The site of 340 square metres in a heritage overlay precinct has the advantageous prospect of a high corner location, with the length of the block facing due north. The concept was to wrap the living and dining spaces around with contiguous courtyard gardens.

Access to the front door is discovered through a south courtyard that penetrates the site, so that a visitor enters the heart of the house. This gives an immediate sense of internal balance, and a revelation of internal space opening to the perimeter courtyards. On the ground floor a central service core separates two lofty living spaces, encouraging circulating movement between and through them.

From the light and airy ground floor, the central stairway leads to a more intimate first floor, contrastingly cosier and made atmospheric with darker colours, lower ceilings, and deeply recessed windows having external louvres that filter the northern light.

Two large bedrooms with their own ensuite bathrooms and dressing rooms are separated by a long central study, which in turn is designed to be split into two rooms, should more bedroom accommodation ever be required. The deeply set study windows slide open to six metres wide, creating an outdoor connection at treetop level.

A shaded entertainment area was created on the garage roof, reached by a discreetly located stair from a courtyard.

Michael Jan Studio was delighted to win a Stonnington Housing Award for this project.

Completed 2003