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Contemporary charm

Photos: Jody Allen Photography

Contemporary charm

Photos: Jody Allen Photography
{{ tag.label }} {{ tag.label }} $vuetify.icons.faTimes
South Australia’s Klemm Homes accomplished a first for the firm – an architectural delight based on Passive House principles, and a national award win for its sophisticated open-plan kitchen.

Laura Valic


Interior designer Carmel Siciliano-Klemm breathed deeply and uninhibited for the first time in years after moving with her family into the stunning Millswood Residence in Adelaide’s inner south. As a severe asthmatic, her previous rental was literally making her sick and is a big reason why she and her builder husband, Troy Klemm, focused on an energy-efficient design for their new home. 

‘It’s a healthy, sustainable home…the controlled temperature has been a game changer,’ she explains. ‘You hear about chatham Home principles and how these homes perform, but until you live in one you don’t realise [how much you benefit].’

The Millswood Residence permeates storybook charm with refined Basket Range sandstone, blackbutt accents and black steel
Klemm Homes used Passive House principles to create a healthy, sustainable home for their family

The couple, who operate Klemm Homes to service the high-end residential market in Adelaide, are passionate about sharing the advantages of a sustainable home after experiencing it first-hand themselves.

heir Millswood project was primarily designed to be a long-term family home that suited their needs above all else, but it doubles as a display that showcases their impressive in-house design and build talent, preferred product suppliers as well as the principles of Europe’s Passive House philosophy.

Troy says this learning curve was steep and initially driven by the existing home’s zoning and heritage constraints. ‘To get approval we needed to show a design that didn’t overpower the streetscape…with the second storey predominantly hidden from view,’ he says. 

Since the local council was ‘never going to allow us to put up a white box’, opting for the style of the modern farmhouse with character-laden textures and steeply pitched gable rooflines ticked the required boxes and provided rich architectural terrain for Carmel’s creativity. After the planning hurdles and challenging 13-month building journey, which concluded in May 2021, the family was thrilled to be able to ‘just enjoy’ their new home.

The kitchen is a detailed, high-functioning space suitable for entertaining
A neutral palette and layered textures and materials yields a sense of elegance
The central living area is accessible through graceful arched glass double doors
The home follows a modern farmhouse style with character-laden textures 

The completed build is an impressive five-bedroom, two-bathroom property, which also includes a sunken cellar, mud room, teenager’s retreat and multiple study spaces.

From the exterior, the home permeates storybook charm with refined Basket Range sandstone and blackbutt accents bordered by black steel PFC portal frames – its modest villa-style frontage belying the space and amenity offered within. Stepping inside along the narrow chevron timber hallway, you enter the central living area through graceful arched glass double doors and are immediately arrested by the cathedral ceiling and high triangular windows that reveal the backyard pool and large alfresco beyond. 

Carmel’s careful adherence to restrained simplicity, building off a neutral colour palette and layering textures and materials, yields a sense of supreme elegance throughout the home.

‘When you work in the industry it’s easy to go with fashion-driven looks,’ she says. ‘We chose a lot of white, integration and curves to keep things uncomplicated. It feels quite calm and tranquil inside.’

The duo knew however that their preference for a dark feature steel wall cladding – Fielders Prominence in Matt Monument – could easily turn the rear second storey into ‘an unbearable heat box in the summer’. It was the catalyst for researching passive, energy-efficient houses to find a solution.

‘We attended sustainable housing seminars which introduced us to Climasure,’ Troy explains. A relationship with the brand developed, with their representative helping to determine – often onsite as construction progressed – what was the best method forward.

The impeccable finishes are a testament to the team’s commitment to high quality building
‘We chose a lot of white, integration and curves to keep things uncomplicated. It feels quite calm and tranquil inside.'

‘We wrapped the house using Climasure Solitex Extasana and Mento Plus roof wrap, incorporating a full vented cavity system to the walls and roof which was very difficult to achieve with such a complex architectural build. We increased insulation to the external walls and included double glazing.’

Troy says while the home is not ‘a true Passive House where it’s completely sealed’, many of the principles have been adapted in a cost-effective way to ensure the home performs as well as it can. ‘It was probably one of the hardest houses to have taught someone to do these principles, but all our trades are geared up to do it now on other builds,’ he says.

Everywhere you turn there are impeccable finishes, a testament to the Klemm Homes team and subcontractors’ commitment to high quality building.

This commitment to excellence is particularly evident in the sublime kitchen, which took out the 2022 HIA Australian Kitchen of the Year award (partnered by Clipsal by Schneider Electric) for Klemm Homes and Walls Bros Designer Kitchens.

A joint design effort between Carmel and Stefan Vignogna (joinery designer) created a serene, delicately detailed and high functioning space suitable for frequent entertaining.

The stunning kitchen won the 2022 HIA Australian Kitchen of the Year award
‘We wrapped the house using Climasure [products], incorporating a full vented cavity system to the walls and roof.’

‘My background is Italian, and we’ve got a big family, so we designed it with two dishwashers, two sinks, two ovens and a separate butler’s pantry,’ Carmel says. ‘We like cooking and often have people over on the weekends.’ 

The kitchen’s showpiece is the oval marble island in Cosentino Super White. Its curves are mimicked in the arched wall behind it, which pops faintly with a light grey render. The complete absence of bulky overhead cabinetry gives the room a seamless, sleek quality, in part also due to integrated appliances and an almost invisible rangehood. 

The effect is simple sophistication with the judges commenting on its soft elegance and beautiful joinery, which was all custom and hand made.

The Clipsal Wiser Smart Home solution connects all aspects of the home in one place
After planning hurdles and a 13-month build, the family are thrilled to be able to enjoy their new home

But it’s what you don’t see in this house that’s just as impressive. Troy and Carmel spent a lot of time researching home automation that would be useful (and fun) for everyday life.

They partnered with Clipsal and opted for the Wiser Smart Home solution. ‘We can ask Siri to open our TV cabinet, turn on the lights, the blinds or the outdoor gates,’ Troy explains. ‘The upstairs windows have sensors that will open them automatically to let out hot air when it cools down outside. There’s a lot you can do now with automation, it’s just learning about it and keeping up.’ 

Marcus Reilly, Residential Builders Manager at Clipsal by Schneider Electric says true home automation, as seen in the Klemm residence, reimagines the way we live by connecting all aspects of our home in one place. ‘Smart homes allow comfort, convenience, control and efficiency to co-exist,’ he says, and points to the Clipsal Wiser™ Smart Home as a great place for homeowners and builders to easily get started.

To achieve such a stunning project outcome, Troy and Carmel are quick to acknowledge the hard work put in by all of their collaborators. ‘It was a team effort,’ Troy says. ‘A lot of thought and effort went into this house to make it energy efficient, a smart house, to make it different and to make it all work. We’re extremely proud of what we achieved.’


2022 HIA Australian Kitchen of the Year


Klemm Homes


Adelaide, South Australia


Clipsal by Schneider Electric

Millswood project at a glance

Design and build: Klemm Homes

Kitchen: Walls Bros Designer Kitchens and Klemm Homes

Published on 28 November 2022

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