Glebe House by Nobbs Radford Architects is filled with interesting architectural details from the awesome geometric blocks that form the facade to the stunning stairwell and the amazing child hangout under a loft space. Located in Glebe, New South Whales, Australia the pre-existing home was renovated and expanded into a modern geometric story of concrete and glass with the glazings inset to create a repeating pattern of solid and clear, light and dark. This same element is repeated within the balustrade of the staircase and the ladder to the loft.
The concrete blocks with inset glazings are not just beautiful but functional as well. With the house tightly fitted within its plot of land and both neighbours only a few feet away, the inner volumes still maintain privacy thanks to the chunky concrete elements.
From inside the home, the concrete and glass facade is just as interesting thanks partly to the creative use of lights inset into the floors of the concrete voids. The choice to not run the wood flooring into the concrete voids adds an element of excitement to the wall that might otherwise have been lost.
The social zone faces to the backyard and with the glass doors open there is an immediate connectivity to the outdoor zone. The living room is located to take advantage of that connection but the kitchen and dining areas also have easy access to the yard.
While the interior of the home exposes its concrete construction on both the walls and ceiling, the kitchen is a soft moment of clear finished wood installed with the grain running vertically. I love the way the white bar stools pop against the natural wood. Repeating the look, the dining room has a natural wood dining table with white ant chairs surrounding it.
The repeating element within the exterior wall is played up in the wood balustrade that faces the stairwell and the concrete voids of the same exterior wall are expanded upon within the large ceiling void over the living room.
The ceiling void creates a double volume space over part of the living room that is then flanked with an upstairs mezzanine as well as a window overlooking the 2nd storey balcony.
The mezzanine features a home office with a wall of storage that separates it from the Master Suite. The balcony beyond the windows are part of the Master Suite.
The stairs that lead up to the office are a wood composition of pale stairs and a mid tone balustrade. The verticals within the balustrade are staggered just like the exterior wall and within these staggers are memento cubbies that follow the line of the stairs. The craftsmanship and artistic design of this stairwell is truly amazing.
Even the underside of the stairwell is beautiful with its twist on the open riser concept by creating a pattern of open riser, closed riser, open riser, closed riser.
On the other side of the stairwell, the original home features a library with all of its original architectural details. Its quite a departure from the modern renovation, but the decision to keep the heritage of the home allows the building to tell the story of its journey from then to now.
The library is a quiet retreat where the homeowners can take some private time away from their kids and while this room does not have the views through the windows, it has all the visual interest it needs through the architectural trims and the ceiling medallion.
The kids also have their own private 2 level play space complete with its own window. I love the way the architect created storage along one wall with the ladder stairs on the side of it leading up to the loft hideout. The architect even had pot lights installed in the ceiling of the play space.
The loft hideout is a kid’s whimsical tree house complete with views to the sky above through the skylight. Here, too, storage has been created in the form of a void within the wall.
The kids play area and loft are built with the same wood as in the staircase that leads to the 2nd floor, and just like the staircase it features innovative storage compartments and repeating elements all built by a master craftsman.
All the fine woodworking custom built throughout the home is highlighted by its contrasting hue to the wood floor. Had all the wood all been the same, the cabinetry would have simply disappeared monotonously into the floor rather then singing as it does now.
Pairing all the woodworking with crisp white chairs is another way of allowing the cabinetry some space to breathe. Love it.
The same can be said in reverse. Bringing a wood element into an all white room can add life to a whitescape. Here, the only wood is in the floating vanity and other then that, the rows of thin black shelving on the wall is the only diversion from white. No accessories, no other colours, just white, a little wood, a little concrete, a little black and a lot of pizzazz.
A second similar bathroom ups wow factor with the addition of two rainshower heads in the shower stall, just awesome.
While the first bathroom may not have had rainshower heads within the shower, it does has a beautiful soaker tub overlooking the outside through a pair of etched glass windows.
Nobbs Radford Architects
Photography by Murray Fredericks