A home that boldly stands apart from the typical Canberra bungalow on the leafy heritage streets of O'Connor

On the mark: The brief was for a home with light-filled communal spaces conducive to entertaining the client's extended family, along with cocoon-like rooms for solitude and cosy moments. Photographs: Anne Stroud
On the mark: The brief was for a home with light-filled communal spaces conducive to entertaining the client's extended family, along with cocoon-like rooms for solitude and cosy moments. Photographs: Anne Stroud

Striking a pose within the leafy heritage streets of O'Connor, Canberra, is the aptly named Memory House.

The suburb itself is a patchwork of original cottages and modern homes within close proximity to the city.

The client grew up in the original home until her parents sold it in the early '90s. It was serendipity, that with her own young family, she bought the same property where she could have a home to reflect her passion for minimalist living, art, and design.

The brief given to architects - Thursday Architecture - was to design a home with light-filled communal spaces conducive to entertaining their extended family along with cocoon-like rooms for solitude and cosy moments.

They wanted a house that would boldly stand apart from the typical Canberra bungalow streetscape.

The end result more than meets their request.

The project was built by the homeowner's father in collaboration with members of the family, making it an even more special undertaking.

The double height entrance features a monochromatic exterior materials palette and expressive floating concrete stairs.

Intimate spaces, for study and quiet contemplation, are at the front of the home.

Beyond these rooms, and a slight level change, is where the home opens into a generously glazed pavilion containing the kitchen, dining and informal lounge.

Large format sliding doors to the north and south of the home allow it to completely open up to the outside, allowing external living no matter what the season.

The upper level includes another lounge, with views to the leafy suburban surrounds, two bedrooms and guest bedrooms.

Accessing the parents' space is via another level change and continues the private cosy theme.

Among the challenges was a reconfiguration of the parents' bedroom, walk-in wardrobe and ensuite to accommodate a custom built stone bathtub.

So, the design brief actually evolved throughout the duration of the project, including construction.

Working closely with the client's family builder required caretaking onsite to ensure the crucial details were carried out to specifications.

"After first meeting Steven Cetrtek from Thursday Architecture, we knew he was the only person we would trust designing our dream home," said the client.

"We wanted an architect that would think outside the square from design to product selection and someone who would 'push boundaries' - and Steven delivered."

His creative ideas, married with the client's wants and "must haves", came together in a final design that was a true collaboration.

"As first-timers going through the process, he answered all our questions, gave us practical advice when needed and was available to us throughout the whole process."