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It takes a village – West Bend house by MRTN Architects and Brave New Eco

It takes a village – West Bend house by MRTN Architects and Brave New Eco


Brave New Eco and MRTN Architects have completed West Bend house, a home like a village on a hill.

Located on an extraordinarily leafy Westgarth site, meandering down into Merri Creek parklands, West Bend house looks out across the green wildlife belt to Rushall station and the city beyond. 

With the building resolved by MRTN Architects and Brave New Eco to design and detail the interiors of a ‘forever home’, the home was conceived like a village on a hill. 

Oriented to the long East to West axis, the home follows the contours of the site, stepping up and down, wrapping around a sunken internal courtyard. 

The patterns of activity are extruded across the width of the house in a mostly open-plan format. 

The challenge was to configure the interior elements so that each space feels settled and to add layers of detail to complement and build on the strong architectural palette.

West Bend Hous is fully electric, with heat pump in-slab heating and a battery backup solar system. 

Rainwater tanks and solar passive orientation maximise the sustainable performance of the home. 

Brave New Eco worked intimately with MRTN Architects to design custom joinery and interior fit-out details. 

Much of the joinery for this home was custom designed for the space and the specific storage and lifestyle requirements of a family home. 

A warm timber galley kitchen wraps around a central, monolithic island – part kitchen table/part workbench. 

A terracotta tile pendant illuminates the work area and a timber battened return keeps the dish zone out of view. 

The bench and joinery at the end of the kitchen capitalise on vertical volumes by cantilevering over the record station in the lower-level living area.

Sliding mesh screens on the shelves allow flexibility to conceal or reveal as needed. 

Pure brass mesh cupboard doors and shelves sit lightly in the spaces and will darken over time. 

Each cupboard and drawer has a specific intended use and these were mapped out with the owners in detail during the design process, including a specially designed narrow cupboard for the kitchen broom and brush and wine storage. 

The cosy living is a retreat for TV and games, featuring plush teal carpet and a thick double-sided, acoustically plum cinema curtain to deaden sound. 

A custom-designed L-shaped timber settee has Italian wool seat cushions in two shades of army green. It is the kind of plush room where bodies will relax on the furniture and ground.

The handsome laundry contains integrated dirty washing baskets and pet food storage solutions. 

Adjacent to the courtyard in the central heart of the home lives a large study with warm red brick floors. 

With a long desk for ongoing projects, this transitional space features soft pinboard backing. 

A single timber shelf provides a ledge for artwork and dynamic display, to grow and change over time. 

Moveable mesh screens expose and reveal work-in-progress projects and materials, with a dedicated section to conceal printers and other equipment. 

The deep red tone of the brick floors flows upwards through the house, seen on the powder-coated steel staircase rail and carpet in the upstairs bedrooms. 

A bathroom shared by two sisters is tiled in three shades of warm terracotta porcelain tiles. 

A locally poured concrete bench in a custom colour mix of deep muted plum completes the warmth of this room’s palette. 

In a house with so many communal spaces, the bathrooms each have a distinct atmosphere that is quite dramatic due to the big use of a single colour, making them enveloping and intimate.

Upstairs a beautiful main bedroom sneaks views of the city. 

The bed is nestled against a floating walk-in robe dividing wall, finished in hardwood timber. A deep blue ‘bottom of the pool’ ensuite bathroom is a moody respite and features custom mirrors. 

Soft warm greys verging on pale lilac paints were used throughout adding atmospheric changes to the zones and tonal hues.

The story of this home’s interior is emphatically local, layering a resolved palette of organic materials in diverse and sometimes unusual applications across the spaces. 

This approach continues as furniture and soft furnishings are added over time. 

Beautiful yet robust, playful yet grown-up, we think this home has captured the essence of the thoughtful, active, and creative family that inhabits it.

Photography: Peter Bennetts.

Genton’s recently completed Morris Moor and transformed the site of the former Phillip Morris cigarette factory into a vibrant commercial and hospitality precinct.


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