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A mixture of painted render, tiled walls, steel awnings and timber on the exterior provide a modern, streamlined look to the home. Most people prefer a street-facing home, but Claire and Josh chose the back block when they subdivided because of its view of a nearby park. The front road can be fairly busy, but the rear is sheltered from the noise.
Jennie Hunt: When did your house feel like your own?
Josh Griffiths: The house always felt like our own since I was owner-builder and living in the house at the front of the block while it was being built. I tell friends that I was born to live in a house like this. Also, being owner-builder and having had the house designed by an architect uniquely for us means that every single part of the house has our stamp on it. It’s really nice when someone comments on your internal doors or your taps or fan or some other small detail that you went to great lengths to source or choose. It’s nice to see that it’s been noticed.
Claire and Josh planted edible gardens throughout the property. Apple fruit trees grow along the driveway and blueberries near the entry. Other plantings include peach, nectarine, fig, orange, pawpaw and passion fruit. "On a small lot of 500 square meters, there was no room for a vegetable patch, so I've had to be creative with my plantings and fit things in where they wouldn't normally go," Josh says. The long driveway leading up to the home will also prove useful to their daughter, Jade, when she is old enough to ride a bicycle.
Bright white painted walls, timber hardwood floors and blue accents give the home a beach feel, which is appropriate, as the beach is just a kilometer away.
JH: How did you choose your color palette?
Claire Griffiths: I like the uncomplicated look, with clean neutral colors. Josh gave me the freedom to choose the decor. There were never clashes over the decisions, since they were all mine. I wanted to keep the basic color scheme simple. We are going to live in this home for a long time and don't want anything that I would get sick of quickly.
The whole inspiration for the aqua and blue theme throughout the home came from the pool. The accented colors of the blue ties the inside and outside together. It's my favorite color, so it makes me happy to be surrounded by it every day.
JH: What advice would you offer other homeowners?
CG: My advice to other homeowners is to look for the things that you love about your home and build from there. Don't think that only designer, expensive things look good. One of the things that nearly every single person who comes to the house comments on is my Ikea wall lights.
Full-height windows to the rear of the home allow natural light and the reflection of the sparkling pool to fill the main living room. The pool is a prominent feature of the home, and the floor-to-ceiling windows provide a clear view from from any spot downstairs.
The custom Corian dining table and chairs are from Dash Furniture.
JH: If you could host a meal for any four famous guests, who would they be?
CG: I would love to invite Dave Grohl, Billy Connolly, Kate Moss and either one of the guys from Little Britain over for dinner.
The clean lines of the kitchen reflect the orderly lifestyle Claire and Josh like to live. All the cabinets in the home feature spring-operated soft-close drawers, and the sleek cabinetry avoids the need for obtrusive handles. In fact, Claire and Josh opted to not have one cabinet handle in the whole house. “I think it keeps things unfussy and contemporary,” says Claire.
Bench top: Corian; cabinetry: Cabinet Network
The glass backsplash complements the cool color of the pool. The kitchen features Fagor appliances and an induction cooktop.
This backyard kitchen proves valuable in the summer months, when most of the entertaining is done by the pool. Claire says, "We designed our al fresco to get the sea breeze and still be protected. I love the outdoor table. It's made of concrete fiberglass compound, and I've never seen anything else like it."
Table: Dash Design Furniture
The outdoor sunning deck is made from large recycled jarrah timber. "I wanted to create something different, and I like the chunky look," says Josh. The backyard faces north, so it is always warm and is a lovely place to relax in.
The cooling colors are reflected throughout the home, and the corner frangipani tree, from Ellenby Tree Farm, offers pink flowers when in bloom.
JH: Tell me about this inviting, sparkling pool.
CG: The designer originally thought a pool would not fit on the block. Not having a pool was nonnegotiable. We had to have one. Due to the confined space, we sacrificed the backyard space, and the pool was built right to the edge of the home. It is a chemical-free pool and operates without chlorine or salt, using an ionizer system.
JG: With a back gate leading directly to a park, we didn't see not having a typical backyard as a sacrifice.
Jade's crib is a family heirloom that has been passed down in Claire's family. The Paddington Bear atop the dresser belonged to Claire as a child.
JH: What do you love most about your neighborhood?
CG: We love Scarborough for its eclectic mix of people that live in the area. There are always people around and something happening. People get out and take walks. It’s not the neighborhood where you never see anyone on the street. All sorts live here, and we have lots of quirky local identities.
Claire found it difficult to find a quilt cover that was suitable for a one-year-old's room to fit a queen-size bed. "I sourced the cover first, and the rest of the color scheme followed from there," Claire says.
Jade's clean and minimalist bathroom features Caesarstone tops with a square undermount sink. All plumbing fixtures are from Swish Bathrooms, located in Queensland. “I chose everything online and had it freighted over, and it was still cheaper than what I could get it for in Perth. They were fantastic to deal with,” says Claire.
The master bathroom boasts a spa bathtub with views across the park to the rear of the home. The park behind the home is the playing field of Jade's future school. The couple loves being able to access the park through a gate in their garden wall and spends hours kicking the ball around with Jade and their dog, Bonnie.
The master bathroom is Claire's favorite place in the home, next to her walk-in closet. "The en suite turned out superbly, better than I imagined," Claire says. The decor has been kept simple and clutter free: "I didn't want it to detract from the treetop view."
A metallic damask wallpaper serves as an accent wall behind a tufted leather headboard from Snooze. The side tables are also from Snooze, and the wall lights are from Mica.
JH: If your walls could talk, what would they say?
CG: They'd say, "It took a lot of blood and sweat and tears to get here, but boy, I look good!"
The mirrored dresser is also from Snooze, and Claire attached an Ikea mirror as a finishing touch. "I would like to get a full-length freestanding mirror for our bedroom," she says.
JH: What inspired your interior design?
CG: The designer really swayed us toward the cubist design. At first I wasn't too sure if I liked it, but in the end I really embraced the whole concept and used it as my inspiration for our contemporary decor. I sourced a lot of products from online, as our daughter was only six months old when we started building. This was a lot more convenient than carting her around shops.
Just off the master bedroom is Claire and Josh's private balcony, where they often enjoy breakfast and views of the park.
Josh often works from home and enjoys views of the park from his home office. "I didn't want to face the neighbor's property with highlight windows," he says. The office is a large, enjoyable space to work in and can be converted to a fourth bedroom in the future.
The desk was built by Cabinet Network using leftover floorboards.