A Crisp, New Home Rises Around an Existing Pool in Australia

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By Michele Koh Morollo
This Brisbane cottage was completely redesigned and expanded to make the best of an existing pool on the property.

Australian architect Salvador Farrajota teamed up with his friend Brayden Larkin, founder of builder Zephyr Industries, to help him and his wife Jess create a simple, low-maintenance, 4,090-square-foot family home that’s ideal for entertaining their family and friends.

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Two white, triangular forms are hinged together by a black, central corner with a glazed entry.

Two white, triangular forms are hinged together by a black, central corner with a glazed entry.

The Larkins found the site in the Brisbane surburb of Wavell Heights. It had an existing cottage, located close to the street, with a large setback at the northern boundary that was ideal for subdividing—and able to accommodate a new build at the rear. 

"Once subdivided, we were left with two pad levels to work with, as the rear section of the site was raised with an existing pool," says Larkin. "The new house was to be designed split-level, and around this pool."

A glazed door offers a peek into the home and provides a break from the black-and-white exterior.

A glazed door offers a peek into the home and provides a break from the black-and-white exterior.

 "The main challenge was access via the narrow driveway easement—particularly as the concrete truck wasn't able to reverse in, so the concrete had to be pumped a long way to the slabs," says Farrajota. 

 "The main challenge was access via the narrow driveway easement—particularly as the concrete truck wasn't able to reverse in, so the concrete had to be pumped a long way to the slabs," says Farrajota. 

The garage doors are finished in the same painted cedar cladding as the external walls, helping them seamlessly blend in. 

The garage doors are finished in the same painted cedar cladding as the external walls, helping them seamlessly blend in. 

The new program now includes large, open-plan living and entertainment spaces oriented towards the pool; a separate, private area for the bedrooms; and a large garage. 

Polished concrete floors were used for the lower level, and durable wool carpet was used on the upper level.

Polished concrete floors were used for the lower level, and durable wool carpet was used on the upper level.

Flush-set plasterboard walls and ceilings reflect the clean, white weatherboard cladding used externally. 

Flush-set plasterboard walls and ceilings reflect the clean, white weatherboard cladding used externally. 

"The house itself is almost completely hidden form the street; however, the black driveway, entry gate, and street signage denote their own section of streetscape, drawing the eye down the long access driveway to the two-story, weatherboard- and timber-clad form of the gym and guest bedroom above," says Farrajota. 

The kitchen, which features Smartstone engineered quartz countertops in Calacutta Blanco, hides a walk-in pantry.   

The kitchen, which features Smartstone engineered quartz countertops in Calacutta Blanco, hides a walk-in pantry.   

Alspec Aluminum and Dowell Windows products facilitate a strong indoor/outdoor connection. 

Alspec Aluminum and Dowell Windows products facilitate a strong indoor/outdoor connection. 

Architect Salvador Farrajota chats with homeowner and builder Brayden Larkin.

Architect Salvador Farrajota chats with homeowner and builder Brayden Larkin.

Timeless and cost-effective materials like concrete and timber combine with white surfaces on the interior, complementing the simplicity of the facade.

Salvador Farrajota and Brayden Larkin sit on the concrete stairs that lead up to the living areas.

Salvador Farrajota and Brayden Larkin sit on the concrete stairs that lead up to the living areas.

The concrete stairs and burnished concrete floors throughout are complemented with Tasmanian Oak stair treads and balustrade details. 

The concrete stairs and burnished concrete floors throughout are complemented with Tasmanian Oak stair treads and balustrade details. 

Forty-six feet of bi-fold glazing fully open up the living spaces and bar to the existing pool and lawn. Though surrounded by neighboring houses, the site itself enjoys a good level of privacy thanks to palm trees to the north and west. 

In the kitchen and bar, gold elements and fixtures break up crisp, white surfaces.

In the kitchen and bar, gold elements and fixtures break up crisp, white surfaces.

A separate bar looks to the gazebo and pool, and hides a powder room. 

A separate bar looks to the gazebo and pool, and hides a powder room. 

Upstairs, the private spaces comprise four bedrooms and a separate lounge.

Upstairs, the private spaces comprise four bedrooms and a separate lounge.

According to Farrajota, the floor plan resulted from a simple and logical allocation of spaces: public areas are located on the existing, raised pool pad; the garage and service areas sit on the ground level; and the private rooms are above the service areas, separate but connected to the public areas via a concrete-and-timber entry stairway. 

Shop the Look
The ensuite master bedroom has a wrap-around wardrobe. 

The ensuite master bedroom has a wrap-around wardrobe. 

Dark, full-height tiles create a dramatic backdrop in the twin shower room. 

Dark, full-height tiles create a dramatic backdrop in the twin shower room. 


Bayview TCE floor plan drawing

Bayview TCE floor plan drawing

Project Credits: 

Architecture: The Artificial /@theartificial

Builder: Zephyr Industries / @zephyr.industries

Structural and civil engineering: BG Group

Landscape, lighting, cabinetry, and interior design: The Artificial and Zephyr Industries 

Artwork: Leigh Gordon 

Photography: Andy Macpherson; @andymacphersonstudio