I have been a fan of the houses of WA architect Ben Mountford for a while now. You might remember I did a story a few years ago on the renovation and extension he designed for this old Mt Hawthorn cottage, which won him an architecture award. His homes are cool; yet relaxed and liveable, different; but not pretentious, and every element is always super-functional while looking great; nothing feels superfluous. Plus Ben is also a ridiculously nice person. He even brought one of those famous apple strudels from Corica’s to our interview. I am always a fan of people that give you cake. Mind you Voldemort could offer me cake and I’d be enamoured. But Ben really is a nice guy, cake or not.
Today I have another of Ben’s homes to share with you guys - this eco-friendly, new-build in Maylands, built on a tiny infill block and surrounded by old trees and edible gardens.
Photo by Red Images Fine Photography.
BEAUTIFUL LIGHT: While a lot of people design a house and simply try to frame a view, Ben tries to frame – and capture – light. “People have less time these days, so I always try to frame places where there’s family connections and good connections to the sun,” he says. “For example, beautiful sun on the kitchen table in the morning when everyone is together.” In this home, the louvered windows not only offer ventilation and cooling, but reflect little rainbow light rays up the staircase. The owner says the way light plays in the home is one of her favourite things about it. “When the sun comes into the living area, the quality of the light is just lovely,” she says. Photo by Red Images Fine Photography.
I'M A FAN: The beautiful timber fans were from Big Ass Fans. One of the best modern company names I have ever heard because once you hear it once you never forget it. Photo by Stephen Nicholls.
EDIBLE GARDENS: Permaculture gardens fill the western side of the block. “We came here after the job was done and made a big salad – it was really good!” says Ben. Photo by Red Images Fine Photography.
URBAN AND ECO: With the house in a semi-industrial pocket of Maylands, Ben designed the home’s elevation, with its double-height raking ceiling, to complement the shape of old warehouses nearby. “The weatherboard is a bit of an Eastern states kind of thing,” says Ben. “It’s an industrial form with a residential cladding.” The single pitched roof is as functional as it is eye-catching. Not only does it have solar panels, its design means hot air rises to the top of the house, where it is let out through open windows, keeping the house cool even through the hottest summer days. Photo by Stephen Nicholls.
Some of you may have been lucky enough to visit it in person for the awesome event that is Open House Perth
. You guys will understand why I think it’s House Nerd-worthy! When we live in a city in a time when more than 95% of new homes are by project home builders, here is a house that is refreshingly different – it’s not unnecessarily large, it’s a freestanding house with just two bedrooms, it was designed specifically for just one person, and rather than slavishly following trends or resale requirements, it’s exactly what she wanted.
Built on a 295sqm infill block that was once the backyard of another home, this is a small house – but it doesn’t feel small.