Opening new doors

Beautiful things happen when building industry professionals join forces, as this townhouse development project can attest.

Garage door

'Having an integrated garage door makes a real difference in a classic build'

 

Author

Sarah O'Donovan

The residential building industry is, by nature, one of collaboration. We often hear about collaborations between architects, designers, landscapers, builders and tradespeople, but occasionally some of Australia’s largest manufacturers get involved, too.

At least, that was the case when HIA member Shape Homes began work on Prospect, a 21-townhouse development less than 15 kilometres north of the Melbourne CBD in the increasingly sought-after suburb of Pascoe Vale. Surrounded by plenty of amenities and public transport options, the development was engineered as a turnkey solution for active families ready to move in and adopt the vibrant lifestyle these homes can offer.

Including large open plan living areas, chefs kitchens, and luxurious master suites with private balconies and full-sized bathtubs, the bright, spacious homes are what Shapes Homes describes as ‘architectural modern living in a fantastic location’ and what others might describe as upmarket townhouse living.

While Shape Homes may have only opened its doors a few years ago, it is headed up by a team that shares a wealth of industry experience. Two of the four directors, Jeff Garvey and Matthew Belford, share their background in property development, while managing director Sean Lefoe has enjoyed a distinguished career with award-winning building companies.

With decades of varied industry experience behind them, that’s probably why builder Daniel Ingram, one of the four directors who has 20 years of building and industry experience alone, considers this kind of high-end architecturally-designed townhouse to be a Shape Homes staple.

timber exterior townhouses integrated garage door
Prospect, built by Shape Homes, is a 21-townhouse development less than 15 kilometres north of the Melbourne CBD.
Image: supplied
living room townhouses
The bright and spacious homes offer upmarket townhouse living.
Image: supplied

‘This is what we do,’ Daniel says. ‘Next, we’ve got another 98-townhouse development coming up in Yarraville.’

But while the business may have found and become well-versed in their niche, the homes are far from run-of-the-mill.

With Caesarstone benchtops, stylish floor-to-ceiling charcoal bathroom tiling, and striking curved facades, the townhouses in the Prospect development are designed to offer space and style in the medium-density market.  Alongside the curve of the facade, a minimal and elegant design which has been achieved with rendered panels, the home frontages also include a multi-level, timber-clad feature wall. Integrated into this is a sleek, slim garage door. 

Despite the impeccable integration seen on the final result, developing these doors was not without a few bumps in the road. 

While the original plans included the use of a tilt door system for the garages, the team sought out a new solution which addressed some issues the planned system presented, including weight restrictions, temporary driveway space reductions and ongoing maintenance requirements. 

timber exterior townhouses integrated garage door
Surrounded by amenities and public transport, the development was engineered as a turnkey solution for active families ready to move in.
Image: supplied
black and white kitchen and living area townhouse
The kitchens in the development feature Caesarstone benchtops, open plan living areas and generous timber detailing throughout.
Image: supplied

Enter: B&D, the Australian garage door manufacturer that’s been combining innovative engineering with curb appeal for more than 60 years. In close consultation with Shape Homes, B&D developed a bespoke, architecturally-designed and engineered system for the Prospect development. 

‘The original plan was to look at a tilt door system, but these systems are somewhat outdated,’ Tom Hammond, B&D’s national new housing manager explains. ‘They have weight restrictions, can reduce your driveway space during operation and can be high-maintenance. 

‘When Shape Homes approached the B&D team, the challenge was to solve these problems.’ 

Tom says that finding a design-led solution provided an opportunity for B&D to stretch its usual way of thinking and step outside the box, saying it proved challenging for both the design and engineering teams: ‘We were challenged not only by the redesign of the garage door tracking system having to fit inside the opening instead of behind, but we had to integrate and align the cladding on the garage door directly to match it with the exterior wall’.

They were up to the task, developing a solution that was not only used for Prospect but has now been adapted to B&D’s ongoing market offerings. 

‘We were committed to delivering which led us to trial some new concepts,’ Tom says. ‘We created a customised solution for this project by designing a flush-mount (integrated cladding) sectional garage door system.’ 

As part of the Designer Series, the B&D flush-mount finish creates a seamless facade with the garage doors practically disappearing into the overall design. While the current range of available cladding products includes Prodenma Prodex and Biowood, B&D says there is a range of new finishes on the way. Daniel recalls the overwhelmingly positive response onsite as the doors were installed, saying: ‘Everyone that looked at the doors agreed that they looked fantastic. Having an integrated garage door makes a real difference in a classic build.’ 

And while aesthetics are important, especially when it comes to a building’s facade, Daniel was left more impressed still by the quality. ‘Biowood as a product is a standout,’ he says of the sustainable composite timber. ‘It’s durable, it wears well, and it weathers well.’

timber exterior townhouses integrated garage door
The development benefited from a bespoke, architecturally-designed and engineered garage door system by B&D Doors.
Image: supplied
integrated garage door
‘We created a customised solution for this project by designing a flush-mount (integrated cladding) sectional garage door system.'
Image: supplied
timber exterior townhouses outdoor area

Including large open plan living areas, chefs kitchens and luxurious master suites, with private balconies and full-sized bathtubs, the spacious townhouses are what Shapes Homes describes as ‘architectural modern living in a fantastic location’ 

If Prospect was a sign of what’s to come from Shape Homes, the business might be about to take the ‘missing middle’ market by storm. Consisting of low-rise, medium-density dwellings such as townhouses and duplexes, this section of the housing market appeals to both families with young children and empty nesters looking to downsize within their area. 

And with another 1500 projects in the pipeline thereafter, the building company is certainly not slowing down. 

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