Handmade Petersen bricks from Robertson's Building Products were cleverly combined to create a unique look for a double-storeyed home in Woollahra. Designed by Sam Crawford Architects with SQ Projects serving as builder, the newly renovated home has achieved a stylish, yet practical new look that will be enjoyed by the homeowners for many years to come.

The renovation involved the transformation of an 1860s stone cottage with a 1970s extension into a stunning four bedroom, four bathroom contemporary home with central and rear courtyards on all sides and private bedrooms on the upper level.

Petersen bricks in two colours – red and cream – were used separately to help break down the large scale of the house. While Petersen D34 red bricks were installed for the garage and overhead guestroom on the street front, Petersen D71 cream bricks were used for the house façade at the rear. The choice of two different brick colours creates two distinct looks – one for passers-by to enjoy on the street and the other for the owners and their guests to savour from the rear courtyard and entertaining area.

The owners, who have renovated a few properties in their lifetime, wanted this renovation to be the final one before they headed towards retirement. Still enjoying an active lifestyle, they sought a home that was easy to care for, and also ideal for entertaining friends and monitoring their grandchildren’s whereabouts through open, flat living spaces. Essentially, the owners wanted a timeless, yet practical design that would support their lifestyle.

Given the brief for the home renovation, architect Sam Crawford saw bricks as the unquestionable solution. They chose the narrower Petersen bricks for their beautiful colour and texture that take the material from the ordinary into something more special.

Crawford especially loves the thin profile as it adds a beautiful element to the brick, particularly in the red bricks; when put together they hold as one mass even though they’re quite varied, he adds.

Crawford’s is a well-considered design that incorporates an interesting material palette including the handmade facebrick façade with steel detailing on the outside, along with natural stone and oak timber flooring within the home. As Crawford suggests, the most outstanding feature of the design is the “flow of space from the indoor to the outdoor on the ground floor, which works beautifully when you’re in the courtyard. It feels like a protected space, but you’ve got that view through”.

But what clearly sets this project apart is the creative Petersen brick combination, and the way the blend of colours and textures creates two beautiful and distinct storeys that simply light up the entire home from any angle of view.

Photographer: Ben Guthrie, The Guthrie Project