Mather Road, Beaconsfield

This stunning home is a rare example of a new build that captures the look and feel of a grand character home – all while showcasing the latest in modern luxury and functionality.

It boasts five-star energy efficiency and is a true 'lock-and-leave' that is surrounded by high limestone walls and does not require the arduous upkeep of an older home.

Designed to provide wonderful spaces to entertain, it has voluminous open plan living areas with elegant archways that make each space feel intimate. The living areas and kitchen wrap around a north-facing alfresco courtyard, which has the rustic charm of the Spanish countryside and is complete with a roaring fire. Constructed by a traditionally-trained craftsman, this spectacular fireplace has a 4.6m high chimney demonstrating five elaborate (and near-extinct!) brickwork styles that are seldom seen these days, let alone together in a near-new piece of work. It is an impressive place to barbecue meat and tapas to perfection. 

The high-impact design is grand yet understated, with generous proportions, exquisite natural light, soaring high ceilings and the stylish points of intrigue that Sam Martin Building Design is renowned for.

Structural Engineer: Burdett & Associates

Builder: Positiva Building

Photographer: Greg Hocking

Wray Avenue, Fremantle

Situated on a small ‘L’ shaped infill lot of 244 sqm, close to the Fremantle City centre, this home was designed as a home for a builder that we had worked with extensively over the years.

The main design concern was sense of space on such a small difficult space. This was achieved by taking the longest axis on the block and keeping an open courtyard at each end, glass walls facing onto these courts and an uninterrupted kitchen/ding/living connecting it all; 3 metre high ceilings through this area also maximise the volume which is what you feel as you enter; space, light and size. All the rooms in the house have high ceilings and generous proportions continuing the feeling of space, openness and light.

The limestone base of the building enables the connection to the limestone geology of Fremantle and the weatherboards and timber windows continue this feeling of modern Fremantle.

All the required spaces were able to be achieved with an efficiency of space, material & structure on this awkward tiny site. The views from upstairs are magnificent and the horizontal louvres on these windows stop any short distance overlooking into the neighbours, but enable the long distance ocean views.

The overall residence is highly adaptable for many different family structures, with the studio and large bedrooms enabling flexibility. Energy efficiency is ensured by the use of very high levels of roof and wall insulation, passive solar design principals, cross ventilation, and a small waterwise garden.

Structural Engineer: Burdett + Associates

Builder: Mike Beck

Photographer: Georgina Barker

Anzac Road, Mt Hawthorn

Situated on a small rear lot of 307 sqm, this home was designed for a bricklayer and his family. It needed to be a quality, low-cost housing solution, with stripped-back finishes, concrete floors and ceilings, and a fantastic sense of space.

The site was situated next door to a 1940’s large red brick light industrial unit, and the area includes many buildings from that era. The starting point for the design was a reinterpretation of an industrial warehouse from a bygone era, whitewashed to provide a gallery-style space. The vast two story void you find yourself in when you enter the oversized front door has an uplifting amount of glass, and the overall feel is clean, sharp and utilitarian.

As with all the buildings we design, energy efficiency is ensured by use of summer shading to the windows, good penetration of the northern winter sunlight, substantial amounts of insulation in the roof, cross ventilation and well-located thermal mass to regulate the temperature.

The solid brick construction of this home will mean it will last the ages, ensuring a long term economic & energy efficiency.

Structural Engineer: A. A Wilkie Consulting Engineers

Owner/Builder: Anthony & Ash Petch

Photographer: Nicole Ryder

Nannine Ave, White Gum Valley

Designed for a large young family, who really wanted a reinterpretation of a tin shed (the father had grown up on a large farm in the Wheat Belt) we took this basic idea of the great Australian tin shed and balanced the coolness of the Zincalume steel with warm, rich, western red cedar doors and windows, abalone shell in the polished concrete floors and a limestone breeze-way walled entrance.

The scale in the main living area is increased with a double storey, uplifting void, with vertical windows that draw the eye (and lifts the spirits!) up. The overall effect is reminiscent of a small country church, with a very Australian hybrid of the tin shed, church, and 4x2 simple gable-roofed house. 

The energy and water efficiency of the home was a primary factor in its design, and was assured with:

  • r5.0 Insulation in the ceiling.
  • r4.8 Insulation in the walls.
  • Energy-efficient glass throughout.
  • Under-floor heating and large thermal mass.
  • LED lighting throughout.
  • No air conditioning - the building design and louvred windows make cross ventilation very effective.
  • Solar-powered with a 5kva rooftop solar system.
  • Water-efficient fittings, fixtures and a water tank.
  • Recycled materials throughout including abalone shell in slab, timber internal doors, jarrah staircase and all recycled cabinetry.

The efficiencies don’t end there; the building has been designed from the ground up to be structurally efficient, economically efficient and aesthetically efficient in delivering a multi-generational family home.

Builder: Steven Madaffari, Westruct Construction

Photographer: Greg Hocking

Moore River, Gingin

Located at the end of a quiet country road, surrounded by state forest, you could not possibly find a more serene setting for this secluded and unique bush retreat.

This spectacular design brings together influences from tin shearing sheds, churches, and the verandah-skirted ‘Queenslander’ to create an Australian homestead that fits perfectly into its outback setting. The custom-designed, two-storey home, sits on the edge of a dramatic breakaway overlooking the Moore River, and was constructed using carefully-selected materials.

