To custom-build means to build a unique home. The FOCUS Home of the Month is certainly that plus much, much more … AND It’s all about the view! Chrissy Jones had the pleasure of taking a walk through the magnificent waterfront residence, built to exacting perfection by Brandon Calder Homes, that has taken local home building to another level.
From the onset you know something special awaits; this architectural masterpiece adds a contemporary flair to Port Macquarie canal living. Having an eclectic exterior facade, encompassing rendered brickwork from Boral CSR Bricks, plus a mix of James Hardie claddings and a rustic corten plate cladding from Muras Steel that adds a point of difference to the garage door; the home is a stand out in its surrounds. All is complemented beautifully by landscaped, easy-care gardens from Flourish Garden Management.
Entry to the home is through a majestic white and vertical glass panelled entrance door via a non-slip tiled stairway that leads to a welcoming portico. As you enter this contemporary gem, you are immediately greeted with stunning panoramic waterway views at every opportunity throughout the three storey, split-level luxury residence. Off-white porcelain 800 x 800 tiles, from Tiles with Style Colortile, are underfoot in the expansive entry foyer and throughout the entire ground level – a perfect match for the crisp white of the walls, that are adorned with the owners’ tasteful art pieces.
The lower floor/basement
The basement comprises boat shed, pool pump room, wine cellar, plant room, steam room and four car garage.
The ground floor
Comprising three spacious bedrooms, kids’ TV room, open plan kitchen/dining/lounge, indoor/outdoor entertainment area and pool – the ground floor is designed for easy care, relaxed waterside living.
All are spacious, have mirror fronted, built-in robes, ceiling fans, downlighting, a rich, warm, dark Russian brown feature wall with matching plantation window shutters that allow for direction of light and breezes. The bedrooms all have their very own en-suite, having WC, glass-screened shower recess, wall mounted vanity with off-white Essa stone bench-top and above bench, square set hand basin, plus a vanity mirror above with built-in, vertical strip lighting.
Adding to the privacy of the bedrooms, all have either their own courtyard or balcony space and are in close proximity to the TV room, which also doubles as guest accommodation.
Designed and installed by Designer Living Kitchens, it is any home cook’s dream! Simple lines and combinations are the key. Equipped with dark Russian brown fronted under bench cabinets, Essa stone counters, mirrored splash back, island bench, Miele appliances and white 2-pack overhead, louvre fronted cabinets, integrated pantry and refrigerator, the kitchen is both stylish and functional.
The table-like waterfall edge island bench doubles as a breakfast bar as well as a work space, having a glassware cupboard and bar under bench one side, with the other housing the dishwasher and built-in rubbish bin drawer, plus deep, soft close drawer storage. Stylish Miele appliances, including a fast oven/microwave, convection/steam oven and a large heat drawer, are placed vertically alongside a caesar-stone bench-top with in-built teppanyaki hot plate and an induction cook-top with overhead, concealed range-hood.
The kitchen’s stainless steel sink has the added advantage of a Zip HydroTap. Instant hot and chilled, filtered crystal clear water is readily at hand from the stylish designed tap- ware, that has outstanding energy efficiency and environmental responsibility.
Alongside the kitchen is the combined laundry and butler’s pantry. A clever design, the L-shaped cabinetry neatly tucks away the washer and dryer, has a square set stainless steel laundry tub and plenty of both under bench and overhead storage for appliances and the like.
Outdoor kitchen/entertaining/pool area
In perfect position for easy indoor/outdoor entertaining, the outdoor kitchen continues on from the interior kitchen and has mirror image cabinetry and bench-tops. Food prep and BBQs will be a breeze, with the inclusion of a SMEG stainless steel BBQ and stainless steel sink.
A comfortable outdoor lounge area adjoins, creating a fabulous outdoor entertaining space alongside the pool and spa. Frameless, glass balustrade from Muras Steel screens the L-shaped pool and spa, which has been expertly built by Country Pools. Perspex walls have been installed, dividing the pool from the spa, and on the river side wall of the pool are clever inclusions. The pool has a Mediterranean feel, with cool, peaceful blue mosaic tiling and waterfall fountains.
The outdoor entertaining area is partly covered overhead by the cantilevered Parents’ Retreat, which spans the width of the home. It is a marvel of architectural design, modern engineering and a display of exceptional building skills.
Dividing the dining and lounge rooms is a feature copper-look panel wall, which has a Jetmaster, see-through energy efficient gas fireplace and wall mounted TVs on both sides.
The spacious lounge has an angled back wall that has its own bulkhead ceiling line, with downlights installed adding to the ambience. Opening out, via a bank of floor-to-ceiling glass bi-fold doors from Mid Coast Windows, onto the pool area, the lounge is a superb spot to kick back, relax and take in the unimpeded water views.
A stunning, 2-pack white steel balustrade and floating timber tread open staircase, masterfully crafted by Muras Steel, leads to the top level of the residence. Beautiful industrial quality timber versailles style parquetry flooring underfoot, laid to precision by Clint Jordan Floor Sanding, takes you to the master suite, home office, and media room.
