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Luxury, squared

Luxury, squared

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Taking its design cues from classic European architecture, this cleverly engineered, deceptively detailed home has a commanding street presence.

Gabrielle Chariton

Author

Contributor to Housing

Le Cube, a luxury Toorak home named for its bold geometric form, showcases the talents and creative vision of builder and developer Glenn Eagles, owner of Glenneagles Homes. A long-time member of HIA, whose work has attracted numerous awards (‘getting up to around 60 or 80 housing awards,’ he says), Glenn specialises in building insanely high-end spec homes in the exclusive Melbourne suburbs of Toorak and Armadale. Over the years, he’s built 150-plus homes, and although uniform in terms of uncompromising build quality and lavish inclusions, each one is a unique, bespoke creation. 

The inspiration for Le Cube came from the unusual colouring and texture of Petersen Tegl’s Kolumba K19 bricks, which Glenn had seen used on another project. Handmade in the Netherlands, the bricks feature an elongated shape, gentle irregularities and a soft sheen thanks to low-oxygen firing process. But it was the ‘duck-egg grey’ colour of the N19 that won Glenn over. 

‘You just can’t get that colour in Australian bricks. It’s just beautiful. I wanted something designed around that,’ Glenn says. ‘I was in love with the brick so much, we ordered them and had them sitting in a warehouse before we even started the building.’
Le Cube was built by Glenn Eagles and his team at Glenneagles Homes.
The interiors, designed by David Hicks, are all about glamour.
With a clear aesthetic vision in mind, Glenn worked closely with architect Nicholas Day. ‘We probably had five or six goes with the sketches. I wanted three elements – the bricks, the fins going up, and the stucco.’ The resulting design is at once harmonious and striking; the razor-sharp geometry and pleasing proportions allow the materials and construction details to take the spotlight.

The Glenneagles team got to work on the 450-square-metre site in early 2021. A flat corner block usually lends itself to straightforward construction, but there was one early hiccup when they chanced upon a little slice of history while digging: an eight-metre deep well, estimated at up to 160 years old, sitting right on the boundary with the neighbouring home. ‘We had to dig down, shore that up, prop up the neighbour’s house, and remove the well,’ Glenn says. ‘It was a bit of an engineering feat to get around that.’ 

The bricks, which bore a stamp reading ‘SPEAR’, would have been manufactured at Victoria’s Hawthorn Brickworks sometime between 1857 and 1915, and remain part of the fabric of the new house. ‘We kept 100 of the bricks and re-laid them on the floor of the wine cellar as a feature.’
The kitchen utilises innovative finishes and dramatic lighting.
Luxe leather seating was a priority when designing the home cinema.
Le Cube was constructed – as all Glenneagles spec projects are – from full brick, concrete and hard set plaster. Spanning two storeys plus a basement, the exterior is dressed in the Kolumba bricks to the top, with rough-textured stucco to the lower level. The contrast between the two is both studied and dramatic. A shadowline was created by setting the brickwork 150mm off the stucco base. 

‘I wanted the bricks overhanging the outside of the building so it looked like it was cantilevered. It looks like the top bricks are capturing the black base,’ Glenn explains. There was a lot of detailed planning involved in achieving this. ‘We drew up initial sketches of how much of the bricks would be relevant to the base of the black stucco, and played around with height limits of what the stucco should be.’

Once laid, the bricks (220 square metres of them) were simply finished with a sponge and brush. The stucco was applied using a special hopper gun imported from Germany, set to create the ‘chunkiest, roughest’ texture, and painted in a glossy black acrylic. ‘I wanted it to really stand out,’ Glenn says.
The red Ferrari makes a strong statement in this minimalist garage.
Glenn brings an intuitive understanding of his clienteles needs to every project.
The final element of his vision is the powdercoated galvanised steel fins which frame the panels of floor-to-ceiling glazing and visually unify the two storeys of the home. Weighing a total of four tonnes, the steel fins were imported from Europe in eight-metre lengths and laser-cut, millimetre perfect, on site. 

Aimed squarely at the very pinnacle of the housing market, Le Cube is the last word in luxury, with four bedrooms, seven bathrooms, insulated wine cellar, home theatre, six-car garage, a heated, self-cleaning pool and gymnasium. ‘At the level we’re building at, all of this is an expected inclusion. It ticks all the boxes. You must do it,’ Glenn says.

If the exteriors are an exercise in refined austerity, the interiors, designed by David Hicks, are all about glamour. The European influence and emphasis on innovative finishes carries through, along with a dash of Art Deco flair: generously proportioned rooms with 3.5-metre ceilings throughout, meticulously finished curved walls, fluted dado panelling and, everywhere, marble. ‘I think we went through 20 slabs of marble.’
As one of the seven bathrooms, the fittings and fixtures are timeless.
The home office takes its design cues from classic European architecture.
With 51 years’ industry experience, Glenn brings an intuitive understanding of his clientele’s needs to every project. He’s clearly passionate about his craft – each project is a new journey, a new adventure, and a new opportunity to explore the latest techniques, technologies and materials.

Le Cube, which was completed in early 2023 and quickly sold, has already attracted two Victorian HIA awards and Glenn’s pride in his achievement is evident. ‘I pushed for what I wanted and we achieved what we wanted to do, hence why we won the awards,’ he says. ‘When we pulled the scaffold down, it was incredible, a great feeling to see all of that come together.’

Le Cube at a glance

Developer

Glenneagles Homes

Architect

Nicholas Day Architects

Interior design

David Hicks

Landscape construction

Botanic Landscapes

Location

Toorak, Victoria

Materials:

  • Exterior bricks: Petersen Tegl Kolumba K91 bricks
  • External fins: Custom powdercoated steel fins 
  • Window glazing: Double glazing
  • Masonry: Breeze blocks
  • Fence: Off-form concrete 
  • Flooring: Ultra-wide woodcut oak
  • Surface: Patagonia Quartz from G-Lux
  • Panelling: Custom scalloped dado by Hopkins Plaster Studio
  • Marble: Patagonia Quartzite
  • Lighting: Vintage Italian chandeliers from eModerno; bespoke glass pendants by Mark Douglass Design
  • Internal lift: Schindler Commercial
  • Garage floor: Quartzite
  • Ensuite floor/walls: X-bond Microcement from Alternative Surfaces.

First published on 21 March 2024

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