Mystery and intrigue abound in this Swanbourne open house

17 Aug 2021

This dramatic and striking ‘look at me’ custom by Humphrey Homes boasts an eclectic mix of elements from the inside out, working together to tell a story of modern elegance.

Humphrey Homes Owner and Director Dean Humphrey said the inspiration behind the Swanbourne build was to create a bold, extroverted and dynamic home that was visually striking in form, could maximise views and would be amazing to live in.

“The story of the home began a few years ago following trips I’d taken overseas to see new and different design and building techniques,” he said.

“The one material I wanted to use was off-form concrete, and the rest of the home was designed to balance against that.

“The heavy concrete base houses the main living area with glimpses to the outside via light tunnels.

“The long and light box with lace detail cladding on the upper floor houses the bedrooms.

“We wanted to show how living can be different, yet still very functional on a 10m-wide lot. The block is just 306sqm and the total area of the home is 394sqm, including the rooftop garden – it feels bigger because the ceiling void is 6.5m-high.”

Defined by Mr Humphrey as a home that offers mystery and intrigue, the architecture can be described as bold and expressive – there was a desire to show visual drama.

“We also wanted to show how materiality and aesthetics contribute to a home’s story and, in this case, how a series of different materials can work together to complement the overall design and vision for the home,” Mr Humphrey said.

“The contrast between the heavy base and the light top, the contrast between the hard and soft materials, the contrast between the long and short forms.”

The 6m by 6.5m-high off-form concrete walls were created in a single pour onsite – one by one – whilst a softer statement is presented with the second-level cantilevered, floating box clad in marine ply and perforated aluminium, offsetting the visual weight of the concrete panels.

Mr Humphrey said there was the goal of creating layer upon layer of textures and finishes, which worked in harmony when moving throughout the home, resulting in a sense of balance.

“The warmth of the oak floors offsets the raw concrete walls, while the crisp white matte cabinetry with textured vertical half-moon panelling on the curved kitchen island bench offsets the sharp edges of the concrete zig-zag stairs,” he said.

“We wanted to create visual surprises throughout the home such as interesting pops of colour and textures to bring relief and complement the architecture – for example, the tiling, pendant lighting and playful cabinetry.”

With the main living areas of the home positioned on the ground floor, one of the standout features is the hanging steel fireplace handmade in France – adding another layer of warmth and welcoming aura.

For a seamless connection, the Swiss-made stacker doors leading from the main living area to the alfresco are frameless to offer uninterrupted views.

Looking further outside, a steel spiral staircase offers, yet another refined and elegant expression and leads to a rooftop garden which overlooks Allen Park.

Proceed to the top floor and the quieter areas of the home will be found, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms positioned at the rear for privacy, as well as a sitting/entertaining room at the front of the layout.

Concealing the master suite from the rest of the home, it is cocooned inside an oak box, with a solid pivot oak door that has concealed hinges.

Once the door is closed it becomes a wall, rather than a door, creating a seamless look.

Other clever design choices were made on the north-end of this floor.

“A Swiss-made guillotine window discreetly disappears into the wall cavity to welcome the outdoors and is completely concealed when open,” Mr Humphrey said.

“There is a custom-made bi-fold screen which covers the window when closed and allows shadows from the perforated screen to highlight the walls and floor inside.”

Located at 2 Watt Street, Swanbourne, the home is open for viewing Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-3pm, or by appointment, until August 29.

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This story first appeared in The West Australian's New Homes liftout on August 14, 2021.