Mallacoota Fires

Our year commences with the uncomfortable and very stark reality of the devastating bushfires which continue to blaze across our country. We have all been affected in some way by these tragic events, some obviously more directly than others, with the loss of property, habitat and life. Prior to the Christmas break, we completed and lodged a planning submission with the East Gippsland Council for one of our long standing clients, this being for a shared family retreat at Mallacoota on a property they have enjoyed for three decades of summers or more.

We woke New Years Eve to the news they were actively defending the property. Being cut off by road, escape for some family members was via chartered light planes, others deciding to stay and defend the township heavily under threat.

We are pleased to report all are now safely back in Melbourne and their property has fortunately been saved. Our thoughts are with the Mallacoota community and the mammoth effort ahead to re-group and re-build anew. We look forward to contributing to these efforts in the months to come.

If there is any good that comes from such events, it is the outpouring of support so evident throughout the community, this ought make us all proud to be Australian.

The photo above was taken by our client bravely defending their home beneath blood red skies on the morning of New Years Eve.

View Residence Progress

Work has re-commenced for 2020 on our fourth new build in View Street, Hawthorn.

Working again with the challenges presented by a sloping site, and turning this to a design advantage, the raised swimming pool with wet edge feature has finally revealed itself.

This will be the standout feature of the central court from which the house wraps itself around. There will be strong visual connections to this outdoor space from all of the living areas within, over both levels.

We will post periodic photo updates as work progresses throughout the year. Completion due early 2021 and will be marketed for sale at this time.








Donaldsons Residence: The Local Project

Our Country property at Ancona in Victoria’s high Country has continued to draw media attention with a 4th feature article. Most recently in the on-line publication ‘Local Project’ late last year.

Article: Click here to read the article








Sales launch of ‘Hayfield Rise’ – Ancona

As the owners, occupiers, design contributors (and gardeners), the joy of this project has been in its ‘making’. Completed in December 2018, we are now ready to write a new chapter for ourselves, and move on to a new challenge elsewhere.

We leave this magnificent property, in one of the countries most beautiful places, with all the great memories of putting this ambitious project together, and seeing it finally realised as we originally hoped and intended. Now it is for others to experience, be enriched by and enjoy for many years to come.

Where to from here for us? well who knows, we are already on the lookout for new sites with equal potential… watch this space.

The sales launch of ‘Hayfield Rise’- Ancona will commence in February and the campaign will be managed by the very capable team at the The Agency in Mansfield & Melbourne.

Click here to visit The Agency
Click here to view drone video footage of the property

Moonee Ponds Approval

We are pleased to announce planning approval has been granted by Moonee Valley Council, for renovations and additions to a new project in Moonee Ponds. With heritage controls triggering the application, council have provided unconditional support to the proposals and working drawings are now well underway.

Much of the existing heritage home to the front will remain, albeit internally modified. A new addition to the rear over two levels is orientated to drink in northern sunlight along its length and be complemented by garden works, raised swimming pool and terraced deck areas.

Work is due to commence on site in the next few months.





Stonefields Summer Private Tour

Last year I had the great pleasure of journeying to Denver, near Trenthan Victoria, to have a private tour of Paul Bangay’s amazing House & Gardens at ‘Stonefields‘. Paul also conducts tours seasonally and his upcoming summer tours are selling out fast. For anyone planning a garden or simply wanting to be inspired by the true genious of this talented garden designer, there is a tour scheduled for Friday 14th February @ 3pm.

It’s well worth the effort to get along, I can highly recommend it.

Click here for booking information








Concrete Kitchens

Of the many materials we’ve brought to our kitchen designs over the years, concrete is probably our favourite and one Steve has personally adopted for use in his home.

Versatile and rugged, concrete poured in-situ has been our ‘go to’ product for many reasons. It offers endless possibilities in terms of shape and form. In length and width, it can extend far beyond the limitations of its stone, timber or porcelain competitors without the need for joins.
Its character improves with age.

Our preferred surface treatment, once the pour is complete and concrete fully cured, is to simply hand sand the surface to a smooth finish, apply two coats of matt concrete seal, then finish with a bees wax product, Johnsons floor wax is ideal. When finally buffed back, this will provide a beautiful finish and projection for many years to come.

Tregarron Residence Progress

As mentioned on instagram recently, work is progressing on our latest Kew project with our clients looking forward to moving in the new year.

The project generated a lot of interest on ‘the socials’ so we thought we’d share it with you.

