Imagine a home designed with a series of spaces to fit different moods and situations, arranged around a pond with all the rooms visually connected to the surrounding landscape.
House Around a Pond by Carr Architects is an immaculately designed three-bedroom home that creates key connections to the landscape from every space, with a much-loved pond as its focal point.
“Every room has an aspect out to a view. We wanted rooms aligned to vistas, but also shifts in space so the experience of being in different rooms is quite varied,” explains Chris McCue, managing director, Carr.
Located in the inner East of Melbourne this house represents a new chapter in the owners’ lives. Now grandparents to grown children, House Around a Pond was all about the owners having a series of spaces that elicited different emotions, depending on mood or circumstance. There are spaces for retreat, offering a sense of peace, spaces for the grandchildren, and larger areas for lively, extended family dinners and celebrations.
The pond sits in the middle of them all, anchoring the layout and creating a sense of calm. It’s visible from the front entrance, is the step off point for the study, from the stairs up to where the grandchildren will be, and to the larger open space for the family.
And while the pond is the central focal point of the design, brick is the hero of the palette.
The team at Carr deliberated at length over the materiality in close collaboration with their client, before arriving at their selection: Krause Emperor bricks in Ghost – a particularly exciting decision for Carr associate Lucy Cuthbertson.
“We love these bricks in the office and I’ve had a collection of them sitting under my desk for so long that it’s become a long-held joke that I was building my own wall of Krause bricks under my desk. So, it was great to finally be able to use them on a project.”
“The handmade feel of them is what drew us to them the most, and the beautiful variation you get within the brick itself because it’s a natural product. We visited Stawell to see the process of how they are made, and importantly to see the variation in the colour of the brick to make sure we were comfortable with what would end up on site. And that was fantastic to see. That’s the beauty of this brick – from far away they look great and up close they also look fantastic and you can see that handmade variation in the texture, which is why we were comfortable bringing them into the interior as well,” Lucy reflects.
It was a well-considered decision with stunning results.
But perhaps what makes this home a standout is the special render wash used on the bricks to enhance the solid, monolithic look.
That was a project in itself.
After much consultation between Leone Constructions, Carr, Robertson’s Building Products, bricklayers, Krause and the clients – and multiple test patches on site – a titanium oxide wash was developed and used over both the brick and in the white sand mortar as well.
With this wash, the Krause Emperor bricks beautifully balance weight and solidity with genuine warmth and provide that critical monolithic background on which everything else plays against.
In fact, every material selected refers back to the brick. So, the remainder of the palette is calm and restrained, driven by light materials. American Oak used both outside on the entrance door and garage, and matching timber veneer inside is combined with soft greys and whites, complementing the earthen tones of the Krause bricks and stainless steel details.
House around a Pond is a standout. It exudes calm and warmth thanks to its thoughtful spatial design, the simplicity of materials and colour, and the focus on the landscape and pond. It’s no surprise that the clients love living in their new home, and the grandchildren absolutely love visiting, not just to see their grandparents, but to see and feed the 60 fish who happily reside in its namesake.
Photographer: Timothy Kaye