Recently I completed a book about Australian architecture featuring 25 unique homes. Interestingly my editor Cheryl (and co author) is based in Pennsylvania in the United States. She is absolutely fanatical about Australian properties and the huge diversity in this landscape. Although geographically this region is a similar size to North America it only has a 10th of the population. Ultimately this means there is an abundance of land for owners to build their dream dwellings. However, rather than focus entirely on extravagant mansions we decided to include many affordable residences. A great example is ‘The Toy Management House’ by Austin Maynard Architects.

Recently I received a press release from Austin Maynard Architects showcasing one of their latest projects called Kiah House. Within their marketing text they highlight the fact that 3.5 million Australian employees now work from home on a regular basis. Ultimately this means that this factor has to be considered when designing a property. As well as creating a harmonious living space there also needs to be separate office area. Certainly Kiah House fulfils this brief and offers the owners flexible living space.

As a freelance author and designer I know the difficulties of working from home. You have to be exceptionally motivated and avoid a broad spectrum of distractions. Kiah House was devised for a filmmaker client called Rahul who needed a dedicated work space. Ingeniously Austin Maynard Architects have created a wonderful office, which is situated above the original house. The conversion is fantastic and really maximises the space which is positioned on a limited site in North Fitzroy, Melbourne.

Kiah House might not be the largest or most expensive home I have written about. However, the level of décor is phenomenal and the bespoke features are inspired. For this project Austin Maynard Architects have collaborated with the best of the best. For example, interior designer Amanda Grillini has created an industrial themed sanctuary which uses an abundance of wood, exposed brick, steel and glass. Outside the plot has been transformed by Damon Fuhrer Landscapes. There is also a distinctive mural on the outside timber wall by Seb Humphreys called ‘Awakened Flow’ (aka Order 55).

Austin Maynard Architects are renowned for innovation in building design and Kiah House certainly illustrates this point. A wonderful turf roof garden thermally insulates the property and looks aesthetically pleasing. Other feature includes double glazed windows and Solar panels (with micro-inverters) which are situated on the new roof. Essentially this makes this home sustainable, affordable and energy efficient.

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