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Farnham’s old home hits the right note

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Dromsally Rise, Warranwood. Dromsally Rise, Warranwood.
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The suburban house-cum-studio where The Voice recorded some of his biggest hits is going under the hammer next weekend.

The Warranwood property, which has changed hands since it was John Farnham’s Gotham Records nerve centre, is expected to reach the mid-$800,000s.

Recording artists Merril Bainbridge and Mantissa are also credited with laying down tracks in the rustic mudbrick property in the 1990s, when it was kitted out as the Gothic Audio studio.

It’s since been transformed into a family home, offering up to five bedrooms and four living areas.

”It’s a very distinctive home that’s had a very nice renovation,” Carter agent David Green says.

The house at 11 Dromsally Rise, which sits on a 1864-square-metre block, will be auctioned on September 15.

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Pub reshuf’f’le speeds up

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MORE than $25 million worth of pubs have changed hands in the past week as investors return to the once-troubled sector.
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The deals have been done by well-known and experienced pub operators, which helps ensure longer-term success.

Previously, investor buyers have overpaid and then overcapitalised on renovations, subsequently being forced to sell at large losses.

Two of the biggest sales were in Newtown, which experienced a changing of the guard along the busy King Street strip.

The Marlborough Hotel was sold through Mike Wheatley of Knight Frank for $12.17 million to the Riversdale pub fund, aligned with John Singleton, which now has seven hotels.

The hotel, on the corner of King Street and Missenden Road, was offered for the first time in 27 years.

Cooley Auctions director Damien Cooley said the sale of such a landmark hotel was extremely encouraging for the market and a sign of good things to come this spring.

It was one of two hotels being sold by owner Chris Crawley, the other being Jacksons on George in the city. Mr Crawley’s widely reported court-case loss to industry publicans the Short family, along with financial pressures, led to the sale.

The Marlborough Hotel is a 24-hour-approved hotel with 30 gaming machines and sits across the road from the soon-to-be-reopened Newtown Hotel, the first project of the Keystone Hospitality Group in a post-Short-family incarnation. The latter hotel is undergoing a renovation costing $6 million and is set to reopen before Christmas.

The chief executive of Riversdale, Patrick Coughlan, said the group’s portfolio was now worth $85 million and he was targeting $150 million before looking at a public float.

”The purchase of the Marlborough continues our strategy of securing the best pub, in the best position, in some of Sydney’s best suburbs,” Mr Coughlan said.

In addition, the Bank Hotel has been sold by private owners to the Solotel Hotel Group for a price believed to be about $10 million, by Ray White Hotels, below replacement considering it was the subject of an $8 million renovation only a few years ago.

Also in Newtown, the Zanzibar Hotel remains on the market and the Sandringham Hotel is being sold at present by the receiver Ferrier Hodgson, further changing the landscape.

The national director of pub investment sales at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, John Musca, said: ”If anything, the two sales highlight how bespoke and selective buyer approaches can be to hotel assets even in the same locales, with the Marlborough attracting spirited bidding and the Bank selling at a discount notwithstanding its exceptional attributes and presentation. On the back of the Australian Leisure Holdings portfolio acquisition and the Goldman Sachs consortiums National Leisure & Gaming purchase of 24 hotels, the pub market has been particularly active this year, sparking the first-time offering of a top-50 gaming hotel for sale publicly.

”The Guildford Hotel – with a 24-hour approval, 30 gaming machines, occupying a large site area with parking and adjacent to Coles – is to be offered for sale by public tender.”

Mr Musca, the selling agent, said that more than 66 per cent of the state’s top 50 gaming hotels now resided with institutions or large private hotel groups that never sold down assets, so the opportunity to buy businesses such as these was notably rare.

Ray White hotel broker Andrew Jolliffe sold the Bank Hotel on King Street. He said it had been operating at the same location for more than a century and had sold for the first time since 1969.

”The sale of the hotel highlights the second King Street, Newtown, property we have sold in recent times and represents the compelling attraction of the city fringe hotel market,” Mr Jolliffe said.

