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Kerferd House

The Kerferd House is a back-to-basics project by Melbourne-based Architects Whiting Architects, extremely considerably like a child’s drawing of a home: rectangular-shape, pitched-roof, higher-window, featuring major-types and easy-geometry. The interior plays on primal themes of comfort and nesting, with texture and warmth foremost. Archetypal primary forms enable us to relate on a subconscious level putting us at ease instantly.

Kerferd-House-By-Whiting-Architects-02-Sharyn-Cairns-847x1200 Kerferd House / Whiting Architects

© Sharyn Cairns

“The designers have effortlessly succeeded in what they set out to achieve with this “holiday house in the city.” This is an incredibly calm and balanced interior that doesn’t rely on hero or large signature elements. Instead, each element comes together to play its part in creating a layered home, reinforcing the bigger idea behind the home. There is a seamless integration of both the interior design and interior decoration of this project and it’s impossible to see where one starts and the other stops. The designer has had a clear vision for this house from conception and has relentlessly pursued this through to completion, drawing on all the tools of a designer to execute it. Within a deliberately restrained palette, the designer has employed rich textures of chunky wool and creased linens to reinforce the idea of “nesting” within the home. These are spaces where the decorative elements play as much importance as the designed elements. This house not only reflects the way this family lives, but also reflects the personality of the people who choose to call this home.” – Jury Citation/Australian Interior Design Awards

Kerferd-House-By-Whiting-Architects-03-Sharyn-Cairns-890x1200 Kerferd House / Whiting Architects

© Sharyn Cairns

This project is not revival or mock period developing, it is modern primarily based on current design and style pondering, straightforward to engage with, to frame & discuss.

The project needed a sense of ‘belonging without having replicating’. The architects avoided the standard flat-roof response at odds with the site and in-contrast to the surrounding constructed-environment. This ‘new’ need to improve the ‘sense-of-place’ that transcends fashion, and remains contemporary and robust. Whiting Architects separated new from old with clear delineation space to supply physical break between the 2-buildings. They produced an infill-constructing completing the current roof-best topography of the location.

Kerferd-House-By-Whiting-Architects-06-Sharyn-Cairns-759x422 Kerferd House / Whiting Architects

© Sharyn Cairns

This project was a cost effective create. Maximum-impact with minimum-outlay. Below-time under-price range. Purchased, value-add (reno), sold: did properly. Undertake detailed 1st-stage construction methodology & fees are assessed in detail well prior to documentation.

No concrete (other than stumps) was employed in the project, generating it a sustainable lightweight-building, making use of the most current insulation goods (sheet & bulk) with minimal structural-steel. The renovation usede composite-trusses and scissor-truss-roof enabling fairly wide airspace in the roof, enabling for passive solar-heating, and excellent cross-ventilation.

Kerferd-House-By-Whiting-Architects-08-Sharyn-Cairns-848x1200 Kerferd House / Whiting Architects

© Sharyn Cairns

Whiting Architects:

Recognisable ‘dignity-of-style’ developed through familiar forms and archetypal elements.

A child’s drawing of a house; rectangular-shape, pitched-roof, high-window, featuring primary-forms and simple-geometry. Reading as an archetype, a prototype; the first in a run.

Kerferd-House-By-Whiting-Architects-11-Sharyn-Cairns-848x1200 Kerferd House / Whiting Architects

© Sharyn Cairns

‘Making’ something that just ‘feels-right’ through a subliminal, intuitive interpretation of subconsciously familiar architectural elements; corrugated-iron-roof, gable-ended-pitched roof, square high-window, primary-geometry: triangle, rectangle, square, extrapolated into 3D objects stacked about the house like giant crates.

These aren’t features belonging particularly to any single suburb – but are common where almost everyone lives. Despite this ubiquity, we seek to bring these elements together in an unusually refined and beautiful composition. The house should be a lesson in pride. It helps us to recognise the dignity of a style of building which is regarded as humble only because it has not until now been attended to properly. We point to some of what there is to be proud of in suburbs, in a realistic and practical way.

Kerferd-House-By-Whiting-Architects-14-Sharyn-Cairns-848x1200 Kerferd House / Whiting Architects

© Sharyn Cairns

We hope for something more in our work, an engagement with the building that transcends the obvious, something that bathes the subconscious and just feels right ‘intuitively’.

