Transparency and privacy were important considerations in the design of a knockdown and rebuild house in suburban Melbourne. Owners Daniel and Lidia Wong invested several years in the planning and design of their home nestled on an 880-square-metre plot in the Melbourne inner-city suburb of Kew. A real dream-come-true for the Wongs, the home is an expression of their passions, desires and aspirations.

Aptly dubbed the ‘Piano House’ by the lead designer on the project, Virginia Blue of Blue Fruit Interior Architecture and Design, the home’s design centres around its residents’ love for music and books, with a piano room and library at the heart of the home.

With the idea of transparency strongly defining the overall design, the use of glass and incorporation of voids across all levels connect various areas of the dwelling, creating an uninterrupted flow throughout the space - both inside and out.

The challenge

The uniqueness of the home’s interiors extends to the outside with the exterior featuring a variety of rectangular shapes. This required careful consideration when it came to the choice of cladding for the facade. Building a back frame for a one-piece batten cladding solution was too complicated and would not work for the project.

The homeowners also had a specific vision for the type of privacy screening they were looking to incorporate on the windows. Continuing the theme of transparency so prevalent throughout the house, the window screening had to align with the overall aesthetic, which meant an opaque solution that obstructed the view was not an option.

“We decided to use battens rather than opacity to screen selected windows early in the project. We love the concept – it’s much nicer than looking at an opaque white surface and not being able to see outside,” Daniel said.

The solution

Initially suggested by the designer, the homeowners quickly understood the appeal of Covet’s timber look battens. Working with Covet’s team along the way, Daniel and Lidia opted for Ever Art Wood concealed fix Kabebari cladding for the facade, screening and garage door – the perfect match for all their needs.

Covet’s Ever Art Wood Kabebari 30x50 two-part batten system was the perfect solution for the job. The concealed fix profile enabled a straightforward installation while mitred joints made it easy to wrap under the feature ‘boxes’ and on garage doors to provide the finished look.

The product also lent itself perfectly to creating the kind of privacy screening sought by the Wongs – one that doesn’t obstruct the view and looks good up close. The sleek, vertical lines of the Kabebari battens in the dark, deep Kakicha colour mirror the vertical lines of the acoustic panelling inside. Pairing perfectly with the overall colour scheme, the battens also create the seamless inside-outside flow that the owners desired.

But the Wongs aren’t the only ones pleased with Covet’s Ever Art Wood Kabebari battens; since the installation, many builders driving past the house have stopped to ask about the product.

Covet’s Ever Art Wood Kabebari battens fire rating: Performs well when tested to AS/NZ 1530.3 (spread of flame / index 0) and AS/NZ 3837-1998 (result / Group 1).

Photography: James Park