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Urban oasis – Masonry Design Solutions

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Karaka show home by Masonry Design Solutions

Urban oasis – Masonry Design Solutions


Long, narrow sites may not have a large street frontage, but they can reveal hidden delights within.

This new Karaka show home, designed by Mark Wilson of Masonry Design Solutions and built by Frame Homes, shows just what can be achieved with a little lateral thinking.

Rather than present a long, narrow building along one side of the block, Wilson designed three linked pavilions to step back from the street, semi enclosing a landscaped outdoor living area.

For further visual interest, he added gabled roofs and incorporated a mix of masonry and timber-framed, cedar-clad structures. The front pavilion, which accommodates the garaging and master suite, and the central living pavilion have a solid masonry construction with timber infill panels, while the rear bedroom wing is a cedar-clad volume.

"Mixing weatherboards and masonry gives the house a strong, textural look and provides bold colour contrasts, especially with the off-white joinery," Wilson says.


The roof features Horizon concrete shingle-style tiles in the colour Zambuca, from Monier Roofing. This roofing is a clean-lined, flat concrete roof tile designed to create a crisp, streamlined appearance. It incorporates A-line ridging and barges to reinforce the look.

"On this house, the roofing is integral to the design," says Wilson. "It needed to impart a character that would be in keeping with the gabled pavilions, and it needed to be a dark colour that would complement the walls. The Horizon tile has the exact profile we wanted, and the colour is a perfect match for the monochromatic look of the cladding."

The Horizon tile is available in 12 colours and is backed by Monier's 50-year performance guarantee.

"Durability and low-maintenance materials are key features of every house we design, and the Karaka project was no exception," says Wilson. "Concrete roofing gives us the long life we require for all our homes – it is another bonus for the future homeowner."

Material selection also determined many of the special features on the interior. Copper mosaic tiles from Masonry Design Solutions create a dramatic fireplace surround in the family room. In the more formal living room, dark oak panelling provides a sophisticated look.

Wilson says the home features three gas fireplaces from Real Fires. In the family room, the Minimal 1000mm-wide gas fire has a custom-designed copper fascia to match the wall.

A similar fireplace with a stainless steel surround features in the living room, while the outdoor room features the Outdoor fireplace from Real Fires. All the fires can be operated by remote control.

"Everyone loves sitting around a fire," says Wilson. "I specified fires with the look of natural logs and coal. These provide all the comfort and aesthetics of a traditional wood fireplace, but without the hassle."

Wilson says he chooses products from Real Fires for his new home projects for a number of reasons, including the wide range of fire sizes and styles.

"I also appreciate the quality of the service provided by Real Fires and the back-up."

The home features additional radiant heating – to create a consistent ambient temperature an underfloor water-reticulated system from Champion Heating runs right through the interior. A thermostat controls the temperature in different zones, switching these on and off to ensure an even, comfortable heat throughout.

An oak engineered floor, supplied by Timber Floor Solutions, was chosen for the family room. This was stained to a rich brown to complement the copper fireplace surround.

"The kitchen cabinets are also dark timber, and we added a bronze mirror splashback to enhance the warm look of the interior," says Wilson. "Similar bronze mirror panels feature behind the shelving on either side of the fireplace in the formal living room."

To contrast these darker elements, walls are painted in a range of light shades from the Resene White Pointer range. These include Resene Half White Pointer and Resene Triple White Pointer. The walls themselves feature Gib linings.

The furniture also sets this show home apart. Wilson says all the furniture was custom manufactured by David Shaw Furniture, including the sofas, armchairs and dining chairs and table.

"I wanted something a little vibrant and fun, but didn't want it to be too loud," he says. "Textilia fabrics were chosen to strike the perfect balance – they create a lively look that is also warm and inviting."

First published date: 19 June 2013

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