FINDING a block with a north-facing backyard was an important criterion when Tony Blackwell and his wife were looking to build a home for their family.
“In 1991 we started looking for a vacant block with a northern back yard in a safe neighbourhood, close to the beach and river, with easy access to public transport and the two private schools we had our children booked into,” he said.
“The north-facing rear courtyard, which is designed as an expansive entertainment area, was paramount in the original decision to purchase the lot.
“The rear lane access-way was an added benefit, so that the front of the house wouldn’t be dominated and spoilt by a double garage as so often happens.”
The aim was to create a home that was a light and airy living environment, incorporating solar-passive design principles to keep the house cool in summer, warm in winter and reduce electricity bills.
Mr Blackwell said the design philosophy was based on Perth’s natural environment, granite, limestone and clay, with subtle references also to the street address – Darwin’s survey ship The Beagle.
“The exterior of the house is meant to appear tough and resilient in its landscape setting, while inside the finishes are softer and warmer in tone with extensive use of natural timber,” he said.
The home is built over two wings and Mr Blackwell said another design goal was to have a noisy and quiet side of the house.
The noisy side incorporates the kitchen/family area and the upstairs kids’ zone with two bedrooms, living area and bathroom.
“We spend most of our time in the family room,” Mr Blackwell said.
“It is designed so that the sunlight comes deep into the room in winter and yet is absent altogether in summer.
“It looks onto a leafy private courtyard.
“At the opposite end of this space you stand in an elevated position overlooking the activities of the street as you go about doing the cooking or washing up.”
On the other side of the impressive foyer with marble tiles and feature glass-block wall lies the quiet zone with formal lounge room, formal dining room and study on the ground floor and parents’ and guest bedrooms and bathroom on the first floor.
Outside there are well-established, low-maintenance gardens with a water feature, paved |areas and room for entertaining.
“The garden has seen a number of different design iterations, some of which were experimental relating to my professional work as a landscape architect, and some of which were in response to trying to reduce reliance upon one of our most valuable and diminishing resources – water,” Mr Blackwell said.
“The front lawn, which was originally provided as something of a concession to the traditional nature of the neighbourhood, was later removed and replanted with native ground covers.”
Having lived in the home for 27 years and raised their children there, the home holds plenty of memories for the owners.
“There have been many celebrations, including birthday parties, graduations, wedding receptions and the like,” Mr Blackwell said.
“However, uppermost amongst them all was a Spanish-themed gourmet dinner for six which my son gifted to me as a 60th birthday present, fully prepared over the preceding week by him and his girlfriend, now wife.”
Their children have moved on to start their own families and they have decided to sell.
1 Beagle Street
Agency: Mack Hall Real Estate
Contact: Peter Burns on 0418 925 012