Situated on a tree lined South Yarra street, Caroline is a delightful tale of two houses with its complementary yet contrasting material palette.

Cleverly designed by Cera Stribley Architects to make the most of a compact site, Caroline appears effortlessly large, complete with generous proportions, opulence and stability. The bold, angular linear lines and raw material palette seen outside are in striking contrast to the stark, sculptural design within as one steps in through the grand entrance of this three-bedroom home.

“Our clients didn’t want anything over the top or lavish, and they knew they didn’t need a big house, but they wanted a nice house. So there was a focus of quality over quantity, and you can see that through our use of materials,” says Dom Cerantonio, one of the two principals of Cera Stribley Architects.

In fact, it’s the material palette that brings these two tales, rather personalities to life. On the outside, the house features a raw palette of handmade Petersen bricks, combined with black sheeting with a custom metal profile, along with black vertical batons for privacy screening on this tight site.

“We wanted quite a strict linear, cold metal to contrast against the warm tones that the brick was giving us, and then that verticality tied into the batons we used for the screening. So you get this kind of black box that’s got a very strong linear nature to it. And that clean crisp detail contrasting against the brick is a really nice relationship,” Dom explained.

For Dom and his team, the choice of brick for the façade was an easy call. “We love it. It’s a simple material but those particular Petersen bricks are exquisite and if you can use them correctly, they just create a beautiful façade that’s timeless, and that’s something we focus on in our architecture,” Dom continues.

“It’s the texture we love; the variation in colour and texture that you get in the brick I think is second to none. It’s just a beautiful material to work with,” Dom reflects.

In line with his client’s preference for design modesty, the material palette in the home’s interior is a simple white plaster. When applied to the open spaces and sculptural forms of the interior design, it looks exquisite - the grand entry being an example. A double height void and the curve of the spiral staircase immediately draw you into the living space, sending your eye skywards to the elongated window. It’s a beautiful bright welcome, and creates a light-filled, refined place for the owners to call home.

Though bricks are not part of the internal material palette, the architects used setbacks with brick on the outside, which was like using the brick internally without being actually inside. The setbacks provide a beautiful backdrop to many rooms, cleverly bringing the two stories together.

Needless to say, Cera Stribley’s clients absolutely love Caroline. Their previously tumble down house has been cleverly transformed, creating a stunning, fresh start for the next chapter of their lives. And, with its timeless, uncomplicated design, Caroline is sure to be enjoyed not only by its current owners, but also by many generations to come.

Image: Photographer: Emily Bartlett Photography; Styling: Neighbourhood Property Styling