Brutalist home softened by a subtle, layered interiors palette

Inspired by contemporary Belgian design, this Melbourne home has a relaxed take on clean lines

melbourne house bear agushi living room
Derek Swalwell

With its angular façade, clad in handmade Danish bricks and punctuated by deep-set windows framed by greenery, this Melbourne abode packs some serious kerb appeal.

A two-storey structure that makes clever use of a challenging sloped site, the house is infused with a subtle brutalist quality that was inspired by the work of contemporary Belgian architects known for fresh takes on the style, from CAAN Architecten to Egide Meertens Plus Architecten.

melbourne house bear agushi and simone haag
Derek Swalwell

Home to a couple and their three boys who had moved to Australia from Europe, the property needed to ‘allow for both space and togetherness’, explains Bear Agushi, founder of eponymous building firm Agushi, who spearheaded the project, enlisting the expertise of Webster Architecture.

melbourne house bear agushi and simone haag dining room
Derek Swalwell

‘It needed to expand and contract to suit their needs,’ agrees architect Dan Webster. The end result is a large open-plan kitchen, dining and living area that flows out on to a wraparound terrace at the back of the house, plus a more peaceful, private sitting room at the front of the house and a snug, just for the kids, tucked away in the basement.

‘Despite the scale of the larger spaces, we wanted to create a feeling of intimacy in each room,’ he adds.

melbourne house bear agushi and simone haag bedroom
Derek Swalwell

‘From the outset, the idea was to make a strong architectural statement, and so the design had to rely on depth, layering and materiality to offset its boldness,’ continues Dan. This included balancing its clean lines with softer, more relaxed furnishings, which is where both builder and architect turned to the expertise of Melbourne-based interior designer and stylist Simone Haag.

Haag’s studio was brought on board some 12 months before completion of the project, giving her the opportunity to create a fully tailor-made scheme. From custom-made lighting to bespoke items of furniture and a wealth of hand-picked art and ceramics created by talented Australian makers, every detail was considered.

melbourne house bear agushi and simone haag brutalist bathroom
Derek Swalwell

For the homeowners, the living room is their favourite space, providing a little respite from the happy chaos of family life. Here, a gold-hued rug from Melbourne brand Loom decorates the floor, injecting a hit of muted colour into the calming and neutral scheme. A low-profile Moroso sofa is positioned by one of the home’s many large windows, all of which look out onto the lush garden designed by landscape architect Nathan Burkett.

The relaxed elegance of this space reflects the mood through the house, which – thanks to a synergistic response to build, architecture and interiors – shuns extravagance in favour of effortless, understated luxury.;;

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