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A peek inside some of Canberra’s coolest houses

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There are those people who grew up and built the house they always dreamed of, and those of us who are stuck watching The Block.

Recently the ACT Master Builders Awards celebrated the best of the former, and we’ve got you a sneak peek inside a few of Canberra’s most sustainable, cost-effective and architecturally amazing homes.


Canberra’s an old city, with a lot of old houses. But like all the guests on Queer Eye, whilst they’ve got good bones and character, they need a little makeover to really shine. And like a guy who’s style is a bit retro, it’s all about updating the look whilst retaining that decades-old charm.

When Bespoke Building Services and Light House Architecture & Science took the reins of Vasey House in Campbell, their biggest challenge was a house that needed a modern transformation with as little obvious alterations and extensions as possible.

Winner of the Sustainable Residential Construction Award, Vasey House epitomises the phrase “happiness is an inside job”, with little work done to change the classic 1960s façade, and more done to make the inside feel like a new home.

Wooden floors are a nod to its history, whilst wide, open windows, a clean, neutral palette and a 75% reduction in heating and cooling costs bring the house into the 21st century.


When you imagine your dream house, what do you picture? Multiple levels? Sterling views of your home city? A children’s wing? Separate and liveable guest floor? Kitchen joinery imported from Germany?

Well, Canberra’s 2018 House of the Year has all the above and more, as well as a suitably suave name to match (‘Onyx‘). We’re talking thermal insulated and noise-minimising floors, a protected courtyard, double glazing, three levels across a sloped site, outdoor terrace, and a north-facing living space that provides a double whammy of rain protection and access to winter light. Phew.

A part of the Denman Prospect, and brought together by Better Building Services, DNA Architects and Sugar Designs, Onyx is a display home designed for Australian families today and in future, with aesthetics and comfort at the forefront of design.

For those of us still in share houses, there’s always IKEA.


Remember the first time you had a party at home, and quickly realised that 30 friends didn’t really fit into your tiny living room? This is the house you wished you lived in then.

Commanding more than 350m2, this Yarralumla behemoth features a living and kitchen space more than equipped for functions (think: heated polished concrete immune to the wear and tear of parties and pets), bedrooms granted privacy with an upstairs living space, a two-way stone fireplace, butlers pantry, not one – but two – freestanding baths, and a master bedroom overlooking the outdoor pool.

Designed by Brother Projects, and winning the MBA’s Best Custom Build Contract Home (more than 350m2) Award, this two-story mini palace was designed to be a liveable architectural beauty.

Sure, we’d make do with two bedrooms and an inflatable pool, but we wouldn’t say no to a home like this.


We’ve all been there, but while some of us are still waiting for Kmart or Aldi to bring out their next inexpensive range of homewares, MSL Projects has created the ultimate caviar home for a tuna fish price.

Picture it: a kitchen with stainless steel appliances, stone bench tops and walk-in pantry fit for a whole family’s worth of snacks, four spacious bedrooms including a master bedroom with ensuite and walk-in wardrobe, two living areas (so the kids can be distracted by YouTube in one room and mum and dad can enjoy an Oscar-winning flick in the other), and a two-car garage.

A modern imagining of what constitutes a great family home, this Lester Terrace house took out the MBA Project Home (More Than $300,000) category.

Want more? Click here for more Canberra interior and design goodness. 

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