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House in Silhouette by Atelier red+black

By Courtney Constable


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In the beautiful, sprawling suburbs of Berwick, Australia, innovative designers and architects at Atelier red+black recently completed a family home, the House in Silhouette, that is nothing short of stunning.

The site upon which the house sits is an impressive slope of 1.6 acres. It sits on the edge of a city, close enough for great access to amenities, but far enough outside the busy limits to feel a bit like a calm escape. The size of the plot and the new home that sits upon it is perfect for a small hobby farm, or perhaps ownership of a horse or two!

The natural beauty of this piece of land encouraged designers to build the new home without actually interfering with it as much as they possibly could. They sought to create an experiential dwelling that fit with its slightly countryside setting but that still provides a contemporary influenced lifestyle for the young family moving in.

The result was a durable and comfortable Australian house with a farmhouse chic aesthetic. It possesses two distinct volumes with a recessed hallway link between them and gables outside. The clean looking white painted brick found in the facade is neatly accented with dark steel elsewhere in the frame and furnished features. That playful contrast of light and dark is a theme you’ll find all throughout the home, which helps blend it more subtly into the countryside.

Flexibility, functionality, and free space were central tenets when it came to planning the home itself and how it might be used. A sense of luxury was requested for the retired owners, but style, diversity, and simple use were also required for multi-generational extended family who might live there intermittently throughout the year.

As far as bedrooms are concerned, the occasional residence of extended family was accounted for in the smaller gabled wing of the house. Here, three comforting and sizeable bedrooms were built with various branches of the family in mind and set behind sliding doors that can be thrown open for welcoming space and flow or closed off when the wing isn’t being used.

Flexibility within certain spaces was also prioritized during the design and construction process. The goal was to provide all different family members present with the freedom to use the room how they need or please at any given moment in order to create an overarching sense of satisfaction to everyone in the space on any given day.

Designers wanted to be able to present the family with a house that they could somewhat mould, nest into, and make their own over time, rather than just giving them a rigidly divided structure with specific functions limiting the way each room might be used. They wanted to provide open, comfortable rooms that might be used for work, play, study, relaxation or nearly anything else interchangeably.

Views of nature and the presence of light play a large rope in the experience of the home as well. Rooms and windows were purposely situated to ensure that each room in the house gets some kind of green scenery in one direction or another through the high, clear windows. At the back of the house, natural light was actually prioritized so highly that a small “light courtyard” was built specifically to make sure the family room stays adequately bright.

This additional small courtyard was not just wasted space or single function! Designers saw it as a light source and an opportunity for additional garden space! They used the courtyard to incorporate more greenery and also the presence of bluestone, which is a reflection of its natural occurrence in the landscape around the house and Berwick’s history of quarrying the stone in past decades.

Photos by Peter Bennetts

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About Courtney Constable

Courtney has over five years experience as a writer, editor and consultant who specializes in architecture and home interiors. She has contributed content to HomeDSGN since 2018 and her work has also appeared on MyDomaine, Archilovers and Apartment Therapy. Learn more about HomeDSGN's Editorial Process.

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