A tight and prominent corner block on a residential street in Sydney’s Balmain was a design challenge relished by the dynamic duo that is SQ Projects and Q Design. It enabled them to create a bold, yet visually stunning statement with the facade, and also allowed them indulge in a gorgeous and open, but completely private oasis within.
For Joseph Quarello, Director, Q Design, and also the homeowner, material choice for the façade was fairly easy. “We always thought we would use brick in some way, shape or form,” comments Joseph, and the most obvious place, and the best opportunity, to make a statement with the facade was with brick. Of course this required a fine balance between practicalities and aesthetics.
What Joseph wanted to do was to create a barrier to the busy streets surrounding the house: “It had to be a wall, but I wanted to make it visually interesting with a beautiful patina to it.” And so the hunt began, looking at all sorts of bricks to select the right patina, mix of colours, and that special handmade quality they sought to complement Balmain’s heritage listed homes.
Joe Sidoti, Director, SQ Projects, adds, “What they wanted was a light, neutral tone in the bricks to offset the dark of the aluminium windows and black cladding. They wanted some variation but not an enormous amount of variation.” So, when Joe introduced Joseph to Petersen bricks, the hunt was over. Petersen’s D71 handmade bricks were the perfect fit. “The bricks gave us the opportunity to really express the history of the place in a modern way as well as showcase the product itself,” remarks Joseph. “They’re beautiful, they have a lovely warmth to them, they’re light in colour, there’s so much variation in them, and the fact that we achieved some lovely detailing, it’s amazing,” he adds.
There’s no doubt that the most outstanding design element on the facade is the Petersen brick screen. “We angled the bricks in a certain way so that they have the view that the owners wanted but it also gives them a bit of privacy from the street and creates a real angular detail for the bricks, showing them off really well,” says Joe.
And if the brick screen looks amazing during the day, at night it is simply spectacular. Joseph remarks, “It looks beautiful at night when lit up when the texture and perforations become prominent”. In fact, locals comment on the bricks and that screen in particular all the time. “It’s a lovely detail that allows natural ventilation and privacy without being enclosed.”
For those lucky enough to walk past and be invited in past the private brick façade, a gorgeous oasis awaits. “It reads as a very private home on an exposed corner, but as soon as you enter, the home opens up with wall to wall glass extending out to a courtyard and pool,” comments Joseph. “I like the way it reveals itself as you move through the home, which is lovely,” he continues.
This truly is a beautiful build, both outside and in. And for Joseph, when reflecting on his choice of the Petersen D71 bricks, his response is simple, yet telling: “We were always going to use something beautiful there, and that was it.”
Architect and Builder: SQ Projects
Concept Architect: Q Design
Product: Petersen D71 bricks
Photographer: Justin Mackintosh