Take your lead from these Australian architects to give your home that certain something special.



MPR Design Group, understanding that our homes are our castles, approached this home on Sydney’s eastern beaches armed with the notion of ‘prospect and refuge’. This thoughtful design intent acknowledged the striking coastline beyond as the ‘prospect’ – something to be harnessed and celebrated – and the enclosure and comfort of the family spaces within as ‘refuge’. This dichotomy is represented through the division of space – the upper floor making uses of views, the middle floor more enclosed and private, and the lower floors housing an indulgent rumpus area formed by a cut bedrock wall enclosed in glass. This feature lends a cave-like atmosphere, while the roll of the light-filled stairwell reminds tenants of the prospective beauty beyond the walls.
This home was in the running for a 2013 Australian Institute of Architects Award. MPR Design Group (02) 8284 5777, www.mprdg.com; www.architecture.com.au.


Who says windows have to be square? Designers are altering our outlook with circular skylights. Round glazing sporadically dots the ceiling of this Melbourne home, and the intermittent circular light fittings aid in referencing the celestial form of planets and the moon. A combination of concrete finishes – block, polished and raw – add to the otherworldly feel, and graphic shadows throw enigmatic spotlights around the space.
This home is in the running for a 2013 Australian Institute of Architects National Award. March Studio (03) 9348 9199, www.marchstudio.com.au; www.architecture.com.au.


To ensure we travel safely, staircases need a certain level of enclosure. Glass panes lend a modernity and don’t impinge on sight lines. Classic balustrades, whether in streamline metals or traditional timber, also do the job, but functionality need not limit our options. Multiplicity Architects has a rare knack for recognising the potential in materials most would overlook. This penchant for appropriation has resulted in a unique casing for the staircase of this Melbourne home. White fishing net, secured to ceiling and stair, provides safety, screening and a playful talking point.
This home was in the running for a 2013 Australian Institute of Architects Award. Multiplicity (03) 9388 0790, www.multiplicity.com.au; www.architecture.com.au.


Our rugged climate can be unpredictable, and designs that respond to its temperamental nature make for intelligent homes. Rosevear Architects designed this Tasmanian home, giving special consideration to the changing weather. Two pavilions face Freycinet Peninsula to the south, and are separated by a courtyard and deck, with the structure intentionally turning its back on the sun to take full advantage of the coastal vista. The central deck protrudes out to the north, providing plenty of sun-soaked space, and a spiral staircase leads to an overhead steel deck that provides vast views in all directions. To offer compete control of privacy and exposure, full-height steel gates can blinker the external spaces as required.
This home is in the running for a 2013 Australian Institute of Architects National Award. Rosevear Architects (03) 6223 4471, www.roseveararchitects.com; www.architecture.com.au.


Traditionally our wet rooms are white, and while white doesn’t always correlate  to ‘clinical’, a departure from that  traditional design approach can produce refreshing results. In this kitchen, black oak joinery is kept aglow by the natural light from the adjacent courtyard, the visibility of the grain important in adding texture to the repetitive tone. A natural timber table acts as a refuge, and the white ceiling brightens the space. This room, a modern addition to a historical home, is the polished result of successful rule breaking.
This home was shortlisted for a 2013 Australian Interior Design Award. Beatrix Rowe (03) 8534 8070, www.australianinteriordesignawards.com.


High-key, monochromatic schemes are the current choice for many Australian homes. In this Sydney residence, Greg Natale convinces us that a lack of chroma need not equate to a home short on personality. The clients longed for a family home with a French flavour, and Natale, a well-travelled Francophile, responded with his trademark finesse. The entry is a statement in historical glamour, with classics like chequerboard stone tiles and glass panelling lending sophistication. Contemporary inclusions (a steel polyhedron pendant echoing the angles of the tiles, and modern sculptures throughout) complete the tightly styled scheme and position this home as a modern classic with a distinctly luxe edge.
This home was shortlisted for a 2013 Australian Interior Design Award.Greg Natale (02) 8399 2103, www.gregnatale.com; www.australianinteriordesignawards.com.


Buildings of historical importance call for a unique approach. Designers employ specific considerations towards scale and material choices to ensure any new work is an evolution, not a dismissal of the past. The design of this Brisbane home captures the integrity of the historical wool store apartments. Unadorned and with six-metre-high ceilings, this industrial space allowed Wrightson Stewart to design an honest interior that places focus on dynamic architectural features and heralds the structure’s innate masculinity. Creative flourishes, such as a bedroom entry customised from a meat-packing slider door, add surprising detail to this warehouse-cum-modern home.
This home received a Best of State Residential Award in the 2013 Australian Interior Design Awards. Wrightson Stewart (07) 3252 9516, www.wrightsonstewart.com.au; www.australianinteriordesignawards.com.


