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Burnham barn meets New York apartment

Last updated 12:49 24/07/2013

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Pushing the boundaries in terms of what a house should look and feel like tested JD Homes' team of builders to the limits when they took on the challenge of building a new home for a client in Burnham.

"The client was looking for a house that could look like a barn," says JD Homes co- owner Jesse De Wys of the house that they have entered in the James Hay New Homes $450,000 to $600,000 category of the 2013 Registered Master Builders House of the Year Awards.

De Wys says the 300 square metre two-storey house is quite unique.

"The house has the look and feel of a cross between a barn and a New York loft apartment, that ties superbly into its surroundings."

The basic structure is a large rectangular box clad in corrugated iron with bandsawn plywood for the adjoining double garage. The house is notable for its lack of internal walls. 

"The ground floor is dominated by a 15 metre by eight metre wide room along the north side which houses the kitchen, dining and living area. This rises 4.8 metres to the pitched roof."

Off this main space are the ground floor bathroom, laundry facilities and two bedrooms while upstairs on the mezzanine floor there is a master bedroom and a games room linked together by a bridge comprising polished timber deck supported by twin steel beams.

The two upstairs rooms are reached by a steel-framed staircase. 

De Wys says the unconventional nature of the house was challenging from a construction point of view.

"Because of the large internal spaces, building the house was like tackling a commercial construction project."

De Wys says the scope and construction had to be approached by always thinking two steps ahead.

"We had to leave a window out so we could drive a forklift inside to lift the steel bridge into place which links the two upstairs rooms."

Another challenge was the desire of the owners to have an almost commercial/ industrial look to the interior of the house.

"There is a lot of exposed workmanship and materials. Steel work was exposed through the bridge and staircase and we left foundation blocks exposed to carry this trend.

"Inside, much of the plumbing has been left exposed, a polished concrete floor was specified and the shower was finished with metallic looking tiles."

With 90 per cent of the north side of the house glass, heating is primarily passive solar with the concrete floor acting as a heat sink. Heat retention is assisted by having higher than standard levels of insulation.

De Wys says despite the challenge of this unusual build, the house was incredibly satisfying to work on.

"We really enjoyed the challenge and excitement of it all."

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- The Press

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