A family home in Victoria’s Daylesford Region has reconciled the age-old tension between community and privacy with a coherent yet split design. Instead of succumbing to the kneejerk reflex of a single, freestanding home, Moloney Architects divided the site into two Blackbutt-cladded pavilions that appear to stand alone, but in fact live hand-in-hand.

Two Halves House is appropriately named for its divided and monolithic architectural form. The design separates the informality and community of the open-plan living zone from the privacy and quiet seclusion of its neighbouring sleeping and bathing quarters. As well as connecting with its own forms, the home facilitates a reconciliation with its bush surrounds.

“The clients wanted their internal living spaces to have a strong connection to the bush surrounds, while also providing them with privacy and a sense of seclusion,” says Mick Moloney, principal at Moloney Architects.

“The two pavilions essentially distinguish the functions of the house, splitting the public and private zones to give the main living spaces the best views and natural light access.”


The material palette is described in a design statement as “minimal and raw from the outside, but warm and refined on the inside”. Responding to its bush location, naturally fire-resistant Blackbutt is used for the exterior cladding and windows, and light-toned birch ply is used to line the interior walls and ceilings.


At the centre of the open living zone – located in the lower level pavilion – is the kitchen with a connecting ‘conversation space’.

“This [conversation] space is an extension of a friendly catch-up sitting on stools in the kitchen. We wanted to promote that encounter and extend it beyond the island bench,” says Moloney.


The living zone features large windows and a skylight that maximises natural light and views of the surrounding bush. 

Contrastingly, the upper level of the home accommodates the bedrooms and bathrooms.


“Where the public zones are open-plan and outward-facing, the bedroom and bathing quarters are designed to be compartmentalised and private,” says Moloney.  

“It also reveals something of the clients, in that they value time spent together and were looking to create a living environment which was at once sociable and welcoming, while also offering solace and seclusion.”

Two Halves House will be open to the public on the 28 October as part of the inaugural Open House Ballarat.