Paynesville Canal House

“The design challenge was to create a comfortable house that addressed the unique site constraints of a narrow and steep block."

The site is located on the Paynesville canals with water access. The site has an 8m drop from the top of the site to the water and averages 9m wide. As such the site presented some unique design challenges.

The house has 3 storeys with a boatshed/storage area on the lower level, living area on the ground floor with a bedroom and ensuite. A master bedroom with ensuite, second bedroom/study and living area on the first floor.

The entry to the house is down a walkway on the side of the house, where you enter via a vivid red door with a custom timber handle. Upon entering you are presented with an elegant timber stair and timber panelling to the hallway. Behind two secret doors in the panelling is a powder room and laundry. As you make your way through to the living area, the space encapsulates sweeping views to the North across the canal to the nature reserve opposite. Likewise, the master bedroom on the first floor looks North across to the lake.

The house’s street frontage is a simple combination of two forms with an angled white ribbed roof form that comes down over the white brick garage. The house somewhat “turns its back” on the street and doesn’t reveal its true nature until you enter it. The street façade is blank with the majority of the windows oriented to the view.

The building is a composition in whites and greys that relies on its forms to give it its character.

The East and West facades have simple white walls with windows punched in them, while the North façade has two dramatically cantilevered decks overlooking the view.

The interiors use a palette of more natural materials with polished concrete floor on the ground level that uses the local granite aggregate with a warm tone. The kitchen and entry have timber accents against white joinery with a floating timber bulkhead over the kitchen bench and timber panelling in the entry. The bathrooms and powder room are accented with striking black and white tiles.

The clients have often commented on how much they enjoy living in this house for its natural light, having the changing views directly accessible from their main rooms, and the fact that it feels spacious despite its small footprint.