Waterfall House is a spacious four bedroom house in Glen Iris, Victoria, originally built in the art deco style of the 1930s. The name is a beautiful reference to the rolling curves of the brickwork and windows of an incredible renovation carried out by Clare Cousins Architects.
Adopting the existing period house, with its quirks and character, the design team expanded and transformed a small, inward-facing two-bedroom residence into a spacious, light-filled four-bedroom home with study. What sets the house apart in the neighborhood is the cheerful celebration of art deco curves with Krause Cream bricks playing a major role.
The delightful sculptural curves of the original entrance portico give a glimpse of the new design inside. The natural slope of the site has encouraged a design that descends from the original house to the new extension containing a kitchen and dining room, and again into a sunken rear living room with dramatic floor-to-ceiling curved bay windows that warmly invite the outdoors inside, enveloping this cozy space in greenery. A much needed upper floor addition containing three bedrooms sits above this living/dining room, completing the spacious new home.
Part of the Summerhill Estate, Waterfall House’s rugged natural palette is a hallmark of Clare Cousins Architects’ designs. The brick is the hero enabling the team to achieve its design intent: To complement the existing house while retaining a character of its own.
The Krause Cream bricks, chosen by the architects, make a clear reference to the cream brick houses scattered throughout the estate and are indeed a beautiful complement.
“The color matched well and had its own character, which was really important as we didn’t want a flat cream brick; the Krause bricks have a handmade textured character that we loved. And the fact that they’re made locally in Stawell and it’s a family business, well, we like to support that too,” comments Oliver Duff, Partner at Clare Cousins Architects.
One of the most spectacular aspects of Waterfall House is the brick detailing, a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the masons at Original Projects (Zain and his team at Brick & Mortar Masonry), who spent time considerable to do more than just. Every inch of stonework is exquisite, especially the hewn stonework on the upstairs balcony.
Rich dark brown mottled gum complements the brickwork, adding warmth to the interior through the window frames and joinery, while a polished concrete floor provides the ultimate, wonderful contrast to the cream wood and brickwork. It’s an appropriate palette that celebrates while modernizing the art deco style.
What sets Waterfall House apart is undoubtedly its unique design as well as the way it not only reflects the character of the original art deco house, but also the personality of its owners.
“What was really important to the client was keeping the things he loved in the house and bringing them into the new extension – all of its original features, like the outdoor bath on the upstairs deck and the small openings between the deck and the garden below, so the result is a really nice reflection of the client in the house,” Duff remarks.
Of course the owners couldn’t be happier with the outcome and luckily they were able to move in just as the lockdown started last year. Waterfall House was (and still is) a beautiful sanctuary for its owners during the tumultuous times of 2020, providing a safe haven to work and relax in a home they absolutely adore.
Photographer: Tess Kelly