Birdwood St, Balwyn Interiors: Fiona Lynch
Photographs: Sharyn Cairns

Birdwood St, Balwyn

This striking brand new home was completed in 2015 by owner-builder MB Construction Group Pty. The brief for architect Chris Viola was to incorporate precast concrete panels, plentiful glass, an entry via the garage, and a view of the pool from the living spaces. All of this was achieved and much more.

When the site was purchased it contained a 1920's house that the new owners intended to renovate. However this soon evolved into a complete demolition and new build. The result is a stunning house that maximizes space and light, and provides every modern convenience a family could desire.

The exterior of the house combines zinc corrugated cladding, concrete precast panels softened by warm timber garage panels and front door. The house exterior is superbly complimented by landscape architect Ben Scott's masterfully created gardens. In particular, recycled bricks have been used to great effect in the front path, door entry, and in a unique low fence constructed in an artful geometric pattern.

Entering the house you are immediately exposed to the expert layering and depth of texture that interior designer Fiona Lynch has brought to this project.

On your right upon entry is a spare bedroom and bathroom featuring generous use of Elba marble. On the left hand side of the entry hallway, clever use of grey painted black butt timber paneling with expressed lines and grain provides interest and texture. A courtyard containing oversized stepping-stones and a Canadian maple brings in natural light (both upstairs and down) and creates a tranquil outlook from within the house. Recycled bricks are again featured as they form one of the walls of the courtyard.

The challenge of creating an attractive stairwell has been achieved in this house through the use of coloured glass panels and steel wrapped in timber. The stairwell is situated between the study and living area and leads both down to a wine cellar and up to three bedrooms (all with ensuites) and a retreat area. It is up here that you get to appreciate the dramatic 6.5 metre high void above the dining area.

The owners nominate the kitchen as one of their favourite areas of the house and it is easy to see why. It contains a grandly proportioned Elba marble island bench. The splash back comprises rectangular glossy grey tiles cleverly laid vertically with a three quarter join for added interest. A window splash back is also featured and provides depth with lovely glimpses of the greenery beyond. Touches of aged brass appear in the kitchen detailing and nearby shelving. There is also a generous butler's pantry with added storage and preparation space.

The living area contains cabinetry incorporating more painted timber paneling, marble and brass accents. Artfully selected Space furniture complete the room. In particular, it is hard not to admire the glamorous mirrored coffee table at the heart of this room.

The living/ kitchen/ dining area all look out onto an inviting alfresco dining and pool area. There is seamless flow from inside to outside living. The outdoor entertaining area features an outdoor kitchen and alfresco cantilever roof.