On a relatively small and overlooked patch of land in Armadale, the Martino Group’s No 10 Fetherston is a thoughtfully crafted example of small footprint residential design. Designer Matt Martino talks Open Journal through the project, from purchasing the block through to the highlights and features of this three bedroom, two-level residence.
No 10 was a vacant block of land that was once the rear yard of what is now The Coin Laundry Cafe Building. It has its own frontage as the building was on a corner and is situated in the heart of Armadale near the railway station. The Block itself was tiny. Measuring 10 meters across and 15 meters deep, so 150sqm in total, it didn’t daunt me – as it was the same area as many single fronted properties, and without the restraints of a narrow block. Mind you, no one else bid at auction! A moment wondering if I had been overly optimistic with this site was quickly put to rest.
Our objective was simple from the beginning. High end, meticulously designed using every square centimetre to create an amazing inner city home.
With a blank block as our canvas and no demolition to deal with, we could include a garage, set the building abutting the commercial property and utilise the minimal, wasted front setback. The result is nearly 20 squares over 2 levels, with 3 bedrooms, full ensuite, open plan living and study/den.
The details that matter and make this design for me are;
Construction of a 3.5 wall around the courtyard which provides a totally private haven, views of roof tops around and herringbone brick paving. This also extends the living space out to the rear property boundary through full height steel framed windows.
The integration of a kitchen into an open plan living space with joinery that extends into the living room, concealing storage and and open fireplace and ‘hiding’ the den behind. The kitchen is important, open, always on show but also beautiful.
The design of blue stone herringbone tiling throughout the ground floor, which gives a converted stables sense and the opportunity for it to age well with time. It takes what could have been a fairly stark space and makes it more earthy, but in a contemporary and stylish way.
The front facade is a homage to high fences and uses 3.5 m high steel blades at 200mm intervals that ill rust over time, entwine with ivy and hide the built form. The black exterior conceals the mass and it is a case of blink-you’ll-miss-it in the nicest possible way.
As the property is hard up on the northern boundary, light is sourced via slits of glazed roofing that allows sunlight in but doesn’t compromise privacy. A two-storey void over the entry tricks you immediately into a sense of space, whilst the kitchen void bathes the area in sunlight all day.
In terms of design concepts I started by moving the stairs away from the traditional front foyer and placed them off the living room in the rear corner. It saves circulation space and makes sense as the stairs are used by occupants of the living space rather than visitors directly in from the front door. It was vital to have an airlock entry foyer and ceiling heights of at least three meters.
The rest fell into place, as a palette of natural colours and materials and a very secure feeling of crafted space.
No 10 Fetherston