”Like the Caringbah Inn, the Bank Hotel was operated by the same family for over 40 years.

”Newtown is a robust investment arena for hotels, comprising major transport interchange investment, a hospital, university and burgeoning retail strip.”

Ray White Hotels is in discussions with other buyers regarding separate Newtown hotel assets.

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Top marks for assets

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STUDENT housing has moved into the spotlight as a viable asset class, with superannuation funds and high net-worth individual developers all keen investors.
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The attraction is that the apartment-style living, particularly in or near the city fringe, is easily built and offers good returns, as occupancy is in most cases close to 100 per cent.

For developers, the costs can be contained as the furnishings can be more budget-oriented, as opposed to luxury-apartment projects, and amenities can be kept simple.

One of the largest has been near the southern end of Sydney’s central business district, with the redevelopment of the former Kent Street brewery site by Frasers Property.

That group recently launched an expressions of interest campaign to institutional investors for its student development at Central Park on Broadway.

Other private providers of student housing in Australia include UniLodge and Urbanest.

The campus of the University of Technology, Sydney has also had an explosion of new student digs nearby and more older-style properties in the area are expected to be snapped up for the students.

It is said that super funds including Hostplus, Rest Industry Super and Equipsuper have investments in student accommodation.

One of the largest groups in the sector is Campus Living Villages (CLV), the operator of the Campus Living Funds Management, which, in turn, is wholly owned by Transfield Holdings, the private holding company of the Belgiorno-Nettis family. CLV has total gross assets of $1.1 billion and controls more than 35,000 student beds worldwide.

The University of Technology, Sydney has had new student accommodation built in Ultimo as a direct response to the need for student housing in the immediate area.

It was completed as part of an overall vision for the regeneration of the university’s city campus project. It comprises 720 student beds over 13 levels, in addition to common areas.

The director of the architectural firm Nettletontribe, Trevor Hamilton, said student housing was now firmly an asset class and investment opportunity in its own right.

He said the firm had also worked on projects with the Australian National University, Deakin University and the University of Sydney. The practice is now working on eight projects throughout the country.

”Some developers have formed private-public partnerships with universities, where they will fund the projects on university-owned land, whilst in other cases universities take on the development risk themselves,” Mr Hamilton said.

”One key source of government funding, the National Rental Affordability Scheme, awarded the University of Canberra funding contribution for the development of 1000 beds through its round four of the scheme.”

The National Rental Affordability Scheme provides an incentive to approved business and community organisations that build and rent dwellings to eligible low- and moderate-income households at a rate that is at least 20 per cent below the prevailing market rate.

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Sales propel sector growth

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CLOSE to $10 billion worth of commercial real estate is up for sale as the real estate investment trust sector absorbs the news from the 2012 reporting season.
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Key assets on the market include the Woolworths portfolio, said to be worth about $900 million; the Raine Square development, in Perth, valued about $500 million; and the BlackRock portfolio, estimated to be worth about $468 million.

In retail there is the Top Ryde City shopping centre, being sold by the private Beville Group, with a value of about $400 million. According to JPMorgan’s property analysts, in the past 12 months there have been 107 big transactions totalling $12.6 billion, with $7 billion of office assets, $3 billion in retail, $1 billion of industrial, $1 billion in hotels and hospitality, and $330 million in the tough housing sector.

The analysts said that amount was up significantly from the $9.7 billion in sales reported in February, which was a big month.

They said offshore and unlisted institutional investment continued to dominate, with net investment of $2.8 billion and $300 million respectively.

The sales were made as the earnings growth of the sector was recorded at an average 3 per cent in the 2012 financial year.

According to UBS’s real estate analysts, that was in line with market expectations.

The average distribution growth was 5 per cent, which was also in line with expectations.

UBS’s team said despite growth in earnings before interest and tax declining, the outlook for sound growth into the 2013 financial year remained, as the real estate investment trusts (REITs) looked to focus on costs.