Paths of green weave through this residence by Splinter Society, a new dwelling built within the shell of an old warehouse. In a considered reassembly of parts from the original site, the new infill reaches to the periphery of the existing exposed bright walls. The structure, through the bold use of a grass-green finish on industrial steel, cordially invites the outside in. Even when the natural greenery beyond isn’t in full bloom, the statement of this bright hue ensures a lush outlook all year round.
This home was shortlisted for a 2013 Australian Interior Design Award. Splinter Society (03) 9419 4189, www.splintersociety.com; www.australianinteriordesignawards.com.


Homes that allow some interactivity between inhabitant and structure add an extra layer to that meaningful relationship. Wolveridge Architects considered movement and adaptability in the design of this Torquay home. Juxtaposed against the organic shapes of the surrounding landscape, the home is a series of monolithic, interconnected containers. While intentionally contradictory, the robust form of the building is softened by the fine lines of the western red cedar cladding. Screens at the building’s extremities are easily operable from inside, providing control over experience and environment, and a sense of activity to the building.
This home was in the running for a 2013 Australian Institute of Architects Award. Wolveridge Architects (03) 9486 9882, www.wolveridge.com.au; www.architecture.com.au.


Ceilings can be underutilised. A classic white ceiling will always have its place, but that great expanse also allows for some creative design solutions. No traffic means no maintenance, and lighting, both artificial and natural, can help create dramatic effects. In this home, which clings to the NSW Blue Mountains, curves and cladding meet in a whimsical union. Mimicking the roll of the hills beyond and flooded with light from the clerestory window, this sculptural ceiling sings within its context. 
This home was in the running for a 2013 Australian Institute of Architects Award. Peter Stutchbury Architecture (02) 9979 5030, www.peterstutchbury.com.au; www.architecture.com.au.


High ceilings always delight, and in this contemporary addition to a Victorian cottage a double-height space creates a real impact. The low-lit rooms of the original building evolve into this celebration of natural light and air circulation. Floor-to-ceiling glazing allows a visual connection to the garden, no matter the weather, and the upper level can applaud the view from the internal balcony. Porcelain pendant lights by Mud punctuate the space, encouraging a lofty gaze.
This home was in the running for a 2013  Australian Institute of Architects Award. Three C Architects (03) 9428 1415, www.threec.com.au; www.architecture.com.au.


Form and function are working in unison to produce  show-stopping staircases. Eye-catching steps add drama  and encourage exploration of multi-levelled homes. On the deck of this Sydney home, Tobias Partners has revelled in  the chance to create a functional work of art. In a helix of black steel, these stairs made by Kosta Engineering beg you to climb them, and their journey through a concrete frame promises adventure, and exquisite views beyond.
This home was in the running for a 2013 Australian Institute of Architects Award. Tobias Partners (02) 9361 4800, www.tobiaspartners.com; www.architecture.com.au.


Built in 1882 by shipyard owner and the first mayor of Sydney’s Balmain, Mr John Booth, this modest Victorian semi called for  a gentle touch. Following closely the aspirations of council and the desires of the client, Mury Architects designed a home that is committed to the clarity of Booth’s original idea. By extruding the profile of the original gabled terrace, the altered building sits within a geometry identical to that from 1882. This respectful approach has resulted in a contemporary interpretation of the graceful original.
This home was in the running for a 2013 Australian Institute of Architects Award. Mury Architects (02) 9810 6080, www.muryarchitects.com; www.architecture.com.au.


Increasingly seeking to blend traditional materials with modern features, designers are thinking laterally. Hecker Guthrie reappropriates brick, timber and copper – materials with history – to great effect in this Melbourne property. By straying from the traditional brick-lay pattern, this chimney breast makes a contemporary statement. UK textile designers Patternity, in a pairing with Toby Winteringham, has provided a graphic edge to a simple plywood coffee table. E15’s Habibi side table is reminiscent of ornate oriental tea service, and the polished copper finish will elegantly patina with age. The composition of these elements presents a refined room, with just a hint of attitude.
This home was shortlisted for a 2013 Australian Interior Design Award. Hecker Guthrie (03) 9421 1644, www.heckerguthrie.com; www.australianinteriordesignawards.com.


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