Dare to Dream

The Lakehaus fireplace in winter 

Vic and Sandi’s dream house in the Perth Hills of Western Australia did not fit the mould for the banks, not in design, not in location, and the banks certainly could not see the value.

This becomes a bit of a problem when finance is required!

And yet, every aspect of this house has been so carefully considered, it is certainly destined to be one of Perth’s iconic homes for generations to come. Inspired by the Bauhaus art and architecture movement (1919-1933) the architecture follows the proportions and design of the Barcelona pavilion designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the World Exposition in Barcelona, Spain in 1929. Completed in August 2022, this Bauhaus inspired home has already welcomed a number of Perth architectural students and enthusiasts who have this rare opportunity to see and understand the uniqueness of influences from the Bauhaus movement.

Originating in Germany, many key designers of the Bauhaus movement migrated to the United States where exceptional examples of this style can now be found. A study trip to California in 2018 included research visits to a number of Richard Neutra residences in Los Angeles as well as the award winning Windhover Centre at Stanford University, itself inspired by the Barcelona Pavilion and executed by the San Francisco architecture studio of Aidlin Darling. Throw in a sprinkling of Palm Springs mid-century modern influences, including the Twin Palms residence designed for Frank Sinatra by E Stewart Williams in 1947, and all the elements of Vic’s design were starting to come together.

On their return to Australia the hunt was on to find the right land for what had adopted the concept title of the Lakehaus project, with a north facing aspect and mature trees to the West supporting a specific microclimate essential to the design. This enabled passive solar capability with all main living and bedroom areas enjoying warmth from the lower winter sun, while deep overhangs were calculated to protect the home from summer heat. High performance glazing maximises temperature stability, and clever placement of louvered glazing through the east/west axis encourages natural ventilation from prevailing breezes from the nearby lake and hills.

The passive solar house is designed to blend into the natural environment and provide a true sanctuary for those who visit and those who live there, with the door always open for friends and family. Quite literally in fact, as the entire living area can have the floor to ceiling glass walls opened to the natural bush cradling the house.
 
Original concept drawings of the Lakehaus 

So much of the design and detail of this home is not apparent to the eye, and so this did not fit bank expectations when it came to sourcing finance for this unique project. This was no box on a block project home!

Firstly, we had to find a bank valuer that understood the design brief and could visualise the completed project, where we had a variation of over $200K on value between the different banks that we approached. The comment was made by one valuer that the block chosen had no real value to such a house and that Vic and Sandi would be better selling it and starting again in another location. Vic’s comment was that this block with the perfect orientation and microclimate took him a long time to find and, quite simply, he couldn’t find better.

Still, we persevered, and facing challenge after challenge Vic and Sandi were able to maintain their focus and their dream, adjusting plans along the way, and the house was built! When I visited the Lakehaus in November 2022 the landscaping was still to be done, but with a small tower of limestone blocks waiting, a willing stonemason in the vicinity, and a clever purchase of a cancelled bulk order ornamental pear trees ready for planting, it will not be long before the next stage is complete.

This unique home truly is a testament to Vic and Sandi’s belief and determination that dreams are worth fighting for!
 
Vic and Sandi with natural bush reflections
Vic and Sandi welcoming guests to their Lakehaus in the Australian Bush