”UBS’s 2013 earnings per security growth of 3.5 per cent is unchanged and has been increased in the 2014 financial year to 5.1 per cent,” the analysts said.

”Across the sector, earnings were largely unchanged throughout reporting season as a lower interest rate environment provides a buffer.”

During the reporting season, the big upgrades across the sector included GPT, from lower debt costs and reduction in overheads. GPT owns a half-share in the MLC Centre, among other big assets.

”We have a preference for retail over office and residential,” UBS said. ”Key picks include Westfield Retail Trust, Centro Retail Australia and Westfield Group.

”While we are cautious on the office sector, we anticipate earnings upgrade for Commonwealth Property Office Fund, with the 2013 financial year acquisitions likely to drive further upgrades.”

In a report on the reporting season, analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said the good news for the retail sector was that vacancies did not increase.

”Most landlords retained 70 [per cent]-80 per cent of tenants on expiry with minimal incentives,” the analysts said. ”Office portfolios shone, with vacancies reducing.

”Several REITs have now reset their hedge books to reflect 5.5 per cent rates for 2013.”

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Bulky goods: handle with care

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THE bulky goods retail sector has been hit hard by people buying on the internet. Televisions and washing machines are sold at bricks-and-mortar stores but smaller appliances can be easily sourced online.
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The high dollar and planning restrictions for developments have also put pressure on the sector.

However, potential changes to the goods and services tax on internet purchases, as was suggested this week, would be welcomed by the retail industry.

The founder and executive chairman of Harvey Norman, Gerry Harvey, has been an outspoken advocate of imposing a GST on imported goods bought on the internet, in order to give local retailers a more level playing field.

Retail analysts at JPMorgan say they continue to believe the short- to medium-term outlook remains challenging for Australian discretionary retailers.

”The reasons we see risk skewed to the downside include a more purposeful and considered consumer, and increased volatility and uncertainty associated with the global economic environment,” the analysts say in a post-profit results report.

”Rising cost of living for the consumer, increased propensity of natural disasters and global geopolitical uncertainty, and rising competition threats posed by technology and the web will also be influencing factors.”

However, leasing agents say that despite flat retail trading, demand for regional bulky goods tenancies has been strong during the first half of this year.

This positive sentiment was supported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics retail sales data for July, which show that household goods sales increased 4 per cent, following 1.3 per cent growth in May and 1.4 per cent growth in June.

Household retailing represents 17 per cent of total retail trade.

The senior negotiator of retail bulky goods at CBRE, Shane Cook, said the majority of bulky goods lease deals done this year were in regional NSW.

He said most demand was from local independents and company-backed national retailers, with CBRE agreeing terms or completing leases on eight recent deals totalling 9459 square metres across regional NSW.

”Demand for regional bulky goods retail space can be attributed to a number of factors, including a prolonged period of minimal drought in the state, the strong rally of the Australian dollar and the revival of some regional centres,” Mr Cook said.

”In contrast, low vacancy and limited new stock has resulted in little tenant movement or new store openings in metropolitan Sydney.”

Among the recent regional deals, Loot Homewares has taken up 322 square metres on a five-year term within the West Gosford Hometown centre, while Beds R Us has committed to 822 square metres in the same centre, also on a five-year term.

”The bulky goods landscape is changing, with tenancy mixes far more diversified than they were previously,” Mr Cook said. ”Retailers breathing new life into bulk-goods centres include outdoor retailers, pet retailers, speciality homewares, manchester and bulk chemists.”

Further north, Beds R Us has joined the strong mix of local and national retailers at the Hunter Supa Centre in Rutherford, which is owned by Centuria Property Funds.

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Vergeer wins women’s wheelchair tennis title

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Dutch champion Esther Vergeer extended her remarkable unbeaten streak to 470 games when she won her fourth Paralympic wheelchair tennis gold medal last night.
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Vergeer again proved too strong for her rivals in London, this time world No.2 Aniek van Koot, whom she swept aside 6-0, 6-3 in the final.

