Arriving at the sawmill home of Ben Gilbert and instantly you feel you are about to embark into a very unique house experience. The landscaped natives and last of the summer vegetables greet you at the front entrance of what is a very striking steel front door. The home, only 90 square meters in size, feels anything but small as you walk in as the sense of light and space envelopes you.
The open plan small architectural designed home was the hard work and craft of brothers Ben and Chris Gilbert. Chris is an architect with company, Archier, and Ben a sculpture for his own company, Agency of Sculpture, the two brothers combined their skills to create this award winning home. The home was part of the 2015 series of Grand Designs Australia and has won several architectural awards.
“Chris and I were on the same page about what we wanted to design and create here. It took a year to get the right feel, however you don’t always get the best results planning everything in advance, some elements were thought of as we went.” Ben | Owner of Sawmill House
The home is situated in Yackandandah a small country town located approximately 300km North East of Melbourne.
“I was a bachelor at the time of planning this home and I wanted to influence my home and what space I live in it.” Ben | Owner of Sawmill House
The location of the sight was part of an old sawmill, hence the home is referred to as Sawmill House. Ben’s sculpture business has been operating from the same location for seven years previously, when he thought it would be an ideal location for a home.
“There were many limitations in planning this home, however we are very proud to have created something unique in a town that is steeped in so much historical value - it’s a great achievement.” Ben | Owner of Sawmill House
The first element you notice of the home is the amazing materials used in the build. The large concrete blocks are actually waste concrete that otherwise would have been dis-used. Ben thought these large one tonne blocks would be perfect for part of the exterior of the home.
“The thermal lag is huge so no insulation was required.” Ben | Owner of Sawmill House
Other amazing elements used are the steel front door, macrocarpa wood for the flooring which is also mirrored on the ceiling. An interesting use of patinated brass on the kitchen cupboards and storage area creates a visual uniqueness that is not often seen.
Over looking a tranquil Australian bush setting, Ben and Chris wanted to play around with the use of ensuring the home could be used in many variations. The nine meter long glass door can actually retract, opening up the living quarters to the expansive open deck. The timber screening, can also slide, opening up the space depending on weather and the roof over the deck is designed to move also.
The same features were brought inside too with the master bedroom accessible by pivoting doors which can allow more or less privacy depending on need. The master bedroom also boasts a large glass pivoting door, opening onto a private courtyard. Services and storage for water and wood are cleverly concealed within the timber wall.
The compact bathroom is tucked behind the master bedroom and showcases a striking copper sink, more of those lovely exposed concrete blocks on all a decked floor.
Ben now has plans to extend given he now has a partner and child residing in this beautiful home with him, however at the moment, his young baby shares the one bedroom with his parents.
We wish Ben and his family all the best for the next chapter of the Sawmill House.
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Thank you Ben, for showing us around your amazing home.