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Inviting Light to the Forefront of the Project, this Contemporary House Features a Series of Rooms and Spaces that Connect Flawlessly to the Exterior.

Designed for a busy family of five with their fluffy canine, number 14 by Adelaide-based studio Black Rabbit serves those who live there through generous proportions and easy indoor/outdoor flow. A suitable palette of durable hard surfaces, rich with texture, and dashes of luxe materiality make this an elegant family home that performs for everyone.

The exterior of the project takes inspiration from ‘pavilions’ which allow for ‘hooped’ frames that create space in the roof form to enclose a second storey hiding within. The colour palette of black and white begins here, translating effortlessly into the interiors—with pops of colour to create fun or sophisticated rooms for each member of the family, easily changeable over the years as the family grows up. 

We spoke with the directors of Black Rabbit Architecture + Interiors, interior designer Bettina Hildebrandt and architect Sean Humphries about the project.

What was your client’s scope, and how did you translate the vision of the brief into the physical? 

Black Rabbit: To create a home that was sophisticatedly playful and a little grown up— number 14 is designed to walk in step with the busy lives of a young professional couple, their three daughters and one very cheeky pooch! The brief saw the demolition of the original house on the site with plans for a new two-storey home. 

By capturing the height, roof pitch and pitching points of the original house, introducing ‘hooped’ frames punch through the roof form revealing a second storey hiding within, we were able to achieve this in a council zone where this was historically not allowed. The form at the front of the property then bookends a modern light-filled pavilion at the rear, where dark ribbons thread their way across the façade, dividing and defining views and external spaces. Light, shadow play, textured surfaces, and massed forms are balanced with natural stone, warming leather tones and inviting fabrics, producing a series of spaces that slip effortlessly from task-to-task, and maintain a sense of sophisticated fun.

Number 14 captures the lifestyle of the young family that calls it home, making day-to-day living easy — a place where partners, grandchildren and friends will always feel welcome, both today and in the years to come.

The material palette features a mix of durable and hardy surfaces, rich with texture, and also soft and cosy textiles. Can you talk us through some of the materials? Why did you choose brick, timber floors, polished concrete, tiles, marble, fabrics etc? 

Black Rabbit: The aim was to create a family home that achieved balance between the longevity of the physical palette and timeless design. We have selected durable, classic finishes for the base build. This means the family can grow — and live up to all the knocks and bumps! As the spaces are large (to suit the family), we didn’t want the home to lose the homely feel, so using materials rich in texture and interest was imperative to keep the home feeling comfy. 

“We chose Royal Oak Floors French Grey. It was just what we needed to bring a touch of warmth to the home and the rest of the materials while still maintaining a more masculine, monochromatic feel.” — Black Rabbit Architecture + Interiors

What Royal Oak Floors engineered flooring did you use, and why did you choose that style in particular? What features of the timber did you think worked well with the rest of the design? 

Black Rabbit: We chose Royal Oak Floors French Grey. It was just what we needed to bring a touch of warmth to the home and the rest of the materials while still maintaining a more masculine, monochromatic feel. The slight grey wash really highlights the blue grey in the SuperWhite Natural Stone.  

Throughout the home there is a balance of light and dark, transitioning to darker hues or pops of colour in the private spaces. Can you tell us more about the choices behind the colour palette of the home? Did this translate into the Royal Oak Floors?

Black Rabbit: The aim was to keep the main spaces neutral and classic so that the family can dress the space up or down as they like and how they evolve over time. However, the family was keen to experiment with a little colour in certain spaces in the home. We chose to do this with paint as, essentially, paint is easily changed over after time. Being a young family, the bright pop of coral pink in the girls’ playroom suits them now; however, when they are teens, perhaps this colour might be changed to something different. The couple love the colour blue, so we selected an ‘adult’ blue for their wing to give it its own feel. 

The French Grey floors were really the connecting element between all the spaces and the slightly different ‘feels’ in each room — it works really well both with black and white, as well as the colour pops in a few of the spaces. 

For both the interiors and architecture, the approach appears bold yet intimate through carefully crafted separate spaces that also speak on a whole. Were there any unusual or stand-out features of the architecture and interior design?

Black Rabbit: The ‘back to back’ staircases are a fun feature that provides two completely unique experiences for accessing the upper storey, one a light-filled grand entry and the other an intimate connection to the kitchen and meals area — you never know when you’ll need a late-night snack after all! We also love the internal glass wall! It acts as storage and display area in the kitchen on the ground floor, while it’s a feature window upstairs and allows lovely filtered light into the girls’ TV Room. 

We also love the connection between the kitchen/ dining and the pool. It was important that mum and dad could watch the girls in the pool; however, the pool acts as a great water feature backdrop for the dining area — bathing the ceiling in a dappled rippling reflection, which is quite mesmerising.