The property itself encompasses 49 hectares (122 acres) of stunning native bushland, bursting with wildflowers and home to an abundance of rare native birds and wildlife, as well as 750m of direct Moore River frontage.

The open-plan design has few internal walls and a mezzanine upper floor, allowing the natural light, breeze and views to flood the internal spaces. Polished Jarrah boards are contrasted with Blackbutt edging and hand-made pine doors. 

The kitchen and bathrooms feature hand-crafted Marri bench-tops, while the staircase and upstairs balustrade combine Tasmanian Oak railing and wrought iron balusters. Each upstairs bedroom has its own private balcony, where you can sip your morning coffee and take in the stunning views.

From the spacious main living area, French Doors open up to a deck that steps down to huge limestone entertaining area. Other amenities include an all-purpose shed with living quarters, water tanks, bore and an olive grove.

Builder: Owner/Builder & Shelta Constructions

Highland View, Margaret River

This country house, designed for a family relocating from the city, provides traditional, homely values with a modern reinterpretation of a coastal holiday house. This, of course, meant a design with enough space to have plenty of guests staying over.

The owners, who were establishing a building company in the area, also required an appropriate showcase for their abilities in carpentry and construction. This meant that the level of finish in this home is truly superb.

Material combinations of timber weatherboards, timber doors and windows, and a Donnybrook Stone entrance create a desirable, nurturing destination that rewards the long drive from the city. These natural materials continue inside with Sheoak floor boards throughout and sand stone on the floors in the bathrooms.

Being entirely timber-framed and clad, the embodied energy in the production and transport of the building materials is as good as it gets. Combine this with passive solar design principles and an economic- and structurally-efficient design, and you end up with a sustainable and efficient house.

Structural Engineer: Civil/Structural Consulting Pty Ltd

Builder: Paradigm Construction

Photographer: Peter Hughes Photography

Samson St Addition

Like many timber-framed workers' cottages built around the 1920s, this home required an extensive renovation on the rear. The clients, a young couple, requested a lap pool that had an interesting spatial relationship with the house. This was achieved by part of the pool, and a pond, separating the kitchen/dining from the lounge. 

The end effect was stunning. From the master bedroom, you can walk through the dressing room to a door allows you to dive straight into the deep end of the lap pool.


The combination of blue weatherboard, clear finish timber doors & windows, limestone, and white-rendered brick allows you to feel like you’re living in a coastal vacation retreat. This sense of resort living is accentuated by the Cabana/Outdoor Kitchen at the bottom of the garden & the Norfolk Island Pines along the outside of the property. 

Structural Engineer: Burdett + Associates

Owner Builder: Matt Jessup

Photographer: Nicole Ryder

Martha St Addition

The existing 1920’s timber framed cottage required and deserved a full restoration, alteration and addition, the extension brings into the present, this timber framed weatherboard home. The character & architecture of the old cottage is balanced and complimented by the passive solar extension, which aesthetically evolves into the next generation of the old cottage as you progress through to the new spaces.

Structural Engineer: Burdett + Associates

Builder: Positiva Building

Photographer: Greg Hocking

Amherst St Addition

This 1920’s timber framed cottage needed and deserved a full restoration and renovation, the extension brings into the present, this timber framed weatherboard home.

The character of the old cottage and new extension, finger joints seamlessly, evolving into the next generation of the old cottage as you progress through the building.

Structural Engineer: Burdett + Associates

Builder: Mike Beck Builder

Photographer: Greg Hocking

Fortescue St Addition

When we first looked at this house, it was a derelict old run down heap but had huge potential. The clients requested a full restoration, a rear addition & a studio.Continuing on with a reinterpretation of the original construction techniques provided a seamless transition from the existing front of the house through to the new rear addition. As with most houses from this era, the addition required an open plan kitchen/dinning/living which opens onto a verandah for outdoor entertaining.

The completed restoration & renovation sits well on the large quarter acre block and feels like a new generation of the previous building’s family, of a similar DNA.

Aberdare Rd Addition

This small, workers’ cottage in the leafy suburb of Shenton Park was very well built back in the day. The owner required another bedroom, bathroom, rear dining living, under cover outdoor dining & a carport. The existing bathroom was also refitted. The modern skillion to the extension is balanced well by the similar carport & the use of traditional doors, windows & weatherboards ties the new to the old.

The energy efficiency of the extension and existing residence is enabled by R3.0 insulation to the walls and roof, passive solar design allowing north winter sun to penetrate & summer shading to the glass. The slab on ground floor construction of the extension provides thermal mass to regulate the temperature.

The overall improvement completes the house, ties it together & brings it into the 21st century whilst respecting and enhancing the original building.

Angelico St Addition

Hines Rd Addition

The rear of this house in particular was badly in need of a renovation, an open plan kitchen/dining/living was provided which opened out onto a large verandah overlooking the garden, also a bathroom refit, a new laundry & a powder room was required.

This simple yet uplifting addition meshes with the existing fibro workers cottage nicely and provides a much appreciated, serene sanctuary for the owner.

Structural Engineer: Burdett + Associates

Builder: Fleet & Beck Builders