When family comes first

The facade of the house is dominated by the six metre entrance.

Narelle Coulter

Multi generational living is becoming more and more common in Australia as house prices soar and families decide to pool their resources and build a home with multiple bedrooms, bathrooms and living zones.

Deciding what was best for their children and grandchild was top of mind for Neil and Kristine Holmes when they were planning their new build in the Timbertop Estate.

Rather than downsizing as they edged towards retirement, the couple opted to build a 51 square under roofline home with five bedrooms, four bathrooms, five toilets and three living zones.

Their reasoning was all about family – helping son Ricky and his partner get a foot on the property ladder and also be on hand to help their daughter raise her young son.

Seven people and three dogs live in the stunning architecturally designed home which sits on an elevated block at the rear of the popular Officer estate with views of virgin bushland at the front and Officer South at the back.

The house reflects the couple’s love of edgy industrial design, modern building materials, innovative lighting and contemporary landscaping.

“We love contemporary design one hundred percent,“ said Neil, who picked up ideas for the home from his work on commercial builds as a construction manager.

“I’m also guilty of watching too many episodes of Grand Designs. Every time I watch one I end up spending more money,“ he added, laughing.

The ground level comprises a guest bedroom and bathroom, cinema room, dining space with a soaring ceiling, laundry, study nook and open plan kitchen and living.

Timber stairs with a glass balustrade leads to the second floor which comprises two master bedroom suites with ensuites, two further bedrooms, a family bathroom and second living area.

A well configured alfresco on the ground floor under roofline provides the third living area.

The second floor also boasts a deck which is accessible from Neil and Kris’s bedroom as well as an external staircase.

“We love sitting up there and watching the kangaroos across the road on the vacant (council) land with a coffee or a beer. Whether it is morning or night if you listen you hear nothing. It is very peaceful. We are far enough from the highway not to hear traffic and no one can build across the road from us which is why we bought this block.“

Downstairs the alfresco is the hub of the home and the couple spend much of their time there relaxing and entertaining.

“It was important for us to have an outdoor area that functions all year,“ explained Neil.

The alfresco can be insulated from the weather by cafe blinds that fasten to the floor making them draught proof. There are also wired-in heaters, a ceiling fan and an enormous Beefeater barbecue and outdoor kitchen.

A lush vertical garden scales the rendered brick pillar softening the area.

Hanging above the barbecue is a panoramic photograph of the Melbourne CBD and sporting precinct shot at night. The seven metre long photograph is printed on material stretched over a frame.

“We thought about a beach scene but we wanted something different,“ said Neil of the eye catching art work.

Beyond the alfresco is an inground pool and pergola. The pergola is painted an off white and the paving around the pool is also light in colour providing contrast with the home’s dark render.

Neil is an electrician by trade and has been in the construction industry for 35 years. Son Ricky is also an electrician.

As you would expect from two electricians, the house is equipped throughout with an impressive automated lighting system operated through a C-Bus home control system.

Other ’smart’ features include the intercom the family can access remotely through their phones, a pop-up power and charging point in the kitchen island bench and a noise insulated cinema room with programmable lighting which fades as the movie begins.

The exterior of the house is a mix of dark grey Colorbond cladding, light grey concrete render, dark rendered brick and glass.

“I like the industrial look of the concrete render. It looks just like a slab with run marks caused by water which I really like,“ explained Neil.

Sandstone front steps lead to an imposing six metre high entry, which can be lit up at night thanks to a projector discreetly hidden in the garden. The garden can also be illuminated by multi-coloured lights. Even the Corten steel letterbox lights up.

The low maintenance garden features two Silver Princess gums chosen for the their pale trunks and leaves as a contrast to the home’s dark facade. There are also Xanthorrhoeas (black boys), cycads and birds of paradise.

The couple praised their architect and are happy with the spaces created and how they work and flow for the family.

“It has worked out really well. We’ve found there is definitely space for everyone without getting under each other’s feet,“ said Neil.

With all the love, passion and money they have poured into this home the couple still don’t hesitate when asked if the project will be their last.

“Oh no, there will be one more. The next one will be just for Kris and I though,“ said Neil, smiling.