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Inside the Japanese retreat at 28 Mackennal Street in Canberra

Behind the unique front of this 1950s home lies a spectacular ‘Japanese retreat’ – complete with a dreamy bathroom sanctuary, modern decor and an airy open plan living area perfect for entertaining

  • An architect has created an epic oriental retreat fronted by an unassuming façade on a quiet Canberra street
  • The one-of-a-kind home at 28 Mackennal Street in Lyneham was inspired by Japanese interior design
  • Made from Australian-sourced recycled materials, it has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a four-car garage
  • Standout features include a bath clad in Tasmanian oak and a grass-watering system controlled from an app
  • The outdoor deck is made out of timber salvaged from a basketball court at the Australian Institute of Sport
  • So unique is the design that the home is nominated for the 2020 Master Builders Association Housing Awards

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An architect has transformed a 1950s brick cottage into a unique oriental retreat fronted by an unassuming façade on a quiet Canberra street.

Redesigned in collaboration between construction firm MegaFlora and architect Blake O’Neill, the one-of-a-kind two-storey at 28 Mackennal Street in Lyneham, in the capital’s leafy north, was inspired by the owners’ love of Japanese interiors which are simple but always of the highest quality craftsmanship.

Built from recycled materials sourced across New South Wales and the ACT, the four-bedroom house – which took three years to complete – has sustainability etched into every corner.

The outdoor entertainment deck is made out of timber salvaged from an old basketball court at the Australian Institute of Sport, while a whopping 680 metres of repurposed hardwood battens run along the ceiling alone.

The redesigned 1950s cottage at 28 Mackennal Street in Canberra, which has been transformed into a unique four-bed home

Spacious living areas with towering ceilings and a north-facing kitchen which opens onto the terrace are spread over 292 square metres, along with a master bedroom complete with a walk-in wardrobe and ensuite with two showers.

‘The open plan design of the master bedroom and ensuite makes it feel generous but the use of darker colours and a high level window which captures the street trees helps to create a sense of intimacy and privacy,’ architect Blake O’Neill told Daily Mail Australia.

A wooden bathtub clad in recycled Tasmanian oak is the centre-piece of the master bathroom which is flooded with natural light and covered in handmade floor-to-ceiling finger tiles – a traditional interior trend in the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’.  

The north-facing kitchen has sliding doors which open onto the outdoor entertainment deck, made from recycled timber

The north-facing kitchen has sliding doors which open onto the outdoor entertainment deck, made from recycled timber

Four bedrooms (one pictured) are spread over the 292 square metre house

Handmade finger tiles (pictured) are fixed to the walls of the two bathrooms

Four bedrooms (one pictured left) and two bathrooms fitted with handmade Japanese finger tiles (right) are spread over the 292 square metre house

Custom features include a steel fireplace (pictured) and recycled hardwood battens which run along the ceiling

Custom features include a steel fireplace (pictured) and recycled hardwood battens which run along the ceiling

Other custom features include a steel frame encasing the brick fireplace and an enormous origami lamp, perhaps the most literal example of Japanese influence.

Natural materials were used wherever possible to bring a sense of the outdoors inside the home, Mr O’Neill revealed.

‘The theme revolves heavily around showcasing craftsmanship and drawing on elements of Japanese design like quality and the use of natural materials to create a home that is highly detailed and considered,’ he said.

A wooden bathtub clad in recycled Tasmanian oak is the centre-piece of the master bathroom, flooded with natural light

A wooden bathtub clad in recycled Tasmanian oak is the centre-piece of the master bathroom, flooded with natural light

There's plenty of space for a large family, with three children's bedrooms

And an enormous walk-in wardrobe in the master for parents

There’s plenty of space for a large family, with three children’s bedrooms (one pictured left) and an enormous walk-in wardrobe in the master (right) for parents

The one-of-a-kind two-storey at 28 Mackennal Street in Lyneham, in the capital's leafy north, was inspired by the owners' love of Japanese interiors

The one-of-a-kind two-storey at 28 Mackennal Street in Lyneham, in the capital’s leafy north, was inspired by the owners’ love of Japanese interiors

‘Light, a sense of space and connectiveness to the outdoors also feature heavily.’

Outside, the landscaped garden is watered by a ‘smart’ irrigation system which can be controlled remotely from a phone app.

There’s also a roller door garage with parking space for four cars and a standalone studio attached to the main part of the house which could be used as a home office, rumpus room or guest suite.

The landscaped garden is watered by a 'smart' irrigation system which can be controlled remotely from a phone app

The landscaped garden is watered by a ‘smart’ irrigation system which can be controlled remotely from a phone app

Natural materials were used wherever possible to bring a sense of the outdoors inside the home, architect Blake O'Neill said

Natural materials were used wherever possible to bring a sense of the outdoors inside the home, architect Blake O’Neill said

The property (pictured) has been shortlisted for the 2020 Master Builders Association Housing Awards, held in November

The property (pictured) has been shortlisted for the 2020 Master Builders Association Housing Awards, held in November

So unique is the design that the property has been shortlisted for the 2020 Master Builders Association Housing Awards, which take place in November.

The house was originally listed for sale with McGrath realtors when the owners planned to up sticks and travel around Australia in a campervan with their young daughter.

COVID slammed the brakes on that idea, but the couple decided to temporarily relocate to the South Coast before taking on their next design project which may well be their ‘forever home’.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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