And therein lies the challenge, “feels right intuitively”: – to remain an unspoken joy.

Back-to-basics, child’s drawing of a house; rectangular-shape, pitched-roof, high-window, featuring primary-forms and simple-geometry. Reading as an archetype, prototype; the first-in-a-run.

Kerferd-House-By-Whiting-Architects-15-Sharyn-Cairns-890x1200 Kerferd House / Whiting Architects

© Sharyn Cairns

Built form & context ‘complimentary-opposite, relating through height, scale & proportion. ‘Belonging without replicating’. Avoid typical flat-roof response at odds with site and in-contrast to the surrounding built-environment. ‘New’ should enhance ‘sense-of-place’ transcend fashion, remain contemporary and robust. Avoid clichéd, ‘heroic-modernist’ box, or one-liner ‘gimmick-piece’ in-which arbitrary forms are used to generate buildings. Separate new from old with clear delineation space to provide physical break between the 2-buildings. Created an infill-building completing the existing roof-top topography of the area. Our site was the missing ‘tooth’

Kerferd-House-By-Whiting-Architects-16-Sharyn-Cairns-890x1200 Kerferd House / Whiting Architects

© Sharyn Cairns

INTERIORS ‘interior’ as profound as ‘exterior’ key-part of our offer. External & internal ‘box-forms’ are ordering-devices; clad, screen & define specific-areas & usage, & breakdown facade. They support kitchen-appliances, house clothing, conceal walls and services & work to provide a unified theme binding interior to exterior. Blur boundary between interior & exterior. Internal joinery ‘elements’ & walls are presented as ‘objects’, like the idea that these ‘elements’ appear as if they can be slid-out, taking them with you when you go. Interested in the duality of the permanence of this urban environment & the transient nature of modern living.

Kerferd-House-By-Whiting-Architects-17-Sharyn-Cairns-848x1200 Kerferd House / Whiting Architects

© Sharyn Cairns

We like the user to ‘curate’ the space we help create; that is, we bring things to their ‘personal museum’ and they bring things and arrange these things. We facilitate a ‘process of operation’ helping to them programme the way they live. In this context it becomes a very natural process, like nesting. Its primal and really there is no more important or profound thing than helping to make a home for a family. I’m inspired by the memories my children have of the places they grew up (with in). Its all about the interior interaction not the facade, the interior is the thing that impacts while for them the architectural envelope was matter-of-fact. Its the type and quality of space my children had that was important to them. Creating a home is a very personal thing. We need to know and understand the people we designing for. It’s like painting a portrait, I can’t imagine an artist could really capture someone without knowing them.

Kerferd-House-By-Whiting-Architects-18-Whiting-Architects-759x506 Kerferd House / Whiting Architects

© Whiting Architects

Project Data:

Project name: Kerferd
Location: 5 Kerferd Pl, Albert Park, Melbourne VIC, Australia
Coordinates: -37.842420, 144.957684

  • Type By Characteristic: Renovation / Expansion / Extension : House, Green & Sustainable House, House Interior
  • Type By Site: City / Town House
  • Type By Size: Medium House – (201 sqm – 450 sqm)
  • Type By Materials: Wooden House, Brick House

Project Area: 240 sqm
Status: Built
Completion Year: 2013


  • 2015 – Australian Interior Design Awards – Category: Residential Decoration – Winner
  • 2015 – Australian Interior Design Awards – Category: Best of State Residential Design
  • 2015 – Australian Interior Design Awards – Category: Residential Design – Commendations
  • 2014 – City of Port Phillip Awards – Category: Best Heritage re-development – Winner

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Private
Architects: Whiting Architects – PO BOX 18 Albert Park Melbourne VIC 3206 Australia
Project Architect: Steven Whiting
Project Team: Steven Whiting, Carole Whiting, Emma Hunting
Builder: Latrobe Building Services
Engineer: John Gardner and Associates
Text Description: © Courtesy of Whiting Architects, Australian Interior Design Awards, ikeadecoration
Images: © Whiting Architects, Sharyn Cains

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Kerferd House / Whiting Architects
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