With a touch of copper

Over the years, Roz and Ray have renovated and lived in more homes than they can remember but this is the first house they have built from scratch –and quite possibly their forever home.

Having renovated many properties in and around Newcastle, Roz and Ray knew this stunning location overlooking Bar Beach came at a cost: the stiff southerly winds. They have seen firsthand that strong gales combined with the salty sea air almost inevitably lead to water leaks and make it difficult for any but the hardiest plants to survive. So a solid build that could withstand the forces of nature was a key priority. “Ray wanted something very special, but he didn’t want to know a lot of details. He wanted to be surprised so he pretty much gave me free rein,” says Roz. “My brief was really simple. I said to Stephen (Gray, of Liquid Architecture) ‘Build me a submarine because it’s got to be waterproof. I don’t want a goodlooking rowing boat. I want a submarine. I want no opening windows upstairs. I want a white house with square lines and no curvy bits. A solid double brick house with thick walls and a cement slab floor’.

“I’m not demanding,” she adds with a smile. But Roz clearly knew what she wanted and what she didn’t want. Carpets, hallways, grout, architraves, skirting boards and pendant lights all made it onto Roz’s list of features to avoid. And if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, the shape (roughly triangular) and size (460 sqm) of the plot didn’t make things any easier. Some architects would have gladly passed on this project, but Stephen saw the potential and was keen to create a truly unique home.

“Aside from the near perfect location, for an architect this project was elevated to the sublime by a naturally astute and design savvy client. It’s amazingly enjoyable to collaborate with someone who challenges you to source giant black timber balls to contrast with the stark and hard white building entry, or casually suggests that a dead forest could be incorporated into the landscaping.”

Stephen Gray, Architect, Liquid Architecture Newcastle

“Stephen has been wonderful. I gave him a rough idea of what I was after and he ran with it and produced something amazing. His creativity is really beyond anything I thought possible,” says Roz. continuously. And while that’s not the easiest way to build a house, the result is truly remarkable and we are very proud to have been a part of this project.” “Initially, I hadn’t even wanted to use an architect. After all the renos we have done, I was sure that I could do this with just a builder. “We knew we were going to use Ben (Rayfield, from Rayfield Constructions) as our builder and it was Ben who suggested that I talk to Stephen. “He could see that this was a project that really needed an architect. And he was right. Ben and Stephen worked together so smoothly, they really made it easy for me.” Ben adds, “Stephen designed the house in a way that it was evolving continuously. And while that’s not the easiest way to build a house, the result is truly remarkable and we are very proud to have been a part of this project.”

Story Cornelia Schulze, photography David Griffen

Read more in the Autumn issue of Hunter&Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.