At the heart of a new family home balancing modernity with historic heritage is a ‘grunty’ Escea DL850 fireplace.
Family living space – it has to be perfect for now, and yet able to evolve. That’s what dictated the brief for this new five-bedroom house in a central city suburb. The clients’ desire for modernity needed to be balanced with ‘heritage and character’ zoning rules. Award-winning Architecture Smith + Scully describe the resulting home as ‘sitting politely within the historic context.’
Striving for spaciousness, warmth, and light, Architecture Smith + Scully used traditional gable forms and timber weatherboard cladding, interpreted in a modern way with crisp detailing.
Inside, ‘classic modern’ is the theme, with polished black concrete lounge and entry flooring, oak flooring and carpet elsewhere, honed concrete block feature walls and Australian Blackwood veneer cabinetry to contrast with the floor. The entire ground floor of the two story house has hydronic concrete in-slab heating, and solar panels are installed for hot water heating.
The living room ceiling has Decortech white oak panels which incorporate light fittings and speakers, and help to absorb noise with their acoustic backing – important when there is a concrete floor.
Attention to detail is lavish and even extends to accessibility and storage. The laundry, for example, boasts a large worktop, shelves, and cupboards which include individual baskets for folding laundry for each member of the family.
The lounge was designed to be the heart of the home, with the ability to be contained or opened up to the dining and kitchen area. Architecture Smith + Scully selected an Escea DL850 fireplace with Squared Fascia (Volcanic Black) and Logs fuel bed. As the concrete floor slab in the lounge is already heated, the gas fireplace is used mainly in winter for its cosy ambience, offering the luxury of both radiant (the DL850) and ambient (underfloor) heat. The home’ owners say, “When the fire is on it provides a visual warmth as well, it’s like your brain tunes in.”
The selection of the DL850 was based on its ‘grunty’ size and visual appeal. In terms of size, the clients wanted a good sized television above the fireplace and the width of the DL850 balances well with that.
Visually, the fireplace’s Volcanic Black fascia echoes the black concrete floor. A big, modern style, it sits well within the surrounding honed concrete block wall. “The black of the fascia is a subtle counterpoint to the flames,” say the homes’ owners. “When the fireplace is on the flames are all you see, everything else around it is subdued.”
The fireplace has a power flue so there is no need for a large chimney flue, thus no fiddly roof penetration and no costly heat shielding. The DL850’s power vent technology brings in outside air to fuel the fire. The system is air-sealed: air from inside the house is not used in the fire – so you don’t lose the warm air you paid to heat!
The home’s owners are very satisfied with the classicism of the DL850’s design: “it won’t need updating any time soon,” they say.
And the finishing touch to the house’s warm heart? Architecture Smith + Scully designed a very special honed concrete, cantilevered floating hearth with LED lighting from below so it appears to float. In black of course, to compliment the floor, the modern fireplace and the home as a whole.