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Australia has some of the most eye-catching homes in the world, and 2014’s design awards were a distillation of the very best of them.


A property developer purchased 26 hectares of beachfront land in North Queensland’s Daintree with the aim of building a sustainable, robust tropical estate. The subsequent design by Charles Wright Architects is mesmerising, responding to the annual cyclone season and its associated storm surges and king tides. With a view to enhancing the site’s natural wetland environment, a cantilevered cyclone-proof structure resides over an engineered water eco-system. The insulated thermal mass of the concrete harbours the secure but open living, entertaining, dining, recreation and swimming areas. These flexible spaces centre on a feature pool and landscaped courtyard, complemented by a cascading waterfall for evaporative cooling. The design offers a resilient new sustainable tropical housing prototype for off-the-grid coastal locations. This home  won the Robin Dods Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New) at the 2014 State Architecture Awards QLD.
Visit www.wrightarchitects.com.au; www.architecture.com.au.

Photography by Murray Fredericks.


The bold structure and materials that make up the addition to this original Victorian-era cottage are comprised of off-form concrete, which reflects the narrow openings of the original masonry while providing a modern reinterpretation for a new age. Within the house, a void acts as a centralising space, through which other areas of the house interconnect. Near-raw continuous-length floorboards – finished with soap and lye – and a restrained palette of black aluminium, stainless steel and oak reappear throughout the house, creating a bond between the old and new sections. This home was in the running for a 2014 Australian Institute of Architects Award.
Visit www.nobbsradford.com.au; www.architecture.com.au.

Photography BY Sharrin Rees.


The Beach Residence is a luxury unit which underwent a modern renovation to maximise captivating views over iconic Bondi Beach. Koichi Takada Architects developed a coherent, flexible design that embraces the beach-life philosophy, utilising an innovative solution to integrate difficult structural and site elements. A luxurious, yet understated design reflects the constantly changing colour of the ocean, and was inspired by the breaking waves. The clean finishes and fresh palette of light wood, glass and mirrors allow the natural beauty of the beachfront to remain as focal point. The property highlights the allure of beachside lifestyle without interruption or distraction.
This home was shortlisted for a 2014 Australian Interior Design Award.
Visit www.koichitakada.com; www.australianinteriordesignawards.com

Photography by James Coombe.


An alteration and addition to a 1950s clinker brick residence by Architects EAT saw the team address  the home as three parts – the Lantern (existing house), the Courtyard (connecting element) and  the Brickhouse (new addition). The north, west  and part of the south facade are glazed with double-layered U-profile glass panels and, after dark, the building turns into a glowing lantern. Modelled like a Japanese Imperial villa, multiple layers of sliding doors and screens blur indoors from out. The Brickhouse opens to both the courtyard and the backyard, bringing the two outdoor spaces together under one roof. Simple brick-laid-on-edge brise-soleil screens form walls, providing access and natural ventilation to the basement garage.
This home was in the running for a 2014 Australian  Institute of Architects Award.
Visit www.eatas.com.au; www.architecture.com.au.

Photography by Emma Cross.


Telling a tale of the building’s past set the starting point for Multiplicity architects in this home in Prahran, Melbourne. It was transformed from an austere Victorian to a colourful Greek family home, and has now hit its stride as a sophisticated, eclectic modern residence.?Items have been salvaged and re-used or upgraded (retro carpet to the wall, steel screens shielding the kitchen, coloured glass panels, 1950s steel window frames), the architects saying the essence for this project was re-discovering and re-invigorating styles and fashions that are seen as passé.
This home was in the running for a 2014 Australian Institute of Architects Award.
Visit www.multiplicity.com.au; www.architecture.com.au.

Photography by Anson Smart.


The architecture, interiors, furnishing and landscape design all conspire to create comfortable and practical sophistication in the Pavilion House in Sydney’s eastern suburb of Bellevue Hill. This family home has a highly detailed and distinctly modern material and furnishing palette, utilising figured marble in the kitchen and bathrooms, customised timber joinery, and handcrafted concrete tiles. The furnishings, lighting and ornaments add colour, texture and warmth. The lightweight and expansive home features generous spaces with an intensely detailed execution, celebrating the architecture and the clients’ aesthetic in a cohesive, joyful, balanced yet effortless home.
This home was shortlisted for a 2014 Australian Interior Design Award.
Visit www.arentpyke.com; www.australianinteriordesignawards.com.


