{{ propApi.closeIcon }}
Our industry
Our industry $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Housing industry insights Economics Insights Data & forecasts Tailored research and analysis Advocacy & policy Advocacy Policy priorities Position statements Submissions News and inspiration Industry news Member alerts Media releases HOUSING Online
Business support
Business support $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Become an apprentice host Hire an apprentice Why host a HIA apprentice? Apprentice partner program Builder & manufacturer program Industry insurance Construction legal expenses insurance Construction works insurance Home warranty insurance Tradies & tool insurance Member perks Toyota vehicles The Good Guys Commercial Fuel savings See all Planning & safety solutions Building & planning services Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) Solutions for your business Contracts Online Advertise jobs Trusted support & guidance Contracts & compliance support Industrial relations
Resources & advice
Resources & advice $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Building it right Building codes Australian standards Getting it right on site See all Building materials & products Concrete, bricks & walls Getting products approved Use the right products for the job See all Managing your business Dealing with contracts Handling disputes Managing your employees See all Managing your safety Safety rules Working with silica See all Building your business Growing your business Maintaining your business See all Other subjects Getting approval to build Sustainable homes See all
Careers & learning
Careers & learning $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
A rewarding career Become an apprentice Apprenticeships on offer Frequently asked questions Study with us Find a course to suit you Qualification courses Learning on demand A job in the industry Get your builder's licence Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Find jobs
HIA community
HIA community $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Join HIA Sign me up How do I become a member? What's in it for me? Mates rates Get involved Become an award judge Join a committee Partner with us Our initiatives HIA Building Women GreenSmart Kitchen, bathroom and design hub Get to know us Our members Our people Our partners Support for you Charitable Foundation Mental health program
Awards & events
Awards & events $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Awards program People & Business Awards GreenSmart Australian Housing Awards Awards winners Regional Award winners Australian Housing Award winners 2024 Australian Home of the Year Enter online Industry events Events in the next month Economic outlook National Conference Events calendar
HIA shop
HIA shop $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Most popular products National Construction Code Vol 1 & 2 Waterproofing wet areas AS 3740:2021 HIA Guide to Waterproofing HIA Guide to NCC Livable Housing Provisions Top categories Building codes & standards Contracts & documents Guides & manuals Safety products Signage For your business Contracts Online Digital Australian Standards Digital Resource Library Forecasts & data
About Contact Newsroom
$vuetify.icons.faMapMarker Set my location Use the field below to update your location
Change location
{{propApi.text}} {{region}} Change location
{{propApi.successMessage}} {{region}} Change location

$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Brick beauty

Photos: David Sievers

Brick beauty

Photos: David Sievers
{{ tag.label }} {{ tag.label }} $vuetify.icons.faTimes
The clever use of brick and its cohesive pairing with other materials is what gives this two-storey Adelaide project an air of sophistication.

Laura Valic


‘Minimalism’ in modern architecture appeals to many for the way it can produce calm, almost meditative, settings, highlighting the form of a building or allowing attention to be drawn to what lies beyond it. Compared to its unashamedly exuberant opposite (maximalism), it’s a design style free from excessive features or competing colours, materials and textures.

But minimalism from a builder’s perspective often doesn’t equate with small or simple. Just ask HIA member Cosi Cavallaro of Cavallaro Building Services. He recently completed a custom-built project in the Adelaide suburb of Netherby that demonstrates a bold, minimalist response to its site – a 920-square -metre block one street over from the grassy woodland of Waite Conservation Reserve.

An Adelaide project designed by Cosi Cavallaro of Cavallaro Building Services
‘The walls in the four bedrooms upstairs aren’t square but angled to allow light and ventilation’

Cosi says architectural homes, such as this speckled brick and aluminium clad project, always look amazing when they’re finished, but they take a lot of time, effort and expertise to get them right. ‘The challenge is trying to achieve what the architect has envisioned and determining the skillset needed in order to build it,’ he says. ‘It’s not for everybody.’

With more than 40 years’ experience in the industry in both commercial and residential building, Cosi has had a diverse career since he started as a standout carpentry apprentice with AV Jennings in 1977. The challenge of complex building work is what motivates him and is why he steered his business, established in 2007, toward high-end homes in Adelaide’s affluent suburbs.

Architect Chris Rowlands of RAD Studio had worked with Cavallaro Building previously and was interested in collaborating again on his latest design called ‘A House On Two Stones’.

Intended to ‘embrace the relationship with nature rather than its suburban context’, Chris says the two-storey home evolved from two monolithic blocks lodged into the site with a canopied upper level cantilevered in between.

A black metal balustrade reaches to the ceiling to screens off the stairs
Adding a touch of artistry to a large west-facing wall is a fluctuating brick pattern

‘Simple folds in the facade allow the building to capture gully breezes, passively ventilating the house,’ he explains. ‘The external rigidity of the architecture is softened by its natural contexts and subtle moments of natural forms.’

When it came to the construction of A House On Two Stones, there was plenty to appeal to Cosi’s love of a challenge. Despite its straight-edged facade, very little is square and straightforward once you step through the enormous timber entry door.

‘There are a lot of elements to make the house look clean and neat,’ Cosi explains. ‘The doors don’t have architraves; the walls in the four bedrooms upstairs aren’t square but angled to allow light and ventilation; and the ceilings are square set. There are no layers anywhere.’

This meant extra care had to be taken to ensure a zero margin of error. ‘It’s a huge workload to achieve all those details because you don’t have any tolerances,’ he says. ‘If your doors aren’t plumb, for example, you will see because you can’t hide it.’

