This project was one of those beautiful collaborations between client, Clare Cousins Architects and E-GA. Often through the design process the term collaboration is just lip service. When it does actually take place, the results speak for themselves. Passionate architects, passionate clients and passionate landscape designers working together made the Baffle House a beautifully crafted house and garden.
It’s easier to design on a grand scale both in architecture and landscape, where views do not need to be concealed, where space is no object, where the scenery is scenery enough. It’s in the tight inner city where truly skilled design comes into play. Where regulations limit scale, where the long view is the two story side of your neighbours house, where everyone is scared of trees.
We came to the job with the renovations well under way. A beautifully crafted room with plate steel baffles that reach skyward, creating a lofty internal space that views an urban courtyard. The origins of the landscape were driven from the client brief. Productivity, seasonality, a collection of unique and unusual specimens, a small inner city Edwardian, Oh and two Weimaraner dogs!
What we’ve done here is to turn some design preconceptions on their head to reasonably good effect. The usually useless ornamental front garden has been turned into a hive of activity with raised vegetable planters, a screening hedge of citrus and a tapestry of ground cover herbs. It also houses the off street parking and pedestrian access but none of those functions are clearly defined, they just blur into to one another in a multi-functional way.
The raked ceiling of the Baffled living space draws the eye out side to the garden courtyard. Here, rather than plonking a dining table and chairs, the space has been given over to a specimen garden.
Still quite useable with planks of Antiqued Bluestone stepping through gravel, the courtyard is as much about the specimen plantings that include a spiny trunked Silk Floss tree, a couple of shapely Bottle trees, innumerable succulents and the most incredible Barrel cactus that we’ve ever seen. Measuring two foot wide by two foot tall, it truly is a living sculpture. The space is also dotted with potted specimens that our clients has been collecting over the years as he indulged his passion for the rare and unusual.
The result is striking. Strong architecture alongside strong planting design, but with an undeniable softness that gives this property a lovely feel. A small one but a favourite. Thanks Craig for being a wonderful client. Well rewarding for all involved with this project being shortlisted in the 2016 Houses Awards.
“The house is cool, the garden is cool, and together they become super cool” – Myles Broad.