Designer James Treble referenced the mixed textures of mid-century residential design to create a new display home for Eden Brae Homes in Sydney.

Located in the new estate of Emerald Hills in Sydney’s south-west, Eden Brae’s display home captures the mid-century era beautifully. Mid-century design, which dates back to the styles adopted for homes in the 1950s and 60s, has been trending in interiors for several years now; the look is now starting to make an appearance on exteriors as well.

Treble’s design inspiration came from a trip to Palm Springs, USA and a drive past the original Brady Bunch house. The outcome was Eden Brae’s Kew 27 featuring a fusion façade that mirrors the mid-century design technique of mixing materials to create interest and character, but in a more contemporary way.

Kew 27 is one of the first display homes to reference the era in such a way.

“I really liked that wall set in front of the house with the highlight window,” Treble explains. “I saw a little nod to mid-century modern in that part, so I played with that, and added in the stonework, which is a cultured stone cladding.”

Treble likens his approach to designing display homes to the way a novelist tackles a new book.

“After I have planned the exterior, it helps me start to build my character – almost like a novel,” he says. “Then I pick and choose from those elements to flow the theme inside. I start with the main floors, and I look at what that’s going to be, and flow it into bathrooms and then I start to put the layering of the cabinetry and the tapware and the door handles and the details that keep it together.

“I wanted this home to have a relaxed feeling. I see a huge influence of mid-century modern in Australian architecture in general. I really see the influence of our generation, who grew up watching the Brady Bunch, with the stone walls and a lot of mid-century elements. It just related really well to the Australian lifestyle.”

Mid-century homes were almost overwhelmingly designed with tiled roofs, often with mixed pitches. For Kew 27’s roof, Treble chose Monier’s Concrete Horizon tiles in Salt Spray colour – a lighter shade of grey that steps away from the charcoals and blacks of recent years. These light-coloured roof tiles from Monier Roofing complement the display home’s mid-century aesthetic, which relies on using a feature element such as the stone façade to be the focus.

“I talk about the roof being like a large hat,” explains Treble. “When designing a house, I am aware of the texture on the roof, to not let it dominate the rest of the home, but still be a strong support for the exterior look. The roof choice is such an important decision when you’re designing a house.” 

Treble has teamed the light-coloured roof with the Truffle brick from PGH Bricks’ Alfresco range, which also has a grey tone.

“The texture and the mortar with the off-white mortar just gave a little bit of character to help balance the tones in there,” he adds, “because really it is all about the hero of the façade being the cultured stone (the Dressed Fieldstone in Chardonnay from PGH Bricks), which dominates that front façade.” 

“I think people underestimate the power of texture on a home – having texture throughout the finishes is really important to make it visually interesting, but still somehow calm,” Treble concluded.