Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Scoop Homes and Art 37 Contents 80 HOMES & ART WINTER 2013
Black houses | The Dark Side
AMY MUIR AND
“Black houses don’t generally scream for
attention, being recessive in both urban
and rural settings,” says Amy Muir, who
designed this house with life and business
partner Bruno Mendes. The home, in
Melbourne’s inner city, sits quietly in a
narrow one-way street. Wedged between
a Victorian worker’s cottage and a two-
storey 1980s brick townhouse, it features
an all-black painted steel exterior and
what’s referred to as a ‘drawbridge’-style
front window that allows a sliver of light
to enter the front bedroom. “We wanted
to create a ‘blank’ facade, something that
would speak to both neighbouring homes
of different styles,” says Mendes.
Beyond the black fascia, white walls
feature in the open-plan kitchen and living
areas, as well as in the two bedrooms.
However, to accentuate the white walls and
timber floors, there are strong accents of
black and charcoal. Charcoal-black felt eco
panels, for example, frame the passage to
the living areas, and appear in the kitchen
joinery, partly located under a black folded-
steel staircase. “The eco panels are like the
black cross-section you see on architects’
plans,” says Muir, who wanted to exaggerate
the folded ceiling in the living areas.
The black theme of the Muir-Mendes
house extends to some of the built-in
furniture, also designed by the couple.
As well as the striking black metal stairs,
there’s a built-in steel desk for the first-floor
study. Black steel was also used to conceal
the heating units, with the bookshelves
made from the same material. To add drama
and protection from harsh sunlight, an
army fatigue net is used as a sunshade
over the central skylight.
“We wanted the black facade to have
the opposite effect to the interior. The white
walls in the passage appear even more
brilliant when you first walk in,” says Muir.
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