A highly practical approach to storage and joinery – including places to hide objects to reduce the necessary clutter of family life -went into creating this seamless, zen abode. The kids’ and adult studies are tucked away, but the family’s love of books and precious objects and photos remains on show. The client had a serene vision for finishes and colour, which saw architect Susi Leeton instil natural limestone to the kitchen benches for a velvety texture, and sandstone in the entry to blur the boundaries between exterior and interior. Being close to the sea, colours palettes are milky and natural, lit by skylights placed strategically to create shafts of light. All surfaces were honed or matt. Craftsmen were brought in to create various objects, including the handmade door handles, gates and rock walls. A reclaimed iron-bark pergola and large vegetable garden were integral to the landscape plan.
This home was in the running for a 2014 Australian Institute of Architects Award.
Visit www.susileeton.com.au; www.architecture.com.au.

Photography by Andrew Wuttke.


A couple with three young children owns this Northcote, Melbourne home. It was designed by Breathe Architecture, who implemented an efficient and elegant home for a humble family. Its operable screens transform connecting spaces, sectioning large areas into intimate nooks, directing views and channelling breezes. Folding and unfolding areas appear spacious, while maintaining a modest footprint. The abundance of wood enhances warmth, even on the exterior, which is made entirely of Sugar Gum timber bricks. Likewise, rather than using marble, the kitchen bench is made from recycled timber floorboards and limed plywood, which has been chiselled under the bench to allow for seating. The resulting design is contemporary, using modern and classic materials in innovative ways.
This home was shortlisted for a 2014 Australian Interior Design Award.
Visit www.breathe.com.auwww.australianinteriordesignawards.com.

Photography by John Downs Photography.


Avant-garde in design and inspired by all things Parisian, this monochromatic Brisbane apartment by James Dawson Interiors is defined by sophisticated textures and clean lines. The dated, 1970s apartment was given a floor-to-ceiling renovation in a matter of weeks. The hand-drawn layout of the black-and-white striped wallpaper lifts the space, as does the custom joinery seen in the dramatic and shapely six-drawer island with its glamorous mirrored facade and floating inverted-pyramid legs. Light floors include glam, polished white-marble-tile floor in the bathroom, and light wood flooring in the main open-plan living spaces. Round polished-brass door handles and a captivating artwork by artist Michael Nelson Jagamara ensure the owner is living within a Kodak moment every day.
This home won the Residential Design Best in State for Queensland in the 2014 Australian Interior Design Awards.
Visit www.jamesdawsoninteriors.com, www.australianinteriordesignawards.com.

Photography by Emma Cross.


The overriding ethos behind this inner-Melbourne project was to retain and re-use as much of the existing building fabric of the leaky 1960s Richmond warehouse as possible. Zen Architects was conscious, however, not to compromise on comfort or energy-efficiency. A new north-facing courtyard was inserted to allow winter sun to penetrate, and a winter garden was designed as a ‘greenhouse’, with a waterproof floor for productive gardening, and moveable pot plants that can be repositioned as required to benefit from seasonal vegetable gardening. A new mezzanine area, window openings and detailing ensure the open warehouse feel isn’t compromised. Zen successfully converted a warehouse into an eco-friendly 6.1 star-rated family home.
This home was in the running for a 2014 Australian Institute of Architects Award.
Visit www.zenarchitects.comwww.architecture.com.au.

Photography by Nic Granleese.


Located in the north-facing backyard of a family home in Coburg, Melbourne this small project was a unique opportunity for Nest Architects’ founding architect (and homeowner) to put his philosophy to the test – achieving the Australian Dream while applying affordability and sustainability. Raw and re-used materials allowed a larger portion of the budget to be dedicated to sustainable aspects of the design, such as the green roof. This roof provides insulation and thermal regulation, negating the need for air-conditioning in summer and dramatically reducing winter gas bills. The thick layer of soil and vegetation reduces urban heat radiation, encourages diversity in flora and fauna, and collects grey water. The 80sqm, four-room dwelling demonstrates that design, sustainability and affordability can work together to create a beautiful home.
This home received a commendation for Sustainable Architecture at the 2014 State Architecture Awards VIC.
Visit www.nestarchitects.com.au; www.architecture.com.au.

Photography by Brett Boardman.


