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Elmie Street, Hawthorn


Finished in late 2004 this house is the newest on the Urquhart Estate (by at least 60 years!) and is adjacent to the oldest house, the National Trust listed Auburn House (circa 1850s). The opportunity to undertake a development of this nature is very rare in an area such as the Urquhart Estate and the owners have opted for an innovative and non-traditional design. Construction took 12 months to complete. The brief to the architects was to build a house that the owners and their young family could grow into. This is reflected in the dual staircases and multiple living areas.


To the street the home is striking with red and black brickwork inspired by the ornate brickwork that features in the Auburn Uniting Church to the north. The design was a collaboration between architects Bill Nankivell and Michael Larionoff. Nankivell (an award winning architect) and Larionoff have combined to deliver to the owners a practical, light-filled and extremely comfortable family home. The detailing is both clever and subtle.

The Inside

The imposing aluminium clad front door opens to a dining and gallery space. The artworks are all 1970's era. Adjacent to the dining area is a sitting room with open fireplace. The flooring, as with the timber deck, is spotted gum which, along with the pine cabinets, adds to the warmth of the house. The front stairs are encased in angular glass which enhances the feeling of light and transparency through the western end of the house.

The kitchen is simply styled and suited to the needs of the owners' family. Adjacent to the kitchen is a practically proportioned laundry and pantry area. Reconstituted stone is used extensively both inside and outside the house reinforcing the simple lines and the merging of internal and external areas. At the eastern end is a children's playroom and television/home theatre area.

The children's area has its own staircase to the first floor and the children's bedrooms. The western stairs open to a spacious hotel suite-style parents' area with an open air western cedar clad sun deck. The deck has a large west-facing window with views to the City.

The bathrooms are styled with feature full-length shower mirrors which add to a sense of space.

The balance of the upper level comprises a guest room/study area and three children's bedrooms each with an adjoining bathroom.

The outside areas include a lawn, vegetable garden, 16.5 metre lap pool, trampoline and deck area. The black tiled pool is integrated to the house and works as much as a water feature as a swimming pool. A Remco retractable pool cover has been used for insulation and safety. The northern section outside of the house is also clad in treated western red cedar and the black-framed windows trimmed with fins. The rear garden features a mature Japanese maple and a stand of magnolia little gems.

The house has a significant basement area that was integrated to the design with a purpose-built gym area, two car garage, wine room and generous storage and service areas.