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Spacious interiors link with expansive terraces to enhance an indoor-outdoor lifestyle and maximise spectacular water views

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Being able to entertain outdoors is something most people take for granted in a warm, sunny climate. So it's not surprising the most successful house designs are usually those where homeowners and guests can move freely between indoors and out.

Creating such a seamless flow was a priority for the owners of the house featured on these pages. But architect Ed Eames says it wasn't enough to simply provide a terrace off an open-plan living area. The owners wanted a continuous openingrunning the length of the terrace, so the indoors and outdoors could merge to become as one spacious living area.

Eames says the steep site meant the living areas needed to be elevated and north-facing. This arrangement not only provides the best views of the river, but also protects the terraces from the prevailing winds.

However, while the views are spectacular, they are deliberately hidden from guests arriving at the house. A stainless steel gate in the front wall opens to steps and an enclosed pathway that leads to the front door.

"At this point, visitors are usually trying to glance over their shoulder to see the view," says Eames. "We wanted to toy with their expectations – tease them a little by not revealing the magnificence of the view till they are actually inside, where it is framed in all its glory."

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In keeping with this philosophy, every room has been carefully planned to maximise a particular slice of the view. Most of the living areas are on the top floor. Here, the expansive open-plan space opens to a loggia and terrace that wrap around the east and north sides of the house.

"The owners wanted a very seamless, spatial interior," says the architect. "For this reason, the loggia was designed as an extension of this space. Sliding doors allow the entire walls to open up to the loggia, so it is effectively an outdoor room. Even the sandstone flooring flows from the inside to the out."

The loggia has a vaulted cedar ceiling that reflects an Asian influence, which the owners also desired. A deep skylight with tinted glazing allows extra natural light into both the space and the interior.

A large, suspended swimming pool is positioned on the lower level. Again, the terrace flows seamlessly from a casual living area. Even the pool water laps the edge of the terrace and an infinity edge makes the pool appear to merge with the river beyond. Blue glass mosaic tiles heighten the effect and add to the shimmer of the pool.

Eames says local height restrictions helped determine the flat-roofed shape of the house. But 2.7m-high interiors ensure the sense of space is not compromised.

"While many of the walls are glazed, there are few windows on the southeast and west sides. These walls were made as big as possible to provide plenty of space for the owners' art collection."

The interior scheme had been kept subtle to provide a neutral background for the art and the views. The neutral tones also allow for colour variety in furnishing fabrics and cushions.

In keeping with the owners' love of entertaining, the kitchen provides plenty of benchtop space and storage. An island features gold-toned granite and a rock maple veneer. The cooking centre benchtop is stainless steel.

The owners say that along with the Asian aesthetic, they appreciated the architectural style of Frank Lloyd Wright.

"We were very much influenced by the simplicity of his style and the idea of using the home's aspect to determine its flow," they say.

Other rooms in the house include a study, a library, which is adjacent to the formal living room, and a temperature-and humidity-controlled wine cellar on the ground floor.

The master bedroom, which incorporates a private sitting area, is on the first floor of the house. One window nudges the end of the pool. The master suite also includes a large, American-style wardrobe with built-in cabinetry, and a sumptuous marble bathroom. A tub beside the window affords a spectacular view of the river.

First published date: 06 December 2004

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Credit List

Architect Ed Eames, Eames & Associates (Perth)
Structural engineer BPA Australia
Interior designers Jane Agnew and Judy Maloney
Builder KT Wenham Constructions
Kitchen cabinetmaker Customform
Window and door joinery Architectural Aluminium
Stone and pool tile supplier Bernini Stone + Tiles
Pool systems Liner Pools
Barbecue Woods Cookon teppanyaki grill from Western Red
Balustrading Stable 17
Roof Kliplok sheeting from Dianella Roofing Service
Floor tiles Sabio Dorato from Bernini Stone + Tiles
Timber flooring Victorian ash from Granwood Flooring WA
Paints Exterior – Dulux; interior – Taubmans
Lighting Kreon from Illumination
Gas fireplaces Jetmaster
Home audio Sony
Furniture suppliers Space; Design Farm; Woodwork revisited; Harmony Antiques
Kitchen cabinetry Rock maple veneer by Customform
Benchtops Stainless steel from G&R Stainless Steel; island bench in Terra Giallo granite from Bernini
Sink and tapware Attitude Design Collective
Oven and hob AEG
Ventilation Qasair
Refrigerator Fisher & Paykel
Master ensuite cabinetry Rock maple veneer by Customform
Vanity top and feature walls Soraya Gold polished marble from Bernini
Shower fittings Fantini stilo
Bath Bette Starlet
Tapware Fantini stilo
Bathroom fittings and accessories supplier Attitude Design Collective
Bathroom flooring Sabio Dorato tiles from Bernini
Bathroom lighting Boss and square downlights from Illumination