Creative Structures

Eye-catching entryway entices

Making best use of a difficult site, this Adelaide firm used a variety of materials to create a polished pair of townhouses.


Philip O'Brien

Faced with the familiar problem of outgrowing their home, one Adelaide family weighed up their options. The location, suburban Glengowrie, was ideal: only a few kilometres from the beaches of Glenelg and just 12 kilometres south-west of the city centre. The problem lay in the small and oddly-shaped residential block, limiting the scope of a new construction. But, most of all, the family wanted a fresh approach to design and development.

Adelaide-based construction company Creative Structures took up the challenge. It used the shape of the block to advantage and incorporated a variety of materials to create an original and interesting design. The result is an ultra-modern pair of semi-detached duplexes, with a dramatic overhanging upper section at the front of each, and using recycled bricks for further effect.

From the street, the build makes a bold statement and, inside, it exhibits meticulous attention to detail. This careful attention, along with clever design solutions and interesting material selections paid off, as one of the townhouses took out the 2018 HIA Australian Townhouse/Villa of the year at the national awards in May.

Creative Structures specialises in custom homes and residential developments, providing a personalised service to each client at all stages of the building process. They work one-on-one with the client, from the concept stage through design and council approvals to construction and completion.

Creative Structures
A distinctive feature of both townhouses is the rectangular overhanging upper section where the front bedrooms are located.
Creative Structures
As you walk into the house the recycled bricks return in the lounge room

The firm has been operating since 2008, and its directors – James Doyle, Eddie Kwiecien and Ryan de Visser – have combined experience of some 50 years in construction.

‘The best part of our job is being able to share the journey with our clients as their ideas materialise,’ Ryan says.

‘The clients for this project wanted us to create a comfortable family home that pushed the boundaries in terms of design and style,’ he says.

‘So we designed two townhouses on the same block: both with three bedrooms and double garages and both planned very much with families in mind.

‘The block has a very wide frontage with both sides angled back towards the rear. So we designed it to create more room at the front by moving the entry door down the side. Then, as the house goes back, it follows the shape of the block thus creating as much usable space as possible.’

The award judges were especially impressed by the use of recycled bricks in the project, both internally and externally, which wrap around the entry façade of each townhouse and entice the visitor inside.

‘They were from an old house in the Adelaide Hills,’ Ryan says.

‘It was our first experience with recycled bricks and, since then, we’ve used them for more of our clients. It wasn’t driven by cost but by aesthetic appeal, one of a number of different materials to bring the project to life. We wanted to build the house around this: as you walk into the house the recycled bricks return in the lounge room.’

‘The best part of our job is being able to share the journey with our clients as their ideas materialise’

Entering the townhouse, the immediate impression is one of space and light. There is a sunken lounge with soaring 3.5 metre ceilings, an open plan kitchen as well as living, dining and outdoor entertaining areas.

Here, the variety of textures and materials include feature walls with Easy VJ Cladding, painted Dulux Gordon River Blue, offsetting the textured floating timber floor throughout. The integrated fixtures include Essastone benchtops and splashback together with joinery by Laminex and Polytec. Together, these create a simple, streamlined kitchen contrasting with a bespoke American oak dropped-benchtop and combined table and an oversized 150mm round pantry door handle.

Upstairs, a distinctive feature of both townhouses is the rectangular overhanging upper section where the front bedrooms are located.

‘We wanted to give it width, maximising the use of space and creating a distinctive presence from the street,’ Ryan says.

The end result was a zoned upper level with a generous master suite separated from two bedrooms and the main bathroom by an open study. In the ensuite, striking lighting and handsome bathrooms blend black and grey tiles with warm oak joinery and black tapware. At the front of the house, the overhanging upper level is covered in black vertical Scyon Axon cladding, framed in white render, which creates crisp, clean and contemporary lines.

Creative Structures
‘We want our homes to be warm and friendly but also cutting-edge and exciting’
Creative Structures
The alfresco area features cleverly fixed louvres

‘We sought a boxy design at the front,’ Ryan says.

‘The pitched roof sits behind it. From the road it looks like a flat roof, and that was the look we were going for, getting away from the usual gabled roof with its standard pitch. When we brought it forward it transformed the front of the townhouse.’

Above the alfresco area at the rear of the townhouse, Creative Structures cleverly used fixed louvres, rather than roofing, to comply with a council requirement for appropriate open space as well as providing shade to the outdoor living areas. Blue tones form highlights through the home and the louvres from Element Control Systems continue the theme, in Night Sky.

The development was built in five months at a cost of $340,000 for each townhouse.

‘This was made possible by an expert team of contract tradesmen, each of whom understands what we’re trying to achieve,’ Ryan says.

Creative Structures’ award for this project comes on top of three previous HIA awards in 2017.

‘It’s an important achievement; an acknowledgement for us and our tradesmen. As relatively new entrants to the sector, it’s great recognition for a young company and our brand appeal and it also gives prospective clients the idea that we know what we’re doing and can produce a quality product. We want our homes to be warm and friendly but also cutting-edge and exciting.’

At a glance

Award: 2018 HIA Australian Townhouse/Villa of the Year
Partnered by: Holcim
Builder: Creative Structures
Location: Glengowrie, South Australia
Cost: $340,000 (each)
Time: Six months

Inclusions: Custom windows and sliding doors with matte black framing, LED downlights, frameless glass shower screens, exposed aggregate paths, reverse cycle heating and cooling, island bench

Materials: Lightweight cladding, recycled red bricks, black and grey porcelain tiles, black tapware and accessories, matte grey kitchen door handles, ebony timber decking, stone concrete and timber (American oak) benches, textured floating timber flooring, oak joinery, Dulux Gordon River Blue and Natural White.

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