The master suite is exquisite. From the remote control TV in the ceiling that automatically lowers when needed, to the dividing wall that doubles as a bed-head and has two rectangular porthole alcoves to capture the expansive waterway views, the master suite is a private space luxuriously appointed throughout.
Tranquil hinterland and water views are captured due to the bulkheads that have been built into all water facing windows, allowing for hidden installation of window blinds. LED lighting is also installed to accentuate the views. A Juliette balcony with a glass balustrade allows for unimpeded views and the advantage of being able to open the floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors and allow in the subtle cool breezes.
A double-sided walk through robe, left for him, right for her, has both shelving and hanging space, a high ceiling, pendant lighting and integrated LED lighting in the shelving. This leads you through to the opulent master en-suite.
Grey marble floor and wall tiling, an opaque glass panel window and floor-to-ceiling opaque louvre windows, placed either side of an Italian design white oval bath with waterfall spout and attached shower hose, provides a feeling reminiscent of a stay at a luxury hotel.
Adding to the luxuriousness is a frameless glass screened shower with both a wall shower rose and a ceiling mounted, square set rainforest shower head that has a soft waterfall.
The wall-mounted vanity has “his and hers” flat hand basins, an ingenious design, being a one piece stone bench-top slightly sloping back to front with a waterfall edge to the water catchment. The above vanity mirror has integrated touch lights, adding a romantic feel.
The quality of craftsmanship and attention to detail are evident in the stunning design of the master en-suite.
Having purpose built cabinetry, incorporating desk spaces, overhead and under bench shelving which wraps around two walls of the home office, the work centre is very well thought out.
The home office also has a comfortable lounge seating area, with wall mounted 75 inch TV and gas fireplace adding a peaceful ambience.
Floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors open out onto the Juliette balcony that adjoins the master suite.
The media room is a comfortable home movie theatre with black velvet curtains, plush carpeting, custom-built wall cabinetry for the cinema and sound equipment. The nerve centre for the integrated home music system and the CBUS controlled home automation and security system are found in their own room at the rear of the media room and has been fitted out with cabinetry that provides convenient storage for CDs and DVDs.
Domus lift / 4 car garage
Adding not only convenient, fast access to all levels of the home at the push of a button, the Domus lift that has been installed is mirror fronted, reflecting water views at every opportunity. Compact and stylish, the lift uses the latest European technology.
The garage is easily accessible externally through an auto lift garage door and internally via the lift and stairways. Providing the space for up to four vehicles, the garage also has the added bonus of plenty of storage. Alongside is an alcove that takes you through to the steam room and also down a small flight of stairs to the games room and boat shed.
Steam room / games room / boat shed
A peaceful place to unwind and luxuriate, the steam room is the result of a combination of the expertise from the tradesmen involved. Bricks laid by Williams Bricklaying were shaped into a custom made L-shaped seat by Darren Roach Tiling, who then tiled the entire room with the blue mosaic tiling. Glass shower screens, from Port City Glass, enclose and section the steam room, which also has a shower recess for cool down.
The games room and boat shed combine seamlessly, giving a space for the family to gather waterside and relax. Easy access to the waterway is through bi-fold glass doors to the private boat ramp and jetty. The home is definitely all about the view. Evenings can be spent gazing at the falling sun across the waterway from the outdoor alfresco, in the comfort of the lounge, or out on the private jetty. It is evident that extraordinary vision, exquisite taste, clever design and meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship have created this perfect waterfront home.
From the owners
You chose Brandon Calder Homes as the builder of your new home. How has it been working with Brandon and his team?
Fabulous. Definitely, Brandon has always been approachable and always accommodating. When he wants a job done, he gets the tradesmen on the job in a flash. Even though the build did take a while to complete, it was a home with a lot of detail, and Brandon really made the effort to perfect it.
What are your favourite aspects of the home?
The open plan living and the feeling of living outside from within always. There is a lot of glass and windows, so you always have a view of the waterway and the mountains from upstairs. The property faces north, north-west, so the evenings are very sunny by the pool; we get beautiful sunsets. It is very peaceful and quiet.
There are lots of aspects we love. We love the high ceilings; we didn’t want to feel boxed in. We wanted the luxury of living on the canals and having everything condensed, but still have a feeling of space and light and openness and being able to capture the views.
We love the lounge room. Having that indoor outdoor feeling, having a beautiful open view, able to watch the day go by, the lovely gas fireplace that has a beautiful flame. Our parents’ retreat is also a favourite space. The timber parquetry flooring adds warmth, and then there’s the mountain and waterway views. As a family everyone can enjoy the home either individually, or together.
Our architect Rob Snow listened to all our ideas and put it all together; he did a fantastic job. We worked very closely with him, fine tuning everything; he added to our ideas and worked closely with Brandon and us.