Tzanne Associates stripped back an iconic 1960s architect-designed residence to its core, reworking and upgrading it for contemporary living. The enlightened owners wanted to restore the home’s essence, though with greater functionality, space, and energy performance. Originally designed by Frank Fox in the 1960s, this distinctive home was extensively and sympathetically remodelled in keeping with its mid-century character.  A new kitchen is located between the outdoor and indoor living areas, and executes natural materials such as recycled timber, stone and metal. Metalwork thoughout the house is in warm hues of bronzed brass, while recycled blackbutt joinery creates an  eye-catching curvilinear feature that houses a cloakroom, study and circular staircase.
This home was shortlisted for a 2014 Australian Interior Design Award.
Visit www.tzannes.com.au; australianinteriordesignawards.com.

Photography by Katherine Lu.


In leafy suburban Willoughby, amid the quaint, gable-fronted 1920s bungalows, sits this new-build family home by Tribe Studio Architects. The owner has MS and is in a wheelchair, and shares the home with her family. Simple geometry creates a rich and complex interior for the wheelchair-bound client, responding to the prior 1920s bungalow. During its demolition, its bricks were recycled on site to create the new walls, with the form and patterning mimicking the detail of the original house. The motif of the gable at the end of the home captures views to the surrounding landscape, inviting greenery into the house, and is a shape repeated within the interiors.
This home received a commendation for Residential Architecture – Houses (New) at the 2014 State Architecture Awards NSW.
Visit www.tribestudio.com.au; www.architecture.com.au.

Photography by Anson Smart.


An exercise in the marriage of old and new, this Sydney home by Arent & Pyke features clean, crisp interiors and playful colours and textures. The grand 1880s terrace was revamped with a decorative approach and respect for the original architecture, with a brief for ‘an uplifting home filled with colour, layered with richness and detail, anchored in the past but inherently contemporary’. The design makes the most of the clients’ furniture and art, added to with whimsical cloud-motif Fornasetti wallpaper in the master dressing room and ensuite, and a bold colour palette to respond to the clients’ much-loved Enzo Mari Apple print in the living area. The design creates a grand, vibrant home with a casual sense of family life.
This home won an award for Residential Decoration at the 2014 Australian Interior Design Awards.
Visit www.arentpyke.com, www.australianinteriordesignawards.com.

Photography by Katherine Lu.


Carter Williamson Architects sought to remedy their clients’ modest brief for this home in Annandale, Sydney. Concerned with finding ways to fill the dark, small terrace with joy and light, they presented the clients with an unusual solution; two tall, sculpted roof forms reaching up over the neighbouring wall to draw down northern light into the heart of the home. The architects refer to them as ‘light cannons’, distant relations of those found in Le Corbusier’s La Tourette. The subsequent kitchen/dining space is light and bright, with the remnants of an old fireplace grafted in like a contemporary sculpture. The material palette is simple and robust, in recycled bricks, v-jointed pine lining boards in the place of plasterboard, and hardwearing concrete and timber floors. The Light Cannon House presents a model for the material, cost and space-efficient re-use of Sydney’s terrace building stock.
This home received a commendation in the Residential Architecture – Houses (Alterations and Additions) category at the  2014 Australian Institute of Architects Award.
Visit www.carterwilliamson.com; www.architecture.com.au.

Photography by Angus Martin.


Reflecting its client’s take on an inner-city social dwelling, Blueprint Architects took to designing a pavilion extension on this Queensland abode. A series of interconnected and flexible informal and social spaces adjoin the existing residence through a joined hallway and courtyard. An adaptive re-use of an existing wooden stove, which has been given new life as an external fireplace, offers a visual and social centrepiece. A folded roof structure, along with bi-fold door for cross ventilation, welcomes natural light and breezes into the internal living spaces without forsaking privacy. The tactile palette of materials – many of which are reused – includes natural and recycled timbers, exposed concrete, stone finishes, and raw iron in a timeless Australian vernacular, with floating spotted gum ceilings throughout.
This home was in the running for a 2014 Australian Institute of Architects Award.
Visit www.blueprintarchitects.com.au; www.architecture.com.au.

Photography by Fraser Marsden.


The Loft Apartment, a restrained and delicate warehouse conversion in West Melbourne by Adrian Amore Architects, has garnered praise for its sophisticated and sculptural working of space. A limited colour palette of muted tones, plus the use of light to juxtapose soft and hard forms, helps create a truly breathtaking living experience in this former butter factory. The apartment is heavily layered with hidden components, where walls tear and bend. They converge at a sculptural stair, which twists dramatically and soars up towards a roof terrace that enjoys views overlooking the city of Melbourne. This home won The Premier Award for Interior Design Excellence and Innovation and Residential Design, and Best of State, Victoria, at the 2014 Australian Interior Design Awards.
Visit www.aaarchitects.com.au; www.australianinteriordesignawards.com