This Modern Dwelling Reimagines the Architecture of Suburbia
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This Modern Dwelling Reimagines the Architecture of Suburbia

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By Anna Squier
In a neighborhood of densely packed homes, this contemporary dwelling makes a bold statement that pushes the boundaries of suburban residential design.

A client tasked Sydney–based architecture studio Tzannes with creating a solution for multi-generational living in the outlying neighborhood of Matraville, New South Wales, Australia. The result is a sustainable dwelling with interconnected living spaces and seamless indoor/outdoor transitions that celebrate the warm climate. Bold in style, yet respectful to the neighboring properties, the home makes a statement that good design matters.

A bright yellow front door adds a bold pop of color to the minimal exterior palette.

A bright yellow front door adds a bold pop of color to the minimal exterior palette.

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The architectural massing—appearing as two stacked rectangular volumes—quietly references the separate, yet connected, living spaces in this multi-generational home.

The architectural massing—appearing as two stacked rectangular volumes—quietly references the separate, yet connected, living spaces in this multi-generational home.

The existing home on the site was removed, as it couldn't meet the client's needs for separation of space, comfort, flexibility, and access to light. The existing pool and expansive garden remained, becoming great inspiration for the new design. 

Open living spaces with expansive glazing open onto the backyard retreat.  A pool, deck, and garden create the perfect place to soak up the sunshine.

Open living spaces with expansive glazing open onto the backyard retreat. A pool, deck, and garden create the perfect place to soak up the sunshine.

Light-filled and airy, this two-story residence optimizes the entire site while creating an open and flowing feeling. Unique in program, the multi-generational home supports a variety of lifestyles while providing necessary privacy in an open floor plan. 

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Large openings and minimal interiors make the tropical garden and pool area a focal point.  The home offers outdoor living at its finest.

Large openings and minimal interiors make the tropical garden and pool area a focal point. The home offers outdoor living at its finest.

A large picture window in the dining room fills the space with daylight and exudes the feeling of being outdoors.

A large picture window in the dining room fills the space with daylight and exudes the feeling of being outdoors.

Large openings provide seamless connections between the backyard retreat and the ground-floor living spaces.

Large openings provide seamless connections between the backyard retreat and the ground-floor living spaces.

The parents' bedroom and en-suite is located on the ground floor, providing continuous accessibility all on one level. Additional bedrooms, a shared bath, a second living space, and a study are located on the second floor, providing a separate yet connected dwelling. This unique organization allows the family of two parents, a grandparent, two adult children, one girlfriend, and two dogs to live harmoniously in one home. 

The home features a series of interconnected living spaces, both indoors and outdoors.  An interior stairway leads to the additional bedrooms, shared bath, second living room, and study on the upper floor.

The home features a series of interconnected living spaces, both indoors and outdoors. An interior stairway leads to the additional bedrooms, shared bath, second living room, and study on the upper floor.

Minimal and sleek finishes decorate the bath interiors.  Gold hardware is a rich element that pops against the dark tiled walls.

Minimal and sleek finishes decorate the bath interiors. Gold hardware is a rich element that pops against the dark tiled walls.

Large-format tiles, a glass-enclosed tub and shower combo, and elegant gold fixtures create a luxurious bath retreat.

Large-format tiles, a glass-enclosed tub and shower combo, and elegant gold fixtures create a luxurious bath retreat.

Minimal in aesthetic, the exterior of the home makes a daring statement against the bland surrounding streetscape. The building is strategically located on the lot to reduce its impact on adjoining properties, while providing desirable sunlight and privacy for the residents. Passive and active building strategies save cost while introducing comfortable daylighting and ventilation. Building orientation, deeply recessed windows, deep overhangs, large openings, external blinds, and the selection of materials are just some of the components that increase the sustainability of this home. 

A dark, lightweight rooftop with large dormer windows sits atop a white brick base.

A dark, lightweight rooftop with large dormer windows sits atop a white brick base.

The second-floor dormers create a dramatic elevation, while also drawing daylight into the living spaces.

The second-floor dormers create a dramatic elevation, while also drawing daylight into the living spaces.

The new internal courtyard increases the livable outdoor space, while allowing for direct sunlight in the cooler months.

The new internal courtyard increases the livable outdoor space, while allowing for direct sunlight in the cooler months.

The minimal palette carries into the interior living spaces. Off-form concrete, exposed timber rafters, and white walls allow the colorful exterior garden and pool to shine. 

The open kitchen is refined and elegant with clean joinery and cabinet design.

The open kitchen is refined and elegant with clean joinery and cabinet design.

Continuously run wood slats visually connect the open living spaces while adding a warm, textural component.  Black linear pendants are a contemporary way of introducing overhead light.

Continuously run wood slats visually connect the open living spaces while adding a warm, textural component. Black linear pendants are a contemporary way of introducing overhead light.

A wood-burning fireplace and custom wood built-ins adorn the ground-floor living space.  Large openings on both sides make the interior space feel like it is part of the outdoors.

A wood-burning fireplace and custom wood built-ins adorn the ground-floor living space. Large openings on both sides make the interior space feel like it is part of the outdoors.

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Tzannes / @tzarchitecture

Builder / General Contractor: Artechne, Angel Rumliotis

Structural Engineer: SDA Structures

Landscape Design: Kate Mitchell

Lighting Design: Light:Practice, Jovica Sredojevic

Construction Manager: Chris Turner

Hydraulic Consultant: David Wood