views across the plain to the sea, was on a very steep block of land in the Adelaide hills. She contacted builders but they just drove past and didn't stop because the location was just so steep.
One day, by chance, she bumped into Damian at a coffee shop and told him about the block. He checked it out that same day and came back with: "All you need is a brave bobcat driver and I know one!"
So began a partnership between owner and architect/builder which created not only a stunning design with a room for a car, but also covered all aspects of the build and interior decoration, right down to the paintings - painted by Damian.
What will happen to a Victorian goldfields ruin when the architect’s first thought is, “What am I going to do that that?”
Hard-working Melbournites Wayne and Chris spent many a weekend getting out to the country. They came to love the area around Ullina, near the towns of Smeaton and Clunes, so much that they started looking for a property.
After 18 months they found their block, complete with an 1860s ruin. They didn’t want to live in an old, dark house but loved the ruin’s stonework and overall mystique. Their idea was to include as much of the ruin as possible into a contemporary and light filled design. They approached architect, Ken Charles, with a very basic room plan and a photo of the ruin.
Ken developed the design with Wayne and Chris to create an innovative and imaginative home. Goldfields House has rescued a piece of Australia’s gold rush history and brought it uniquely into the 21st Century.
Wayne’s background is in building and project managing. He and Chris already knew Ken – they gave him his first job, a warehouse conversion. That was some 20 years ago and the men have kept up their association, working closely together on a number of development projects which have often included residences for Wayne and Chris. The key to their relationship, says Wayne, is the trust that they have built up working together over all those years.
An innovative architectural design has preserved a piece of Australia’s gold rush history by transforming an 1860s ruin in country Victoria near Ullina into a contemporary and light-filled home.
The Great Wall of Warburton is the backbone of a house built to give its owner a new life.
Peter Falvey's busy life in Melbourne as a foreign aid project director made him yearn for the tranquillity of the country and he found land in the Warburton Valley. His vision for a house was that it should be serene, peaceful with a reflective ambience, fit into the environment and be somewhere that one day he could live full-time.
To achieve this end, Peter worked very closely with his architect Simon Knott (as well as Julian Kosloff and Tim Black). The development of the design and the build itself was an 'adventure' for everyone. Before construction started Simon camped on the block to get a sense of the site, and this co-operative and collaborative spirit was there throughout the project.
Arriving at the property, the long driveway ends up at a blank, abstract wall - the Great Wall of Warburton. The house is entered via a large timber door in the middle of the great wall and, upon opening, the spectacular view of the Warburton Valley is immediately revealed. Throughout the house the wall acts as an omnipresent anchoring backbone and is visible from every space. Another key design element is that by sliding just one door, a large four bedroom house closes down to become a one bedroom space.
It was Peter who had the central idea that the house should slowly reveal itself and be a surprise, but it was Simon who designed Peter's idea into a very special home.
How do you build the perfect house in the Glass House Mountains when you can only visit the site twice during its construction?
Having always lived in big cities, international banker Robert Hadley and his wife Anne wanted somewhere quiet to build and when they stumbled across a block in the Glass House Mountains with spectacular views, they knew they had to have it.
The couple have an interest in Zen gardens and in Japanese design. They wanted their house to be tranquil and a retreat from the hustle of big city living. They challenged architects Lindy Atkin and Stephen Guthrie to create a haven protected from the strong winds whisking up the escarpment while still taking in the views.
Over the 16 months it took Maleny House to rise out of the ground, Robert and Anne were living in Romania and were only able to visit twice. But with an abiding interest in architecture they had supplied a detailed brief to Lindy and Stephen. Over the internet a great relationship and friendship developed between owners and architects as they shared their thoughts about the process.
An oasis of peace is now evident in the resulting house, especially in the sanctuary of the courtyard space which is central to the building and protected from the wind. The property's 200 tonne stone wall took six months to construct with a stone mason placing every stone individually to show off its special beauty.
The result is a house of simple beauty, combining an Asian aesthetic with an Australian touch.
Castlecrag is a house about memories. Perched on a steep escarpment overlooking Sugarloaf Bay in Sydney's Middle Harbour, this award-winning house is a re-imagined version of the original family home built in the 1940s by the current owner's grandfather.
