A cantilevered rec room is central to this family home in Sydney by Australian architects Bennett and Trimble.
It’s common for young parents to find their homes suddenly overtaken by toys. Marcus Trimble and Matthew Bennett developed a creative solution to the problem when asked to design a two-story residence for a couple with three small children in the suburban Sydney neighborhood of Riverview.
The architects suspended a rectangular playroom over the main living and dining areas that reigns in the army of dolls and Legos while still keeping the kids within earshot. “My favorite thing about the house is seeing the way the children use the playroom, and the way they communicate with each other and their parents across the courtyard and between the spaces,” Trimble says. This unique feature, coupled with the house’s strong connection to the outdoors, contributes to an open family home that feels remarkably relaxed.
Add your own project for the chance to be featured in Editor's Picks.
During construction, workers enlivened the white, painted exterior of the 3,143-square-foot home by insetting some bricks with a rubber mallet, creating a muted pattern of shadows that dance across the façade.
Open brickwork on the cantilevered playroom makes it easier for parents to hear what’s happening inside while also adding visual interest to the white walls.
At the top of the steel staircase, a window-lined hallway wraps around the inner courtyard as it leads to the playroom. The upper level also includes the children’s bedrooms and bathroom.
“The walls are painted brick to reinforce the connection to the exterior of the house,” Trimble says of the combined dining and living area. Clad in European oak flooring, the warm space features Series 7 chairs by Fritz Hansen, a Soverin Table by Andreu World, and a comfy, leather Marenco sofa by Arflex.
The kitchen enjoys morning light from two east-facing windows: one on the first level, and the other positioned up high near the roof’s northeastern corner. A KWC Eve faucet, Franke sink, and Miele appliances complement the elegant subway tile backsplash.
Separating the living room from a smaller seating area is a polished concrete courtyard that can be used for quiet reading or shaded play on hot days. “[It] has become the focus of family life,” Trimble says.
An additional seating area on the west side of the house makes for a cozy spot to enjoy a cocktail while taking in the afternoon sun.
The bathrooms are tiled in bright blue mosaic to offset the home’s limited materials and color palette. The sinks, toilets, and tubs are by Villeroy & Boch, while the faucets and towel rails are by Grohe and Avenir, respectively.
At the back of the house, the windows are sheltered by steel shades.