The existing house is being extensively renovated within, new contemporary additions to the rear, more than tripling the overall size of the home.
Works include a new basement, with garaging, cinema and gym. Extensions at ground level accommodate new family living spaces and at the new first floor level, bedrooms and retreat spaces. A new pool, tennis court and garden works complete the makeover.

We’ll post more progress photos as the interior finishes are revealed and the build nears completion.

Builder Approved & Ready to Start

Construction work will soon commence on our Belmont Project in Melbournes inner north-west. This follows our recent success at the planning approvals stage.

The existing modest weatherboard cottage facing the street is to be fully restored and serve as a heritage foil to the extensive contemporary addition beyond.

A series of garden plateaus will negotiate the existing land fall, to which the floor plates of the house will follow, providing connection to an upper garden court, central pool terrace and lower lawn panel.

The house will be geared to comfortable family living, set predominantly over two floors, the interior spaces will unfold informally, flowing seamlessly from one zone to the next and always with a very strong connection to the garden and outdoor living areas.

We are very excited to see this project come to fruition, watch for future construction posts.

A New Lifestyle Awaits

Looking to the future, our ‘almost’ empty-nester clients, first approached us to determine whether two homes could be comfortably accommodated on their existing property, with a view to allowing them to stay-on, yet downsize from their current large family home.

With the kids soon to branch out, something more compact and maintenance free has great appeal.

Their ultimate goal is to live in one of the new dwellings and offer the other for sale, leaving them mortgage free in a bespoke home, fashioned to their intended new lifestyle, with little ongoing property maintenance.

With the planning process now complete and a permit in place, the path is clear for them to embark on this exciting venture.

Absolute Water Frontage

We are again pleased to be associated with Bourakis Industries in the development of our 5th project together on the Strand in Williamstown. This absolute waterfront property boasts stunning, unobstructed views towards Melbourne’s skyline across the waters of Port Phillip Bay.

Development plans are now before Hobsons Bay Council for the restoration of the property’s heritage listed cottage which will serve as one dwelling, and a second to be constructed behind it. Both are designed to capture the magnificent Bay and city skyline views.

Our thanks once again for the invaluable guidance afforded by heritage architect, Bryce Rayworth and consulting planner, Ross Bardin whilst putting our submission together. Looking forward to receiving planning approval in the near future.

Preston Residence, Recently Completed

Our thanks, as always to Derek Swalwell Photography for a great shoot recently in Geelong. Derek has again managed to capture the essence and flavour of our recently completed build in Preston Street.

The double fronted Victorian weatherboard has been lovingly restored to its former glory, with the retention of the original four front rooms, and the removal of earlier faux Victorian style additions to the rear.

The original cottage is thus now presented in its original form and partnered with a contrasting modern pavilion behind it.

So as to enable each to share equal moment, we have subtly connected them via a delicate glazed bridge link which traverses the shallows of a newly introduced swimming pool.

The cottage has been repurposed to provide the quieter spaces of the home, a bedroom, study and retreat space being included. The new pavilion style accommodation by contrast, provides for the more robust requirements of a family living environment, with kitchen, dining and laundry spaces combining with the master bedroom suite, remotely positioned to the rear.

The structure rests between garden courts and overlooks the new pool and covered outdoor entertaining space.

The interiors have been furnished with thanks to Jardan, Ross Gardam, Domo, Pittella & Vzug. The selections offer a seamless transition and link between the two halves of the building.

To view more images of this project click here.

Brand Building

We are pleased to be involved in the continuing success and expansion of the Interpack brand. Following the initial design and implementation of their first manufacturing plant and corporate headquarters in Victoria, they are now expanding with the construction of a second production facility with associated offices.

A recent site visit reveals the impressive expanse of this new facility, precast panels now begin to wrap the vast steel framework, work is underway on the two storey office component and basement car parking.

As with the first installation, cutting edge technology will be implemented in their production processes to ensure Interpack remains at the forefront of their industry.







Planning Approved

The wait is over, and we’re thrilled to announce that within the space of a week, two of our residential projects, one in Albert Park, the other in Camberwell, both delayed as a consequence of a prolonged planning process, have at last been approved at VCAT. Congratulations to our clients on the result, and for their tenacity and belief in the product.

Both were subject to Heritage controls and it has again been demonstrated that there is a place for well-considered contemporary design, within our heritage neighbourhoods.

Our thanks go out to Bryce Raworth for his invaluable Heritage Advise, to Ratio Planning consultants and The Hanson Partnership for seeing us through the planning labyrinth towards two brilliant results.

Now let’s get them built!

