On a 667m2 block in the Perth suburb of Cottesloe stood a 90-year-old home beyond repair.
David Groom owned the block for more than 15 years and always intended to build on it. After spending 11 years in Victoria, he returned to his home state of Western Australia to create a residence featuring Australian hardwood timbers, inside and out. The concept began to take shape in 2012, with a relatively unusual construction method at its core.
“I was involved in commercial construction and used a lot of concrete tilt on the site, which you don’t often find in residential projects. Typically, in a residential setting, precast concrete panels or an in-situ pour may be used. We turned the site into one big casting bed,” says David.
After levelling the site, which was more than two metres higher at the back compared to the front of the property, retaining was put in place. A casting bed was laid over the whole site and then a number of large concrete panels were prepared and stacked.
Considering his father was a furniture maker, David grew up knowing timber and wanted to integrate as much wood as possible into the build. This material would also help to soften the appearance of the concrete structure.
Boral Timber cladding was chosen as the main feature of the home with an estimated 260 square metres applied horizontally to the two primary building components, which sit on either side of the pool area. This lightweight floating material balanced the concrete and was pre-oiled before application while particular care was taken in choosing the boards to ensure the natural colour variations linked well together.
“We wanted to retain the natural colour of the timber, rather than change the colour with any pigment finishes. We also looked at composite cladding products but nothing compares with the natural beauty of timber,” David says.
“The colour and consistency of Blackbutt is great. It has a nice golden look, not too yellow, brown or red. It’s also very durable in terms of weathering, and offers termite resistance and fire resistance.”
Structural hardwood was used as vertical screening on the east, north and west first floor faces. The 3.6 metre lengths of timber provide privacy and shade from the outside while creating a scenic view when looking out.
On the eastern balcony and the kids’ play deck, 127mm wide Boral Blackbutt decking has been installed. The vertical screening and door framing was cut and fitted on site using Boral Blackbutt F27 structural hardwood. Additionally, around 120 square metres of the internal floor plan features Boral Blackbutt 14mm overlay flooring, creating an aesthetic connection between the interior and exterior zones of the home.
“Lighting was a significant part of our architectural and interior design. There is extensive use of light strips inside the home to wash over and highlight the natural timber, and external up-lightings showcase the timber day and night,” David says.