The Loft

The Home Base blog

Concrete Plans

Striking materials and artistic arches produce an award-winning home


Functional art is not usually a description assigned to a residential project but it’s the only way to describe this beautiful North Perth home.

Picture: Ben Hosking

Conceived by Perth architect Nic Brunsdon, the home sits on a small block but packs an almighty punch both in the visual and practical stakes.

With easy-on-the-eye arches making a big comeback in the design world, Nic was well placed to incorporate swathes of graceful curves both on the home’s exterior and the interior. The result is a vibe that feels both futuristic and historic at the same time.

Built for a family looking to move closer to the city, Nic worked with pre-cast concrete panels which saved both time and money without any compromises.

Picture: Ben Hosking

With interest in alternative building methods on the rise in Perth, the home has attracted plenty of attention both from locals and the wider design world, including the prestigious Grand Designs Australia which featured the property in an episode.

Built by Collier Homes on a difficult block with limited access, the main structure consists of eight massive concrete panels arranged to form a grid.

Their arrangement on the ground floor was carefully planned to create layers of increasing privacy from street to inner sanctum.

Facing the opposite direction to create the grid on the next floor, the concrete panels all lock together with notches in some designed to connect with others.

Part of the genius of the design is that the concrete is both the structure of the home and the surface, because it has cleverly and beautifully been left raw and exposed. And not only is that a thoroughly modern approach in terms of design, it also helped to keep down costs due to a reduced need for trades.

Picture: Ben Hosking

Picture: Ben Hosking

To further complement the aesthetic, the monstrous panels are punctuated by one of two types of arches, creating beautiful feature doorways and windows to accommodate a request from one of the owners who had fond childhood memories of their grandparents’ home.

Smaller arch shapes are used to create doorways connecting rooms on the ground floor and these line up to create an uninterrupted line of sight throughout the property.

Windows are also arch shaped, as is a striking bookshelf and a beautiful headboard in the main bedroom. Timber is also used as a key design feature, making an appearance on the staircase balustrade, in the kitchen and on a range of built-in cabinetry.

But the hero is the concrete which shines in its neutrality and contrasts spectacularly with polycarbonate sheeting used to diffuse harsh light pouring through windows. Carefully selected artworks and furniture enhance the muted palette, adding soft pops of chalky colour.

With a lifelong interest in design, architecture and art, the owners knew they were chasing a home that was inspired, progressive and beautiful.

With European heritage, both had an appreciation for timeless buildings and when they briefed architect Nic Brunsdon, they were leaning towards a home that gave a nod to Brutalism with lots of clean lines and angles.

But they put their trust fully in the design team, noting that sometimes you have to hand over to the experts to achieve something extraordinary.

When the finished design proposal heavily featured arches, it took a while to adjust to the idea. But it wasn’t long until they became fully invested.

“The arches are probably my favourite feature,” owner Kasi says.

She had seen her fair share of arches in family homes in Europe and soon realised this modern take was refreshing and beautiful. What Kasi has come to love most about the home is that it is constantly surprising her.

“To this day, I walk through and get surprised by all the angles and I see something different all the time and that is rare,” she says.

The result is a sensory playground with the unexpected mixture of textures providing intrigue. The home has already won several awards, including best new house and interior in the 2020 WA Architecture Awards, and it was shortlisted for the Australian Houses Awards Best New House Under 200m2.

Picture: Ben Hosking

Picture: Ben Hosking