She has not been beaten since 2003 when she lost to Australian Danni Di Toro.

“It’s what I dreamt about, thought about and did everything for,” said Vergeer of winning her fourth gold.

“There was so much pressure … everyone expected me to win gold and that I would win but I still had to work hard to be at the top of my game and a lot of people forget that.”

Vergeer, who won the first 10 games of the final before van Koot got on the scoreboard, said she was not sure what he future held.

“First of all I’m going to enjoy this one,” she said. “I’m not promising anything that I’ll be here in four years.”

“I don’t know if I’ll be going to Rio. I don’t know what’s going to happen in that social, private part of my life.”

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Stars and car: Austen Tayshus

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Photo: Simon Alekna.The lowdown: One of Australia’s most famous comedians, Austen Tayshus (aka Sandy Gutman) is best known for his 1983 release Australiana, which remains the highest-selling single in Australian recording history. Revered for classic lines such as ‘‘Do you wanna game of euchre, Lyptus?’’ and ‘‘How much can a koala bear?’’ He has performed more than 10,000 shows in Australia and other countries. Tayshus wrote and starred in the film Intolerance, which was named best film at Tropfest in 1998. He also won the best-actor award.
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Current project: The Merchant of Menace tour. See austentayshus南京夜网 for dates.

The number of cars I’ve owned: 4

The age I got my licence: 17

Car lover gauge: 1 out of 5

What was your first car?

An old Jaguar I bought in the late ’70s. It was about 10 years old and it leaked a lot of oil. But it was a nice-looking car and I thought I deserved a nice-looking car.

What happened to it?

We had a pretty bad accident on the way to a show in 1986. I was with a girlfriend of mine and we hit a tractor that was turning right. She was driving and we went straight into it. The car was a write-off. I was OK but she was cut pretty badly. But she survived it. She’s fine.

What are you driving now?

A 2005 Holden Caprice. I bought it in 2006. I love this car. It’s perfect. I bought it because it’s got DVD screens in the back and when my children were young we used to drive from Sydney to Byron Bay in one go. They would stop fighting because they had a screen each. Prior to that, we only had one. It’s also a great workhorse. I’ve done about 200,000 kilometres in this car, just touring all around Australia.

What’s your ideal car?

To be honest, I think I’d go for another Holden. I’d go for another [Caprice]. They just seem to be very reliable and very comfortable. I’ve also thought about a Range Rover. I’m not interested in German cars because my father was a Holocaust survivor, so I’m not a big fan of the Germans.

What’s your pet road peeve?

People parking in front of my driveway – that’s what I hate the most. I also hate people who drive very slowly in front of me. I’m not a speed maniac, but when you’re on a highway, slow drivers can cause a lot of trouble.

What’s your favourite drive?

I like the highway between Byron Bay and Coolangatta. I think that’s a terrific road. I just wonder why the Pacific Highway can’t all be like that.

If you could go on a long road trip with absolutely anyone, who would it be?

Francis Ford Coppola, I think. I just love everything that he’s done in cinema. The first two Godfather movies in particular just interest me so much and I’m sure that he would have a lot to talk about – his involvement with Marlon Brando on Apocalypse Now, his involvement with Marlon Brando on the Godfather films, his involvement with De Niro and Pacino. I’m a graduate of the film school and cinema has always been my greatest passion. I could learn a lot from him, obviously. Follow Drive南京夜网.au on Twitter @Drivecomau Like Drive南京夜网.au on Facebook

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She says, he says: Audi A6 Avant

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He: The A6 Avant 2.0 TDI looks like nirvana for the family-minded type of person – Audi quality, wagon versatility and diesel frugality. Maybe it sounds a bit too sensible when you say it like that, but for many it will prove a pretty attractive combination. Does the A6’s healthy dose of practicality do it for you?
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She: I wish. Big on comfort, performance and class, yet low on emissions, bling or fuss, the Audi A6 brings so much to love – except for the price. A tag nearing $83,000 is worlds away from practical for the average buyer. But, by golly, I enjoyed the A6. Let’s start with the exterior. Your thoughts?

