Located 100 metres from the beach in the well-heeled Perth suburb of Swanbourne, this colourful family abode ‘LittleBIG’ is home to two doctors and their blended family that includes five children.
“Three years ago, we were interviewed by an amazing determined young doctor and mum holding her and her husband’s new baby (number four) along with a folio of images with a mid-century vibe and a clearly defined design brief. They wanted something robust and flexible and built to a modest budget and tight schedule!” says the home’s architect Suzanne Hunt who recently won a commendation for the home in the ‘Interior Architecture’ category of the 2019 WA Architecture Awards.
With more than a casual nod to mid-century design, the home embraces individuality, colour and lovely connection to the garden.“Our clients’ brief was for a modest, flexible forever family home that would be beautiful and still robust enough to accommodate her busy family of five young children, two working parents that couldn’t use a drill, a menagerie of animals, and most importantly her love of colour, vintage second hand furniture and ceramics,” says Suzanne.
“The interior and exterior materiality palette for LittleBIG was designed for loads of kids and their friends who, let’s face it, have no respect for delicate architecture and interior design and their parents who have no interest in maintenance. Sustainability, low maintenance, minimalism, colour and a playful feel were the key design drivers,” says Suzanne.
“Integrating their collections from life so far was also a priority as was integrating the owners’ continuingly growing collections. The owner has a wonderful eye for reimagining and a very handy knack for finding the most amazing furniture and fittings online. I look and find nothing!” says Suzanne.
Built on an 845 square metre wedge-shaped site, the home sits uncomfortably between six large houses in a small cul-de-sac which provided a challenge for Suzanne. “We had to think outside the box but the home takes advantage of the many positives of its location including strong early sea breezes, long distance views and the sound of the waves crashing on the sand,” says Suzanne who took care to maximise every square inch of the property for the large family.
As for her favourite part of the project, Suzanne loved working with a client that was realistic with regard to budget and the site’s specific constraints. “My client realised it would require some compromises with materiality and area – there’s no wasted space, modest bedrooms, shared kids’ bathrooms and more durable teak-look Laminex rather than veneer. The house is above all else a beautiful and functional family home.”
Photography: Jody D’Arcy