little[house] BIG[FAMILY]

Design / Life

Neither the wedge-shaped block nor the surprise news that they would be welcoming a fifth baby during the construction of this mid-century family home was ever too big a challenge for this design team.

Suzie Hunt was first approached by a young doctor with a baby in her arms (her fourth child), and a surprisingly thorough folio of design ideas for her family’s forever home. Robust, sustainable, low maintenance, minimal, colourful and playful were the key design drivers for the 845sqm site just 100m from Swanbourne beach.

While the client is an avid collector of vintage second-hand furniture and ceramics and an admirer of mid-century design, this home is not a pastiche but a reflection of the ethos of mid-century.


“It’s about the synergy between architecture, interiors and landscaping, which is part of the way we practice in all of our projects,” Suzie said.


While Suzanne Hunt Architect worked on the architecture and interiors, they collaborated with PLAN E from the early design stage in order to achieve the vision for the home to be designed around the landscaping, and vice versa, so that the lines were blurred.

Beyond the green-glazed entry door lies the double-height void surrounded by panels of exposed brick and feature windows with external louvres in blue and green. Here, a vintage covered lounge, art, plants and feature lights give the space a conservatory ambience.

To give the kitchen, dining and living a sense of space, the south boundary was pulled back to create a Japanese Zen courtyard, while the lounge room – spectacularly decorated with a custom Jenny Jones rug – was sunk and the timber ceiling above raised. 280-degree views from the kitchen capture the green soft-fall ground that encompasses a trampoline and cubby, the blue Danpalon-covered alfresco and raised deck beyond, the grassed area, pool and playroom.

A feature chocolate floating brick wall frames the stair/bookshelf unit to the first-floor bedroom wing, while a vibrantly wallpapered lift caters to aging grandparents.

To the west five bedrooms, an art room, break out space and two small bathrooms line a colourful long corridor with a ply framed and boxed picture window seat at the end. Baby number five, who entered the world at the beginning of construction, was seamlessly accommodated by what was originally a nanny’s room.


“The kids were all given an opportunity to pick the colour their doors would be painted, and then chose a really vibrant wallpaper while we designed simple ply desks at the windows.”


To the east the parent’s room features ensuite and robe, and is open on both sides with sliding doors to a balcony with planters, views to Allen Park and ocean glimpses.

With the long elevation on the north and south of the site, the home captures the sun and is sheltered from the wind. It also makes the most of high-level windows for breeze, while 20kw of PV on the roof caters to the rare need for air conditioning.

Delivering on budget and to the ‘no-waste-of-space’ brief with exceptional design clarity, littleBIG packs a serious punch.


Builder: Jumeirah Homes


littleBIG is in the running for a 2019 WA Architecture Award