Rob Malter worked closely with architect Maurie Novak to realise his design objectives for the Caulfield South townhouse project. For the two townhouses, Malter prioritised design and build quality, continuity, light-filled spaces and a construction that ages well.

The site of Malter’s childhood home has been thoughtfully and creatively transformed into two spacious, light-filled four-bedroom, four-bathroom townhouses, with one of the houses to be occupied by his parents during their retirement years. Both townhouses are designed for minimal maintenance and equipped with every luxury any downsizer could wish for, including an internal lift.

The striking materials palette of Petersen D91 bricks, American Oak timber and polished concrete render exudes contemporary quality, inside and out.

Petersen bricks were a firm choice from the outset for Malter, having used them on his previous development in Orrong Crescent three years ago.

“People still call me about the bricks and I love the fact that both young and older generations love them,” he said.

“The brickwork looks fantastic; it’s definitely one of the highlights of the build. It’s the whole combination of the Petersen brick that I like – the different colour tones and how they work well together, and when the mortar is raked – it looks so neat, and the imperfections of the bricks give them character. They’ll date exceptionally well too, so we’ll end up with one of those homes that look even better through time,” Malter continued.

Caulfield South townhouses

The brickwork continues from the front façade to the interior of the home where a feature wall makes its way from the living room to the rear deck. “It’s important to have continuity throughout, and it’s nice to tie the internal to the external, so when you slide the rear doors open, it blurs the boundaries between the inside and outside,” explains Maurie Novak, director, Maurie Novak Architecture.

Dark stained American Oak is a vibrant contrast to the grey-toned bricks, used extensively from the front façade and door, to the internal flooring, door frames and joinery elements. Similarly, bluestone tiles welcome you at the door, and are used again in the backyard and internal courtyard.

While brick was a no-brainer in the palette from the beginning, the timber and render were added as the building progressed.

“The good thing about working in this way with Rob was that we didn’t decide on any other element than the bricks two years ago. We decided on the bricks and then tried a few options. We had tiles at one point, but ended up with concrete render on the first floor up against the bricks… It’s one thing to do drawings and 3D images but when you can actually see the results, and test the results on the building, it’s a lot better. Rob went to great lengths, and it paid off in the end. He got it right,” Novak explained.

One of the most creative features in this development is the internal courtyard, which welcomes light into both floors of the house. The steel-framed full height glazing was a particularly challenging jigsaw puzzle to build, given its multiple angles and outward tilting windows. But, from a practical point of view, it’s a clear winner. It breaks the house into two halves on the ground and first floor, and creates a full garden in the centre of the house to deliver a highly functional space – there’s room for a table and a sliding door from the kitchen opens right out onto it.

With such a quality, contemporary build, there’s no doubt that Malter’s parents will be more than comfortable for many years to come in Caulfield South.

Photographer: Shannon McGrath