Universal Housing Hero: liveable housing gets the ‘wow’ factor in this iconic project

We take a look inside this two-bedroom residence that shows that universal housing design has never been sexier.

Original Article written and published by CompleteHome.com.au

A universally designed home aims to create inclusive living spaces that make life simpler and safer for residents young or old, able-bodied or mobility-challenged. These homes are easy to enter, navigate and adapt to changing circumstances. In essence, universally designed digs serve their occupants until the end of their lives and all the stages that come before, no matter how their circumstances change.

Pavilion Lutzow Project is a case study in universal housing, and demonstrates the successful integration of universal features that allow residents to remain in their homes for longer.

Looking to downsize but unimpressed with the idea of traditional aged care, John and Maree O’Shea envisaged an accessible home built to universal housing design principles, where their nine grandkids could visit and John could get around unimpeded. An accident that left John with lifelong mobility challenges and limitations was considered in every step of the design and process.

“Provision for possible onsite care is critical,” says John. “What’s more important is that we have made accessible features sexy. They are not merely practical solutions, they also look sensational, and we think this project will ignite curiosity from many family groups, particularly those interested in retiring without the nursing home.”

Citing the multi-layered nature of the modern retiree as the impetus for their grand design, John and Maree say the home is ideal for older occupants seeking quality (quality of their home and lifestyle) and security in their golden years. The keen caravaners also requested a design that would accommodate and incorporate their home on wheels.

Sustainability, liveability and affordability were key traits instilled in the residence the owners refer to as their “Hardies’ home”. “The sweet of James Hardie cladding provided us with a wonderful opportunity to apply form, function and wow factor all rolled into one. Each product was carefully selected so as to enhance the architectural flare of the pavilion design,” says John. A pavilion-style structure was agreed upon as it allowed for the most flexible floor plan capable of alteration. Sporting a huge deck with city views, the retreat pavilion (top level) comprises a large master suite with a built-in robe and beautifully appointed ensuite, leisure room, bathroom, kitchenette and private balcony.

The upper and ground levels are connected by a lift and an architecturally designed staircase of raw oak, with shadow line detailing and a matching batten balustrade.

Down on the ground-floor living pavilion is a dining area, kitchen, pantry and laundry, plus the all-important living space with a stunning feature wall constructed using James Hardie matrix board off-cuts. Applied in a double-stack brick-bond pattern and painted in metallic rose gold, the wall commands attention. The kitchen is a showstopper with all its accessible features, carefully selected Polytec finishes, polished Geoluxe stone benchtops and accessorised with Tink mixer, Shock sink and Miele cooking appliances.

The gallery pavilion provides a stunning entry into the home thanks to a 4.5m timber ceiling that stretches to the guest suite (the caravan). “Our caravan had to have park-up provisions to enable water and electricity connections,” explains John. “The caravan has become a spare bedroom but in time it could be used as a granny flat for a carer or a home for one of our grandchildren.”

The galley is lined with several banks of louvres at floor level and fixed glass at the top. Long beaded pendants hang from the timber ceiling while three custom solid timber doors on Brio track systems are examples of how the home turns functional fixtures into stylish showpieces. A studio pavilion houses awards and art, but can be easily converted to onsite carer rooms. Each room enjoys larger-than-average dimensions to cater for wheelchair use, while furniture was positioned to eliminate any restrictions.

An oversized garage with a built-in workstation, storage space and non-slip flooring allows easy access to individuals with mobility challenges.

Textured elements gel with the neutral interior palette. “With an interest in balancing the mind, body and soul, it was extremely important for me to have elements and colour schemes that provide spaces that enhance wellbeing,” explains Maree, who implemented feng shui elements throughout the interior scheme.

LED lighting strips help highlight the stackstone (combination of greys and blacks with a dash of white) used on the studio walls and the gatehouse. The landscaped gardens, driveway, paths and tiled entrance seal the front of the house.

“Our project has a multifaceted approach to design, building and living,” John concludes. “With the ever-increasing number of baby boomers interested in exploring suitable life options, this project ticks all the boxes.”

You can check out the full gallery for the amazing, thoughtful family home, here!