With over 20 years experience in architecture, urban design, master planning, and interiors Webber Architects seriously know their stuff. We asked the team at Webber Architects about their design choices for one of their latest, and in our opinion most dynamic, residential projects.
Earp Bros: What was your brief for this project?
Webber Architects: Webber's brief for this new home was for a clean, modern aesthetic with functional and timeless finishes for a busy and vibrant family home. The form of the building was not to be a perfect square and the client was open to consider various materials.
The client had previously built a home with crisp white/cool interiors and felt comfortable with this aesthetic but felt they wanted to bring warmth and natural elements in with this build so we set about addressing both.
Earp Bros: What is your design approach and philosophy?
Webber Architects: Webber's philosophy is to achieve a design solution which efficiently uses the available space to conceive an aesthetically simple and practical solution for construction. We merge architecture and interior design to produce a workable and functional layout with an overall sense of openness and light. We strive to create a space which captures our client's vision, services the needs of the building inhabitants and becomes a positive influence on the wider community.
Earp Bros: What does your design process look like and how does it evolve throughout a project?
Webber Architects: The design process starts with a series of sketches outlining the approach to site, brief and context which are used for discussion with the client. Whilst at this stage we not only consider the site arrangement, but also assess how each individual room will work. Furniture layouts, wet areas and general room arrangements are important to consider along with a sense of what the materials could be. The design process normally takes a series of meetings to confirm the approach during which time we set about creating a storyboard of images, finishes and colours that address the concepts posed in the brief. This board contained images of crisp white interiors that where given a sense of lux and subtle warmth with pale to mid-toned timbers, soft patina concrete and splashes of brass. We found the blending of these textures created a timeless aesthetic not dependant on trends. This storyboarding became the reference point throughout the build and remains a reference now throughout making further furnishing selections.
Earp Bros: What were your sources of inspiration when designing this home?
Webber Architects: The corner site gave the opportunity to play with the client’s idea of incorporating various angles. Previous work with simple plan arrangements drove the two rectangular forms. Their position on the block wrapped around the frontage whilst trying to take advantage of the northern orientation. Linking the forms then gave a common angled form as requested by the client. This united form then gave us the entry and stair thus separating the house into a wonderful division of zones.
Public and private areas as well as the parents’ and kids’ retreat were able to be designed as independent spaces however the finishes were used as the common link to provide cohesion and flow. We drew on this geometry throughout many areas in the home, from the linear nature of the external cladding and bespoke joinery detail, to the angular glass supported staircase and feature lighting selections. All of this is then softened by the natural patina of stone, concrete and ageing brass.
Earp Bros: You have used an array of varying textures throughout this project. How do you know that a bold choice, such as using our Wood Wall Pure as a feature wall in a bedroom, will pay off? Can you give us a run down of your surface material selections and your thought process behind these choices?
Webber Architects: Air Slate and Woodwall: The client had a preference for the sturdiness and texture of natural stone throughout the build and we were able to bring this into the fireplace on the lower level and some external areas to great effect. However on the upper levels we were presented with engineering constraints which lead to the need to source lighter weight options. Air Slate for the upper level fireplace addressed these constraints perfectly and created a slick yet inviting surround for the fireplace in the parents’ retreat. The request for stone within the main bedroom also presented weight issues on the upper levels so Woodwall became an obvious choice. The soft patina of the tumbled wood, arranged in a layout reminiscent of stacked stone was able to achieve the brief, provide a warmth that linked to the use of timber throughout other areas of the home and provided an interesting focal point of the main bedroom.
Large format concrete look tiling throughout: We made the decision to stick with the one range of tile throughout the interior and exterior living areas as well as all bathrooms throughout the home. Due to the ability to select a number of formats within the one tile range at Earp Bros this look was achieved flawlessly. Our intent was to give these areas the feeling of being wrapped in soft concrete tones but we needed the serviceability and practicality of a porcelain tile. Had we chosen polished concrete for the living areas, there would have been a slight variation in the look from inside to outside as well as a need to have a different finish in the bathrooms. The decision to tile allowed for absolute cohesion and flow.
Earp Bros: What is your impression of the surface materials now they are installed and part of the finished design?
Webber Architects: The surface materials within this home link together in a way that provides a comfortable aesthetic. Whilst all of the surfaces within the home are interesting and visually appealing in their own right, there is no element screaming for attention from the other making them easy to live within.
Earp Bros: What was it like to work with Earp Bros on this project?
Webber Architects: We’ve worked alongside Earp Bros on many builds over many years in both Newcastle and Sydney and have always found the Earp Bros team to be an asset to our design process. When making finishes selections it is important for us to include products of premium quality, that are produced ethically and are going to meet the expectations of a discerning client. The products available from Earp Bros achieve this goal. The team's technical product knowledge in the initial selection stages, through to the ability to support the build process with timely delivery have always made them a pleasure to work with.
Earp Bros: What is your favourite part of this design?
Webber Architects: Our client's love and appreciation of the finished product is always the favourite part! To see their pride in a home you’ve helped make a reality for them is the absolute goal.
In regard to a favourite design element, we have so many! The natural light throughout the residence is beautiful, in particular the skylight over the ensuite shower. This came at the request of the client and has been incorporated into the design to give maximum light into the ensuite space, the effect is as if you are showering outdoors. We are also proud of the sense of privacy created on an exposed sweeping block as well as the serenity and flow created by the subtle and refined palette.
Interior/Architecture: Webber Architects
www.webberarchitects.com | @webberarchitects
Photography: Alexander McIntyre Photography
www.alexandermcintyre.com | @alexmcintyre_photography