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MEREWETHER HOUSE
Designing an investment property presents a whole different set of challenges to homeowners and architects. Rather than collaborating on a design that expresses the clients’ own sense of style, the key is creating an aesthetic with much broader appeal; one that will please both prospective buyers and potential tenants. 
 
Investment properties are also often subjected to space and budget constraints, and that was certainly the case for this new build project in Newcastle’s beachside suburb of Merewether. However, with true expert flair, the team at Space Design Architecture (SDA) created a design that responds to its constraints rather than being defined by it.
  
“When the site is challenging, often the best strategy is to embrace the elements that make it unique and make the most of what is available to you,” says Daniel Bush, director at SDA. “The site was very narrow and compact but there were great opportunities to extend spaces to the exterior whilst still keeping a strong focus on practicality and aesthetics. 

“Our aim was to maximise the space and create a home that was comfortable, not cramped. We achieved this by carefully positioning rooms to amplify features of the site, and layering spaces in a way that allow for both private, intimate zones and open, connected zones. The incorporation of a small courtyard area and balconies across all stories ensure the home is effortlessly connected to the outdoor living area, enhancing the sense of space,” adds Mr Bush. 

“Our aim was to maximise the space and create a home that was comfortable, not cramped. We achieved this by carefully positioning rooms to amplify features of the site, and layering spaces in a way that allow for both private, intimate zones and open, connected zones. The incorporation of a small courtyard area and balconies across all stories ensure the home is effortlessly connected to the outdoor living area, enhancing the sense of space,” adds Mr Bush.

Indeed, the design has resulted in an impressive home for such a small site; a four bedroom, three bathroom house with two living areas and two car spaces – all on a 242 square metre block. 
 
When it came to creating a timeless aesthetic, something that would offer broad appeal to support the investment intent, SDA opted for a mix of classic yet contemporary materials that would work both visually and practically with the location. Balmain Sandstock bricks from PGH Bricks & Pavers define the majority of the ground floor and front fence, whilst lightweight board and batten cladding, weatherboards and render shape the upper levels, providing a striking contrast both in colour and texture. 
 
“We chose this particular brick because we were looking for something unique that we could use as a replacement for a recycled brick to complement the urban industrial feel we were trying to achieve for the house,” explains Mr Bush. “We have used PGH bricks many times before so it was the first place we looked and found the Balmain brick, which suited perfectly. 
 
“The typology of the houses in Merewether is quite diverse and although the area is coastal, the location is still classified as inner city,” he adds “Overall the project has an urban industrial feel, which met our aim of creating a point of difference and avoiding conforming to coastal expectations.” 

 

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On a practical level, brick is ideal for coastal settings as it’s such a robust material that can endure the most severe weather; exposure grade bricks in particular are made to withstand salt conditions. Brick also provides excellent insulation, making the home both comfortable and energy efficient.

 

Inside, the property is elegantly appointed and offers contemporary, luxurious spaces for multi-generational living. The master suite boasts all the amenities of an expensive resort – simple, elegant materials with double basins, a double shower, walk-in wardrobe and private deck.

 

A contemporary black and white palette extends from outside to inside and throughout the house to create a further sense of cohesion and flow. Wooden accents in the form of doors, stairs and kitchen cabinetry meanwhile add warmth, as does the external brickwork.

 

The overall effect is modern and sophisticated yet comfortable and inviting.  Despite the space constraints, all the communal spaces feel open and connected and add to the house’s sociable family-friendly vibe.

 

“Working closely with Platinum Building, we were able to design a home that will appeal to the target market and align with the client’s development goals,” says Mr Bush. “The design combines architectural integrity and design quality with financial benefit by catering to a wide range of prospective buyers.”

 

Architect: Space Design Architects

 
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