Architect David Hartree has designed his own family home, undertaking a major renovation of a 1950s house in East Fremantle.



There were a few things the architect wanted to achieve in this personal project:

  • Create agile spaces for the family (including teenage twins)
  • Ensure the house can adapt to harsh climatic conditions
  • Celebrate salmon brick
  • Maximise views to Fremantle Harbour
  • Deliver the project on budget

In response, Hartree decided to remove the roof of the existing home and graft a new level on top which would host the primary living spaces and the master bedroom. This includes the kitchen, which features the best views in the house.


“Like most families we connect around our kitchen and food, however with a narrow frontage, locating the kitchen in the position with the best views seemed controversial at the time,” says Hartree.

In future, this level will become the parents’ “apartment”, leaving the ground level to the children.

This level has been stripped back and re-organised to create living spaces that engage with the landscape and views, as well as the passage of the sun and breezes. The entry gallery also connects elements of the home to the street, extending through the “gatho-room” to the verandah, succulent garden and pool.


“We enjoy looking out to the organic form of the swimming pool; set amongst the succulents it seems to respond to nature. I’m also pleased to have achieved a pool that is safe without the visual imposition of a pool fence,” says Hartree.

Experiments with low cost and no maintenance materials/landscaping were a signature of the project, adds Hartree, who feels that sustainable design principles should be a basic requirement for all buildings. And after all, “who has time to maintain a house and garden on the weekend?”


Builder: Hollycrest Construction 
Aluminium Joinery: Westec Doors & Windows 
Tiles: Original Ceramics 
Lighting Design: Flynn Talbot 
Light fittings: Lighting Options Australia 
Security: Intelligent Home 
Carpentry: Wayne Rogers Timber 
Stone pavers: Absolute Stone 
Miele induction cooktop 
Issey Sunshades 
Danmar Garage Doors 
Admiral Air 
TGI Steel Fabrication