Project: Birch Tree House
Architects: Susi Leeton Architects & Interior
Director And Lead Architect & Interior Designer: Susi Leeton
Team: Kasia Kwik, Aldo Agustin, Conor Hanna
Landscape Concept Design: Ben Scott
Building Surveyor: Philip Chun + Associates
Builder: Visioneer Builders
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Area: 962 m²
Photographs: Felix Mooneeram, Nicole England
Our aim for Birch Tree house was to create a gentle sculptural but robust family home set amongst a beautiful restful garden. The Design Brief was to create a 5 Bedroom home with various family areas maximizing the long north aspect leading towards a beautiful pool. Our approach both internally and externally was to create a dialogue of poetic curved volumes, and light and delicate details as a background canvas for busy family life.
The volumes of space are soft sculptural forms that overlap and intersect creating workable family zones. Natural light and soft materials were selected to create a chiaroscuro of light and shade. The finishes were deliberately refined and tonal. The texture is the main player. Natural limestone, oak timber floor, polished plaster walls, and linen curtains were the understated palette.
The walls being polished concrete create a shimmering effect throughout every space. Furniture was selected for its sense of design and comfort. The beautiful cane chairs allowed views through to the pool – a delicateness along with the 3-legged Bronze table, providing a fineness to the deliberately thick and solid external walls. The gardens and the interface were of the utmost in the design. The inside became outside. The arches with eucalyptus sticks placed above provide shade to all the north windows, interface between the pool, and most importantly a sense of romance with the grape vines starting to grow over.
The interior design was deliberately subtle and refined, where texture and soft light were the major qualities. Our aim was to create a sculptural response in a beautiful restful garden. The inside became outside. Finishes and forms merge to form a background for living. By analyzing the typology of domestic living and family zones, we aimed to create a beautiful flow of space to enhance harmony, bringing family together.
Living zones are on the Ground Level and flow out to gardens and terraces; Bedrooms and kids’ Living are on the First Level and open to balconies and juliette balconies, giving extended views across. Expansive spaces and windows flood the spaces with abundant light. Birch Tree house challenges conflicting notions of modesty and luxury in an understated manner. Gentleness was key.
Natural light and soft materials were selected to create a chiaroscuro of light and shade. The finishes were deliberately refined and tonal. The texture is the main player. Natural limestone, oak timber floor, polished plaster walls, and linen curtains were the understated palette.
The walls being “Marmorino” create a shimmering effect throughout every space. Our aim was to reflect an understated house behind the large curved and inviting front entrance and oversized generous front door. We were inspired by the sculpture of Brancusi and the soft powdery finish of his marble sculpture. The walls being soft and gentle in form create ease of movement throughout the house. Therefore, the texture was most important while the materials are refined and subtle. Reflecting generosity and gentleness of space was our aspiration.