The state of the art home automation system is incredible and a true luxury. It is a CBUS controlled security system that can be controlled by us anywhere in the world. It has different modes, including winter mode, summer mode and holiday mode. The system has five surveillance cameras and alarms installed, so we feel very comfortable and safe at all times. We can program the system so the lights or heaters come on at a certain time, open the blinds, or turn on the air-conditioning.
Who came up with the design?
My husband and myself definitely had a strong idea of what we wanted, which was to simplify our living. Even though it is a big property, the home features simplistic living. We have three bedrooms on the ground level, each with their own en-suite and balcony, so everyone has their own private area. This was done purposely for our children, who will eventually come back and forward over the years and bring their families, so they will each have their own little apartment.
Tell us about the colour scheme?
We really wanted to have a dramatic feel. On the canals there are a lot of charcoals and beiges. I wanted to do something different. I felt I wanted to bring more warmth in, hence the brown copper look. To achieve a rich contrast, I used a very clean white and a very rich brown.
Would you recommend Brandon Calder to other prospective home builders?
Definitely. Brandon is a very knowledgeable and experienced builder, especially around the canals. This was important to us, that someone had that knowledge and expertise to build an underground garage. He met our expectations and followed through with a truly beautiful home for us.
From the Architect – Rob Snow
A brief to design a home of distinction on an exquisite waterfront site is still as exhilarating as it was when I first qualified as an architect 30 years ago. In addition, the inspired, enthusiastic and committed clients made working on this project an absolute pleasure, and perhaps it is this excitement and joy which gives this building a special glow.
The clients contacted me back in 2013 when I was a senior architect at King and Campbell, and arranged our first briefing meeting. It was clear they had been formulating their ideas for some time, and they presented a clear vision of what they wanted in their home. My challenge was to translate their “wish list” into a practical purpose-built home, while keeping the concept fresh and vibrant.
Over numerous early-evening design meetings, helped by some superb red wine, clients and architect got to know each other, brain stormed ideas, discussed and deliberated, and the design evolved. I did numerous conceptual sketches, and the concept came together relatively quickly, considering the complexities of the brief: boat shed, cellar, steam room, plant room, underground four-car garage, gym and lift … And we hadn’t even got up to ground level yet!
As the brief evolved, it became clear that the accommodation requirements called for a fairly large building, with my challenge being to fit it on the site without making the building look overbearing. By moving the garage underground, we freed up space on the ground floor and reduced the visual impact of the garage doors. The design has a central circulation corridor, punctuated by two courtyards, with an imposing grand staircase forming the internal focal point. The staircase provides visual continuity between floors and allows good cross and stack ventilation, with high level clerestory windows which open to purge the heat in summer and flood the centre of the home with light.
The brief for the staircase was for “something special, as long as it is all white”. I proposed an aesthetically light system of cantilevered treads off a central steel structural “spine”. After some research, I suggested solid hardwood treads, sandblasted to expose the grain and give aesthetic appeal and provide some slip resistance. I built a small model to “sell” my concept to the clients and then had three stair treads fabricated, sandblasted and painted with two-pack polyurethane. The experiment identified the most suitable sandblasting depth and also the fact that a non slip nosing insert was required. The staircase, which has become the focal point of the home, required considerable attention to design detail, as well as expert craftsmanship from Muras Steel and the stair maker. The ever-present and efficient contractor Brandon Calder and his group of specialist “can do” tradesmen, seamlessly helped to turn design into reality.
The home is filled with many other features, such as:
The large gravity-defying cantilevered overhang, which provides a good shaded outdoor alfresco area off the living rooms.
The Juliet balcony, which gives an outdoor feel to the water-facing master bedroom and parents’ retreat/study.
The minstrel gallery link on the top floor.
A dual-entry 4-stops lift, future-proofing the home for people with mobility problems.
The clients also pushed the technical “intelligent home” design requirements, including 3-story lift, CBUS (home automation), state-of-the-art entertainment system (audio and visual), media room, air-conditioning etc.
The exquisite location, exclusive design and enthusiastic clients made this a most rewarding project, from concept to completion.
From the Builder – Brandon Calder
This waterside family home is a great example of a smooth and rewarding custom-build. Firstly, we had great clients who had a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve, with the site to create a home to suit their family and lifestyle, without having to compromise.
Then they employed an architect who could interpret their wish list and, importantly, transfer those thoughts into concept plans for discussion and future modification.
As a custom-builder, it makes my life so much easier if I am involved with clients and an architect who are on the same page and will listen and adapt plans to meet any particular, practical building considerations.
This build had a number of engineering challenges, which were incorporated with skilful design modifications. So we had a great foundation to start with, to which we applied our project management skills to ensure a quality build in the quickest time possible.
As you can see by the number of associates, trades and suppliers proud to support this custom-built home, Brandon Calder Homes strives to use as many quality locals as possible. I am also appreciative for a great regional magazine like FOCUS for giving local builders the opportunity to showcase a quality built custom-home we are certainly proud to put our name to.