The Home of an Architect Designed for Small Living (House Tour)

i’m james garvin uh director of james garvin architecture this is my and my family’s lovely home the clavelli apartment we’ve been living here now for just over a year and it’s brought us great happiness in a typical project i spent a lot of time getting to know the clients and really getting to know the brief and and having a good understanding of the hierarchy of needs and all of that but um when

it’s your own wife and um and it’s yourself a lot of the decisions become pretty obvious from the outset it’s the ultimate motivation really to really nail the project when your family is going to be the one that ends up growing up in it first thing that i noticed was well the block itself was uh pretty run down it had a fairly classically 1960s higgledy piggledy floorplan arrangement but it was in this like unbelievably cool rooftop location extremely exposed to the elements and had this like amazing kind of panoramic view from the south like you can see right

the way down to maribra and then it’s just pacific ocean and all the way to bend buckler at bondi i think the beauty of having such a intense connection with the ocean is that with every minute that passes the light quality changes or there’s something happening out there on the water the impacts the experience of being in the apartment you know we get these awesome sunrises first thing in the mornings probably my favorite time of the day and we’ve sort of got pole position to maximize that experience being perched up on a cliff top from a very kind of like pragmatic standpoint

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the opportunity was in like updating the floor plan that represented the 1960s and bringing it into the 21st century and making it you know current in response to the way people like to live these days the reason we chose timbro is that it’s such a great way to express craftsmanship and that’s very much something that i’m drawn to is like designing stuff that also utilizes someone else’s great expertise they’ve outdone themselves with this project it’s a real testament to the craftsmanship and i really enjoy in all of my projects um giving craftsmen the opportunity to strut their stuff the first thing we had to do which was probably the most ambitious part of

the project was to remove all the walls we ended up pulling everything out completely freeing up the floor plate and then we dropped in these enormous steel beams which carry the rest of the building each one of these beams is about weighs about 500 kilos and was craned in through through that window and it was a really hairy moment actually when they pulled away all the props once the beams were in place and buildings stayed up there’s a really nice interface in the materials between the steel beams and the joinery these sort of soft delicate objects and these like big massive beams that are kind of busting their way and like bracing the whole building part of the design intent was to have this like interplay between the structure and then the joinery as as a negotiation element you know like where they can sort of slide past each other or into each other or through each other the lovely thing about the

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bedrooms with the joining wall and the doors is that if you want it you can have your the bedroom doors open the nursery door open and you can still maintain that connection even though you’re in like quite a private space the successes have been from a material perspective has been watching the patina um on the brass and the marble like evolve over time the really lovely thing about the brass in particular is that it gets polished where you touch it and it’s tarnished where you don’t so unsurprisingly the fridge door handle is the most polished handle of them all it’s just a nice way of like marking time it’s embedded in the in the material with most of my projects i sort of like to keep the the configuration and the palette as restrained as possible and then let the clients in this case us bring our own personality into it via opportunities for object display and artwork and furniture and stuff if the objective of great architecture is to enrich the lives of its inhabitants then this project i think is uh is testament to that it’s been such a treat to experience this place firsthand as the occupant and not every architect gets to live in one of their places it’s kind of reassuring to know that we’ve sort of got it right

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