11 October 2007

Mell Lawrence Architects - Watersmark House

Mell Lawrence Architects

Watersmark House

After hunting through John's Future House Now the other day I came across Mell Lawrence Architects. John's feature on the Wild Haire Ranch House got me curious and their Watersmark House, a combination of old and new impressed me. The brickwork is impeccable and the combination of traditional and modern design make this house special.

Combining steel, stone and wood this house, despite being a new build, has the solidity and permanentness of an established mansion house. Breaking up the house into blocks and dividing it over levels descending the slope confirms that it's something the old master builders would not have attempted. This division allows for a series of landscaped courtyards to feature off each level, tamed in comparison to the natural forest in the valley beyond.

Layout wise, this house disperses bedrooms. Master on the upper floor then guests one level below the living room, kitchen and dining. A third bedroom, above the garage a perfect retreat for a teenage child.

Facing the sun, the upstairs master floor is wonderful with views above the canopy of trees out across the valley below. To the east a walk in wardrobe with bathroom in front (surrounded by glass), to the west, the bedroom and open deck for taking in the views down the valley. Connecting these two a conservatory (covered deck) and hall. At the Northern shaded back of this floor, the stairwell with office on the landing half way down. The stairwell's special too with stair being extended to form shelves.

Heading down to the main living area the kitchen with central island has a large window for checking on the BBQ across the sheltered courtyard formed behind the garage and house.
Dining and living rooms surround, then across a glass bridge to the secluded library, with panoramic views across the valley and down to the pool below.

I think its the combination of layout, attention to detail and high stud that has me with this house.

The beacon light on the garage is great too (parting image). A lantern guiding you home up the driveway.

A note from Mell Lawrence Architects on the project
This house embraces its naturally terraced site, capturing sweeping views to the distance and intimate spaces along the site. From the main entry, the house descends down the slope, with each room inside corresponding to a "room" outside. The main living area responds to a stone patio sited on a natural terrace. From the living area, a glass bridge leads to the library that overlooks a spa pool in the grotto underneath, where guest quarters open onto another small natural terrace. Upstairs, the private suite opens onto a screened porch, then onto a balcony overlooking the library and pool. This series of small boxes above the trees contrast the larger spaces anchoring the house below. Only elemental materials – wood, stone and metal – were used throughout the house, chosen by the architect to express the qualities of an older building; substantial, grounded, and well proportioned, with textural interest flowing from exterior to interior.

via: Mell Lawrence Architects & thanks to: CYMK Group

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