Inarc Architects Director Reno Rizzo designed a home on a relatively modest sized suburban site in Melbourne to accommodate three generations of a family. The project was particularly challenging considering the brief that also sought a home office, bedrooms for guests and grandchildren, garaging for five cars, living space, and a bedroom suite on the ground floor with multiple garden outlooks.

Reno applied clever architectural design principles to create this beautiful new home in Melbourne’s inner eastern suburb of Armadale, accommodating all the requirements across three levels including a basement. Designed around a tightly planned central courtyard, this understated home presents a picture of calmness and elegance thanks to the careful selection of materials.

Located in a streetscape of mixed architectural heritage, Inarc’s material choice of brick wall cladding and metal roof sits well within the heritage surrounds, while the home’s crisp articulation and massing transcends it into a more contemporary style.

The owners chose Petersen’s K91 handmade bricks for their new home, having seen the pale grey bricks extensively used on their trips overseas. Inarc agreed with the selection and installed Petersen K91 bricks measuring 528 x 108 x 37mm in the construction.

The clients are really happy with the design outcomes. Though the house is rectilinear, the bricks give it an unexpected softness and even texture, thanks to the very monochromatic pale grey palette, says Reno.

Reno also agrees with the overall perception about Petersen bricks. He particularly likes the handmade aspect of the bricks with their bumps and lumps. As Reno says, “Even though it looks like a nice flat plane that’s very uniform and textural, there is actually quite a bit of uncertainty about it, which is good.”

Inarc has used Petersen bricks extensively both inside and outside the house. Outside, the bricks are used in a more robust manner with the grey tonal material palette of handmade Petersen bricks, stained grey timber and zinc delivering an unexpected monochromatic material refinement. On the inside, the palette has been diluted with white battened walls and oak flooring, giving an effect that Reno describes as very warm, and almost velvety.

Summing up his views on the project, Reno says the house offers all the benefits of a freestanding, large family home on a modest site, but with an understated feeling of high quality, without being over the top.

Handmade Petersen bricks are available from Robertson's Building Products Pty Ltd.