Australia. Rich textures add interest to a minimalist home

Whispering Smith has juxtaposed rugged reclaimed brick with clean-cut woodwork, and charred timber with mottled concrete in this modestly scaled home in Perth.

Whispering Smith, House A, Perth, Australia, 2018

Architect Kate Fitzgerald wanted a pared-back home where she and her partner could switch off from the “daily bombardment of trends and cool stuff”. The simple gabled form of the house is paired with a carefully selected material palette drawn from diverse influences such as the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, and the works of Finnish Modernist Alvar Aalto and contemporary Australian architect Clare Cousins.

At just 70sqm, the compact residence benefits from an open-planned layout that lets one space flow into the next, allowing the couple to fit in up to 30 guests at a squeeze. The only door in the house is reserved to create privacy for the bathroom. 

Gridded white tiles, pale-toned timber, recycled brick and bare concrete are used to create bright spaces and a calming ambience throughout the house, while the threshold to the outside world is encased in strips of charred timber. Storage is integrated into furniture and beneath the wooden treads of the staircase to help make use of the space. The bedroom is suspended on a platform in the apex of the ceiling and surrounded by low balustrades that offer a connection with the living space below. 

The darkened entrance to the house is recessed in one of the building's smooth concrete elevations below a translucent polycarbonate window and the pale grey corrugated roof. A lintel extends out from it to provide a spot to sit and observe the garden where fresh landscaping is dotted with mature trees, preserved from the garden of an adjoining 1950s home. 

Whispering Smith, House A, Perth, Australia, 2018
Whispering Smith, House A, Perth, Australia, 2018

The residence called House A is one of three planned for the site. The midcentury residence – House B – is currently being renovated by the practice and the bricks from its partial demolition were used to create some of the walls in House A. Another new build called House C will home a young family on the same plot.  

Project :
House A
Perth, Australia
single-family house
Architect :
Whispering Smith
70 sqm

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