He: Typically of Audi’s mainstream models, it looks classy without threatening to be as distinctive as, say, the stylish A5. But there’s a solidity and presence that’s appealing. It’s a similar story inside the cabin, where everything you see and touch carries that stamp of quality Audi does so well.

She: Yep, that cabin has a degree in the science of ergonomics (and a stereo system so divine, dear god, it makes Michael Bolton sound good). This is one of the easiest cars in which to find a perfect driving position, with good vision all around the vehicle. It might be a tight fit for three adults in the back seat, but there’s ample room for the kids.

He: I’ll take your word for it on Michael Bolton. The boot has a big, modular space with rear seats that drop flat. I also appreciated some of the wizardry, such as a full-colour information display in front of the driver, the keypad on which you can write rather than tap in your satnav inputs, and convenience features such as keyless entry and start, electric tailgate and auto headlights and wipers. Powered leather seats and satnav are also surprising standard inclusions. How was the drive?

She: Bliss. This wagon offers a good ride/handling compromise for such a comfort-focused luxury car. When it comes to performance, the big thing I noticed was how effortlessly this Audi gathers pace.

He: I’d say the 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine is only just big enough. While it’s rapid off the mark, it’s also quick to run out of puff, given the A6’s Commodore-like dimensions. I was really impressed with the continuously variable transmission, which was so unobtrusive I initially took it for a more traditional auto. The all-important question, Deb, was it green enough for you? 

She: A stint of city-only driving sipped 7.3 litres per 100 kilometres. While it’s not quite in the league of last year’s Drive Car of the Year, the Mercedes C-Class, it’s on the right track. I’ve got to say, the stop-start system is the slowest I’ve found to fire up when you want to take off at traffic lights (and it wakes up with a slight shake, too). Did fuel economy fare better on the combined cycle?

He: It did, with 6.3L on a run comprised about two-thirds highway running, a sensational result for a family-size wagon. Yes, it’s a commanding price for us humble types, but for others it’s a bargain: $7000 less than the BMW 520d Touring and a huge $25,250 under Mercedes’ E250 CDI Estate. Of course, you could choose any number of SUVs instead.

She: For more utility, the A6 AllRoad is launching soon (expect to pay upwards of $115,000). For a luxury wagon, though, the Beemer’s a cut above on driving dynamics, as is the Benz on overall refinement. But this sleek Audi makes a strong play for the premium car buyer.

Audi A6 Avant 2.0 TDI

The price: From $82,900 plus on-road costs

Vital statistics: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel; 130kW/380Nm; continuously variable transmission; 5.1L/100km and 135g/km CO2; front-wheel-drive. Follow Drive南京夜网.au on Twitter @Drivecomau Like Drive南京夜网.au on Facebook

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Car pool: Volkswagen Amarok

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Volkswagen Amarok TDI420 Highline.The car: Volkswagen Amarok TDI420 Highline
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The price: From $53,990 plus on-road costs

Vital statistics: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel; 132kW/420Nm; 8-sp auto; 8.3L/100km and 219g/km CO2; AWD

The tester: Steve Colquhoun

Why we’re driving it:

A year after it redefined the workhorse ute market with new levels of refinement and dynamic ability, Volkswagen has added the final puzzle piece to the Amarok by offering the option of an automatic transmission.

Likes:

It’s a particularly refined unit.

Well-controlled in cornering. Crisp instrumentation and comfy seats. Plenty of small-item storage. Tray can fit two standard pallets and has a light and power outlet.

Dislikes:

Lacks the quality interior feel with its hard, shiny plastics and dark, uninspiring design. Rear seat-backs are a tad too upright. Looks expensive next to competitors.

Braked towing capacity is about 500 kilograms shy of the segment benchmark. No curtain airbags.

Would I buy one?

