Black & White House

It’s not often that a client approaches an architect after they have chosen their cabinet maker. But in this case, the owners, a family of four including two horticulturalists, wanted to build the project themselves and selecting Cantilever Interiors as the kitchen manufacturer was the first piece to lock in.

Having led the way in kitchen design for over a decade, Cantilever have a strong reputation for design aesthetics and ergonomics, beautiful detailing and sustainable materials that suited these clients’ perfectly.

Cantilever then recommended the owners engage Ben Callery Architects to design the house. Having worked together a few times, the collaboration was built on a strong working relationship, mutual design respect and a similar sensibility – all of which complemented the clients.

The aim of the architecture was to design a space that would complement and accentuate all of the elements that are unique in these handcrafted, locally made kitchens – the materials, detailing and environmental performance.

The front half of the post war semi-attached house was retained and the bedrooms re-used. The addition is an elegant and compact L-shaped plan with the kitchen at the knuckle.

The dining space on the northern side of the house opens onto an outdoor entertaining area and living at the rear, overlooking the sort of beautiful lawn that only horticulturalists have.

A raking roof lifts up over a north-facing clerestory window to bring light and warmth deep into the house. The asymmetry in this form complements that in Cantilevers balanced elevation compositions. 

The restrained palette of materials is all black and white except for the accentuated plywood roof and windows framed in timber, complementing Cantilever’s language of all monochrome surfaces.

The raking ceiling and corner bay window are the main architectural gestures of the house, pulling light in from the side and connecting the occupant with the environment.

As with the key elements in the cabinetry, these architectural elements are accentuated and the warm timber glows in the natural light against the backdrop of black and white – and of course the green provided by the horticulturalist owners and Mont Albert’s leafy sky.

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