One slice of inner-suburban Kew was never going to be enough for the grand plans of this all encompassing executive property.
It wasn’t only because the owners wanted rooms on a grand scale, nor simply for lavish entertainment areas, nor due to the list of extras added to the usual rooms of a family home.
It came down to having a blended family of seven children and wanting to give them space to play, study, sleep, have friends over and disappear for quiet times and be walking distance from Melbourne’s richest cluster of elite schools.
Crucial to the plan were self-contained quarters for a live-in nanny; accommodation that can otherwise be used for guests, in-laws, adult children saving for their own home, as a teen retreat, a serious home office or an income-earner with Airbnb or student rental.
Instead of scaling down plans to fit the site, the owners annexed land in an agreement with neighbours. The result is a 905-square-metre block (on one title) that faces tree-lined Belmont Avenue and has private access from a lane for its rear unit – which is, actually, a separate two-storey pocket-townhouse with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchenette, living room and double garage.
The priority was to maximise use of the north aspect, so the footprint of the house is along the south boundary and its main living area embraces the sun-catching stretch of outdoors where the tiled pool, terrace, covered outdoor kitchen and lawn are placed.
This is the venue for summer living and entertainment – it’s not hard to imagine kids at play and adults mingling, relaxing and sharing food in these sophisticated, linked spaces.
The outdoors connects seamlessly to the open-plan meals area, family room and a showpiece kitchen that’s chic and minimalist, freed of preparation dramas and clean-up chaos by a large hidden butler’s pantry.
At the front of the house, a vast shelf extending out from the roof covers the path to the oversized pivot front door. Even with a creeper clothing its facade, the building has contemporary brutalist form.
Its monochromatic rendered square-line bulk is the antithesis of the immediate neighbourhood’s Hawthorn-brick Victorian villas built on compact sites, lingering evidence of the 1880s property boom.
This bold project’s approach brings suburban family living to the cutting edge.
Start with the unseen: alarm, video intercom, Sonos sound system, home automation, closed-circuit TV security, irrigation, sub-floor heating and underground water tank.
Setting a cool, urbane mood are polished concrete floors, tiles and carpet in shades of grey, eye-catching pendants and imported wallpapers.
A 650-bottle temperature-controlled wine room is showcased with a glass wall and an internal window to the study/library.
There’s also a safe room, which hopefully won’t ever be needed for its dual use as a panic room.
Upstairs at the back of the house, children’s bedrooms with walk-in wardrobes are zoned with a rumpus room, fitted study, walk-in linen cupboard and bathroom.
The main bedroom at the front has a luxury en suite with walk-in shower and freestanding tub, plus mega-storage in bespoke wardrobes.
At the end of the block, nature provides a dramatic exclamation mark in the form of a magnificent ancient gum tree, but the modern punctuation is more subtle – a string of dots and dashes laser-cut into the remote-controlled driveway gates are Morse code for the address of this remarkable residence.