Japanese inspired charred timber

As part of our regular eJournal, we bring you products that we’re excited by. In this issue we highlight Japanese inspired charred timber.

It’s hard to visit Japan and fail to notice the beauty of their modest dwellings clad in charred timber. Travelling through Kyoto in 2017, we captured many examples of this traditional building material and were greatly inspired by its diversity of use. On return to Melbourne, we became aware of several suppliers offering this unique finish. Several of our projects, currently under construction utilise charred timber in a range of applications, including our Merricks Residence mentioned in eJournal 01.

We are very excited to see the results and will keep you posted. We are currently specifying and sourcing from the guys at Eco timbers in Richmond.






Raising our Profile

As part of our recent marketing activities, the awesome design team at Visua have developed an abridged version of our company profile, which is available as an interactive PDF, making it easy to distribute to new and prospective clients. Feel free to download a copy by clicking the link below.

Download SDA Profile








Our Latest Hawthorn Project

We are grateful to Derek Swalwell Photography for doing such a great job capturing our latest residential offering in Hawthorn. A large family home fronting the Yarra River reserve.

This unique property abuts native parkland with enviable views across the Yarra River towards Melbourne’s skyline.

Whilst still amongst the familiar tapestry of a brick and terra cotta clad suburbia, cues for this new home where taken from its parkland setting, rather than from neighbouring dwellings.

Here instead, we have adopted a pallet of raw, earthy materials uncharacteristic to the area. Stone dry-stack walling, natural cement renders, recycled timbers and dark metal screen louvers, combine and reach out to make a strong connection to the park.

Utilising the sites sloping topography down towards the park, and with all the living areas strung along a single upper level, we enter the house ‘at-grade’ and continue through to the family living zones to the rear, these rooms being suspended a full floor above the park interface. Resting high amongst the tree canopies, they evoke an almost ‘tree-house’ experience.

The robust architecture is beautifully complemented by the native garden surround, skillfully crafted by Phillip Johnson Landscapes, to blend seamlessly into the connected parkland.

Images by Derek Swalwell Photography
Garden Design by Phillip Johnson Landscapes

Elevated Outdoor Living

With modern homes ever-increasing in size, ensuring there is sufficient quality outdoor living space, particularly on smaller blocks, is becoming something of a challenge. This month we share a solution that has provided many of our recent clients with, not only valuable outdoor space, but also some unexpected wow factors to enjoy.

Often buried in the roof form and barely visible from either street or neighbouring properties, the contemporary roof-terrace offers endless opportunities for outdoor living and entertaining.

When planned well as part of the original design, it can offer expansive additional ‘found’ space at a very reasonable cost.

Positioned and detailed appropriately, it can capture panoramic views whilst still offering seclusion and privacy.

The inclusion of a wet bar and BBQ will make this ‘found space’ a true entertainer. In some cases, we have added a dumb waiter connecting to the kitchen below.

There are some very clever access systems now available to get you onto your new deck, one manufacturer we favor is Tilt Industrial Design typically, they supply and install a 4 metre by 1 metre wide framed and glazed operable panel. When closed, it lays flush to the terrace floor offering natural light to the levels below, when activated remotely, it raises vertically, providing access to the roof and a protecting balustrade running along the opening. A rain sensor automatically returns the lid to its closed position if left open, very clever.

With a number of such terraces adorning our recent work, we have become somewhat seasoned performers in getting the best results from this simple, yet cost effective idea.

In The Press

We are late comers to OPUMO the on-line lifestyle magazine and store operating out of London. We are really enjoying their mix of architecture, design and fashion from around the globe.

We were pleased to have one of our latest rural properties featured in the magazine recently. Strange to think this high country hide-away would be seen by many on the other side of the planet.

Click here to view the article online







The Craft of the Stonemason

Each month we’d like to throw the spotlight on some of the talented designers, master craftspeople and artisans that we collaborate with in the production of our architecture, many unsung heroes that simply let their work speak for them.

Today we give a grateful nod to Peter Shinn of Instone Constructions a master stonemason in every sense of the word.

Over the years Pete has worked on many of our buildings, both rural and urban. We love the character this material brings to our work and it is Pete’s brilliant application that really brings it to life.

Working predominantly with natural Castlemaine Slate, laid using the dry-stack method, he brings a level of craftsmanship, the like of which is all too rare to find these days.

We hope you enjoy the selection of images assembled, a small sample of the masters handywork.

Our hats off to you Pete, thanks for all your continued great work.

Peter Shinn
Instone Constructions
Telephone 0409 796 295