The house has been redesigned to suit a family with four children while preserving as much of the original as possible. The new house constantly harks back to the old, from the re-creation of grandfather's fish tank and recycling of floorboards, to retaining an original wall and fireplace. Already recycled in the 40s, the bricks were also carefully recycled back into the new house.
The design by award-winning architects Rachel Neeson and the late Nick Murcutt is arranged over four levels stepping down the long and narrow site. There's a shared family space at the entry level, a parents retreat above, children are one level down and there's a flat for guests on the lowest level. It all spills out to a swimming pool. But it's the planning that is really impressive and perfectly responds to the three remarkable qualities of the site - a large sandstone rock shelf that partially shields the house from the street, a bushland reserve studded with beautiful pink angophora trees and the view over water and Castle Cove below.
Designed to last a lifetime and full of family memories, this is the house where Luke Hastings and his wife Jo Nolan will watch their children grow up.
A neglected inner-city Melbourne terrace house originally designed by the notable colonial architect Joseph Reid in 1856 is transformed with a brilliant blending of old and new, and the addition of an atrium.
Yvonne Young is a country woman who, amongst other things, breeds horses on her property at Tonimbuk (West Gippsland). When her children moved to the city, Yvonne found herself spending more time in Melbourne and decided a city house was needed. She purchased the house in East Melbourne for its central location and fell in love with the possibilities of restoring it.
Yvonne wanted to restore the exterior to its original splendour but introduce to her inner-city house things you find in the country - space, light and air. Together with architects David and Jacqueline Wagner and builder John Alessi, she spent over four years breathing new life back into the building. Her brief for space and light was achieved with a three-story atrium designed around the concept of a Roman villa.
The feel of the landscape is echoed in all of the house details. The colour palette is earthy, and wood is used extensively throughout. Terracotta louvres are featured both inside and out, bringing the outside in and echoing details of traditional Australian rural housing.
From its carefully restored facade that recognises its history, to the atrium which echoes a Roman villa, this is a house that both looks back to the past and forward to the future.
Imagine a home that is shiny, sparkling, a bit sexy and good enough to take on your arm to the Logies, that's the Smith House - a 'trophy home'.
Designed by the controversial 'wonder-kid' architect Cassandra Fahey, the Smith House is the result of a very practical brief from its sport-loving owners, Darren and Serana Smith. Darren and Serana asked for a four bedroom home with large living spaces, cinema and a garage for three cars. They also suggested shyly that they wanted a 'trophy home'. In choosing Cassandra, renowned for her 'Pamela Anderson' home designed for Sam Newman, they were on a path towards an unorthodox design.
You enter the house through a huge 'golden book style' doorway into a mirrored hall. There is a glass mural of a well-endowed Ian Thorpe, a living room with a golden soft-furnished ceiling, and an 'Aladdin's Cave' for 'Alice in Wonderland' in the children's bedrooms.
This is a house with many playful elements designed by an adventurous and quirky architect for clients who were willing to take the risk. The result is a home like no other in Australia.
"The house operates as a piece of sculpture in the middle of the bush. It's a little bit like a tank stand that might have fallen over."
Some locals nicknamed it 'the plane crash' when it was under construction - and the owners admit their dream holiday home is a sculptural artwork that divides opinion.
Brother and sister Derek and Marian Drew built the house in bushland only 100 metres from a beautiful Queensland surf beach near the town of Agnes Water. As teenagers, they had enjoyed idyllic camping trips to the same spot. Now, they wanted to replicate those holidays - but with a lot more luxury.
When planning the home, builder/designer Simon Laws took a field trip with Derek and Marian to visit their old camp site and the nearby sugar cane mill. The mill was being demolished and its industrial shapes partly influenced the final design.
Industrial shapes aside, the home is luxuriously appointed with a high-end kitchen and a stylish bathroom opening onto the forest. The home's main living area is contained in a cylindrical 'pod' which some locals joke is reminiscent of an aircraft fuselage! The bedrooms are connected to the main living area by walkways which replicate the way in which sleeping and cooking areas are separated in camping sites. One of the home's most eye-catching features is a circular window which controls the ventilation in the main living area.
The owners describe it as "luxury camping" with all rooms having a strong connection to the outside bushland.