American designer and architect Charles Eames (1907 – 1978) said it best: “The details are not the details. They make the design.”
And nothing in Canberra is a bigger testament to this statement than Blackett Homes’ stunning award-winning display home in Whitlam.
Ahead of the curve in so many ways (you’ll understand this joke later), the stunning and unique build recently walked away with the highly coveted Master Builders Association Display Home of the Year award – recognised for its quality workmanship.
Crediting their success to their collaboration with design partners Thursday Architecture, Sugar Design, and Pioneer Kitchens, the win also highlights the latest era of Blackett Homes as they refine their focus on luxury custom-built homes. But this family-owned and operated business has always believed you can’t go past quality. No wonder they’ve been trusted by locals since 1981.
“We’ve done everything from three-storey walk-up apartments – one of which we won Apartment of the Year in Braddon – to renovations and extensions,” says Blackett Homes founder David Howarth.
“But now we’re focusing purely on custom-built homes. We do our own home and land custom-built homes but most of the work we do is for clients.”
Working closely with his sons Geoff and Matthew Howarth (the Blackett Home Managing Director and Construction Manager respectively), when the team was originally invited to join the Whitlam Displays Village, they knew they wanted to build something completely unique for modern families.
“We wanted to create something different, not just the standard double-story display home you see. Our display home is very contemporary,” says Geoff.
“It was a very striking design, and we were really impressed [by Thursday Architecture] from the start.”
Finding a balance between buildability and design, the display home is filled with nods to mid-century modern design principles and aesthetics and is jokingly referred to as the “curly whirly house” thanks to the striking curves of the façade. But it’s when you discover the small details throughout that you realise how much painstaking work has gone into every aspect of the design and build.
From the carefully chosen colour palette of green, brass, cream, and brown (highlighted by the styling done by Coco Republic) to the clever curves that are found in every room – from arched doorways to the kitchen island bench and even the bottom step of the timber staircase – in the clean design concept, simplicity is key.
For example, on the bottom floor, the formal sunken lounge area evokes feelings of comfort and cosiness while the multi-purpose room can cleverly be turned into a home theatre, a study, or a bedroom, depending on the family’s needs.
Beyond the formal lounge is the dining space paired with a kitchen and bar. Including a large warm-toned marble bench top made from engineered stone – a piece of craftsmanship that’s also carried through to the splashback and bar – the showpiece exudes sophistication and elegance. It’s easy to picture yourself entertaining the extended family, especially with the series of alfresco and garden spaces punctuating the home.
Meanwhile, on the upper level, the three bedrooms are divided by a clever breakout space that can be used for study or work-from-home days, separating kids and parents while allowing them to maintain their own sense of space.
Other talking points? The tropical tiles featured in both bathrooms, bring a pop of fun into the sophisticated wet rooms – both of which feature curved fluted shower screens, adding character to your private oasis – and the innovative mudroom that helps to facilitate the demands of contemporary family living.
Built during the worst storm Blackett Homes has ever seen to hit the building industry – the Black Summer Bushfires, the wettest two years on record, and the COVID-19 pandemic – when David, Geoff, and Matthew heard they won the Master Builders Association Display Home of the Year award they felt “ecstatic”.
“Some of the comments the judges made was about the attention to detail – there was a lot of discussion between us and the judges about how we had to collaborate with a lot of the contractors to make things work and that was something that happened on site while the build was going on,” says Matthew.
“It was a real joint process with the workers, whereas with standard homes contractors can go in and just build the house. But with this – with the details – you really had to work closely with them. I think they understood that once they walked in here, they could see all the detailed finishes.”
Like the seven-star sustainability rating.
From suburb insulation to a cutting-edge solar system and a meticulously thought-out design that strategy positions windows to harness the full potential of passive solar benefits of the property’s location (overlooking distant mountains), and a motorised retractable canvas awning, you can’t deny the intricate planning and craftsmanship in every aspect of the display home.
“It’s just the little things that add up,” says David.
Open for public viewing from 10 am until 4 pm, Thursdays to Sundays, you can also make private viewing appointments to see the display home for yourself.
What: Blackett Homes Display Home.
When: Open Thursday to Sunday, 10 am – 4 pm.
Where: 3 St Leon Street, Whitlam.