The addition of a capable and refined auto makes the Amarok easier to live with as a weekday work truck and weekend family hauler. I would still prefer Mazda’s value-laden BT-50, though, or Ford’s Tonka-tough-looking Ranger. Follow Drive南京夜网.au on Twitter @Drivecomau Like Drive南京夜网.au on Facebook

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Ridgy-didge connection to earth

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All that glisters, in some of our famous rural gold rush towns these days, is not necessarily the shiny metal.
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Modern architecture, with its own elegant meditation on place and time, is starting to take a foothold among the old diggings.

Take this house sitting high on a ridge line in Castlemaine. Like a ship that’s slipped its moorings and has come to terrestrial rest up here, it stands out in its locale, but it’s also the shape of things to come.

Designed by local firm Times Two Architects, the house is both visible and visionary. Its loft and lean over the town could have felt ostentatious and perhaps a little haughty but, by hunkering much of the timber and stone structure into the ridge, it becomes a part of the local landscape in a way no period building, no matter how impressive, could ever be.

”It’s about the landscape grabbing the building,” architect Michelle Black says. ”About connection and merging.”

Moving from the inner city, artists Lyndell Brown and Charles Green wanted a studio and home. They wanted the two to have their own space but also be connected to the life of the other. The most crucial part of the brief, however, was memory.

Mr Green grew up in Castlemaine, on this very street. Memory and country were the fabric that informed the design here. ”Charles always dreamt of a having a house on this ridge line,” Ms Brown says. ”The views here are really beautiful; you can see across a large part of the town to the hills. To be able to see them, have them around us, was really important.”

While the house itself – with a fall on site of 4.25 metres – looks a beautifully coherent linear construction on its southern side, the northern edge, with its deep-blue facade and more open design aesthetic, tells a different story.

Here you can see what the bones of the house look like. it’s the vaguely traditional, more accessible view than the closed, protective timber of the front and south.

Where the exterior is contained, almost enigmatic, the interiors unfold and invite, the progression from one section to the next organic and natural.

”The different landscapes appear as you move through and the environment changes,” Black says. ”The house facilitates changes in mood, and Charles and Lyndell enjoy that sense of ritual. The change in levels, the unfolding of spaces articulates that idea.”

The house comes to life through its progression from private space to public. The bedroom wing at the back is almost subterranean, the massive excavation here allowing this space, particularly the main bedroom, to nestle next to the earth while still affording views from a high window and the magnificent floor-level pane that looks onto a courtyard.

As the design moves forward, spaces expand. Beyond the main bedroom an open, gallery-like hallway moves you along the north side of the building, introducing more light and colour, the deep indigo of the north facade bleeding into the front of the passage.

Bluestone floors that line the hall give way to timber treads running through the ”floating” middle section of the house. The sense of being in the environment is again underscored.

The front section is a particularly crisp, measured affair with an acreage of white walls so the artists can change their interior gallery.

The exterior gallery – the town of Castlemaine and beyond – provides postcards via the thin line of windows that runs along the living room wall. Memories are made of this.

This section of the house is the one that most reflects that ship-like feel of the exterior. The kitchen is set high to preside over the dining and living areas below.

It’s a stunning collection of spaces that seem to run down into the views. Display units, columns and even something as prosaic but cleverly inserted as the kitchen rangehood provide a depth and delineation.

Stairs below take you to the entry foyer and then across to the studio. This sits caught by both the ridge line and the house above, to make that harmonious connection.

”It’s very much about the relationship between inside and out here,” Black says. ”The stone sits on the earth, the timber section up amongst the landscape, designed to eventually weather and grey and melt into it.”

An enormous stacked rock wall completes the communion between site and house. Sitting along the north side, it rises up to articulate both the physical nature of this project as well as its emotional, personal aspects. The rocks were largely excavated on site and they form the foundation for the garden and terraces above.

This beautiful house should become a feature of the town, informed by a view to the future of the built environment here but also imbued with the ephemera of memory, both sitting solidly together on Castlemaine rock.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.