These small details ensure a streamlined, minimalist look, but it’s three key materials that generate the home’s visual wow factor: a brick blend, black Colorbond cladding and correlating vertical aluminium slats.

HIA member Cosi Cavallaro embraced the philosophy of minimalism
COLORBOND® Monument Matte customised cladding provides a real impact

‘The selection of brickwork provides a mottled appearance that shares a similar appearance to the trunks of the surrounding gum trees,’ Chris explains.

The bricks from Austral’s San Selmo range are a dominant feature of the lower-level exterior and outdoor entertaining area at the rear of the property. Here, the lighter whitewashed tones intersect with the curved concrete borders around the garden beds and in the beautifully crafted ‘v’ columns, which appear to lightly suspend the canopy above.

Adding a touch of artistry to a large west-facing wall is a fluctuating brick pattern: ‘We created some interest by laying the bricks flat around the other way and [jutting] out, giving it a completely different design on that wall,’ Cosi explains.

Dark intermittent bricks tie in with the expanses of black cladding, structural steel and the dramatic batten screening that extends out around the second storey from east to west. All public spaces on the lower level have a northern aspect to the garden, with the aluminium slats generating an elegant display of shadows day or night while offering sun relief in summer and sunlight in winter.

‘The brickwork provides a mottled appearance similar to the trunks of the surrounding gum tree’
The challenge was trying to achieve what the architect envisioned

Out of all the intriguing features found in this home, Cosi says the sleek black kitchen is his favourite. Facing the backyard, it soaks up natural light during the day thanks to glazed full height windows and doors, while a replicated version of the exterior slats extends up like a large grille behind it.

‘The kitchen has a bench that runs past the staircase with a black metal balustrade that reaches to the ceiling to screen off the stairs. The effect looks awesome,’ he says.

The curves found in the concrete plinth and streamlined black joinery in the living room helps to soften the severity of the house’s external form. It’s the combination of all these details that illustrate the power of the design and the skill of the craftspeople who brought it all to life.

‘You walk past the front door in awe and when you keep walking through the different spaces, they all have a connection and element to other areas in the house,’ Cosi says. ‘Its position, gardens and pond set the mood straight away. Then you’re in for a wonderful journey as you travel throughout the place.’

Finished around early 2021, Cosi says the client was thrilled with the unique result of their new house. With a mutual respect shared between architect, client and builder, Cosi says they were ensured a successful outcome. ‘The beauty of this project is we had a good relationship with the client and architect all the way through. That makes all the difference,’ he says.

A House on Two Stones at a glance


Cavallaro Building Services


Chris Rowlands, RAD Studio





Published on 16 March 2023

You might also like:

Awards Inspiration Residential Projects
An opulent oasis
Constructed with a clear vision and intentionality, Oasis Cronulla is all about luxury, location and an elevated lifestyle. As a result, this outstanding development won both the 2024 HIA Australian Apartment of the Year and 2024 ...
Jun 24
4 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Inspiration Residential Projects
Into the Horizon
The 2024 HIA-CSR Australian Home of the Year, named ‘Horizon’ for its endless views, is a symphony of bold asymmetric lines, crisply articulated in off-form concrete, steel and glass.
May 24
4 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Residential Projects Construction Inspiration
Pushing boundaries
When a South Australian firm constructed an Adelaide home during the pandemic, they managed to incorporate distinctive elements that tested their problem-solving abilities.
Apr 24
3 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Projects Design Inspiration
How to introduce Peach Fuzz
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the prestigious Pantone Colour of the Year program, a global expression of mood and attitude. Its current Colour of the Year, Peach Fuzz, brings a sense of serenity and positivity to any spa...
Mar 24
4 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Residential Building developments Inspiration Projects
Luxury squared
Taking its design cues from classic European architecture, this cleverly engineered, deceptively detailed home has a commanding street presence.
Mar 24
4 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Residential Awards Inspiration Projects
Leap of faith
When a ceramic artist purchased a dilapidated warehouse, he needed a building team that could sympathetically convert this space into a striking home and dynamic studio.
Mar 24
5 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Concrete Inspiration Residential Projects
Curves ahead
Inspired by the modernist glamour of Palm Springs, this curvaceous concrete-and-timber Brisbane home is as cool and fresh as a summer breeze.
Mar 24
3 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Residential Awards Inspiration Projects
Fuel for thought
When a couple retired after running a service station for 30 years, they hired a fearless builder to create their dynamic 123 House.
Mar 24
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Kitchens Design Building Women Awards Projects
Alfresco and aquarium combo
Western Australia’s Carmen Hansberry is no novice when it comes to interior design. This Senior Creative Designer and business founder showcased her residential talents, winning the HIA 2023 Western Australian Residential Interior...
Jan 24
3 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Design Kitchens Inspiration Projects
Sage advice
Bringing natural tones of sage, mint and olive creates a peaceful ambience in both indoor and outdoor spaces. These muted hues can be easily integrated in popular design styles, from industrial and traditional to Scandi and the Ha...
Nov 23
3 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Kitchens Laundry Inspiration Projects
Bring in the Butler
In a modern kitchen, the butler’s pantry provides functionality and hides away the mighty mess. We reveal the value of the must-have butler’s pantry.
Oct 23
5 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Bathroom Inspiration Projects
Light and grey
A dramatic greyscale palette and intriguing interplay of texture and sculptural form come together in the 2023 HIA Australian Bathroom of the Year.
Oct 23
5 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight