Masterful restraint works wonders for Yarraluma home

In recent years, the Japanese-inspired minimalist movement has been embraced as an aesthetic across Australian homes.

When David Harvey approached local Canberra architect Philip Leeson with his brief to design a home, he emphasised Japanese motifs to incorporate throughout the design of his first home build.

"My wife and I lived in Japan on and off for about 10 years," Harvey says.

"There were many aspects of Japanese living that we loved and we knew we wanted to bring that back home to Australia with us."

To achieve the desired look, Leeson ensured there was a seamless flow between the indoor and outdoor spaces - understated elegance with a touch of Asian finesse is how we'd describe it. "And with an Australian twist," Harvey adds.

"We didn't try to design a Japanese house; that would have looked a little out of place in an Australian suburb. But the home has the qualities of Japanese architecture - the indoor-outdoor connectivity and the seamlessness of moving from one space to another," says Leeson.

The entrance hall is one of the main talking points. The door itself towers high and opens into what Leeson describes as a beautifully detailed staircase - a memorable first impression.

"It's a mighty gesture, very generous and reveals a wonderful space," he says.

Another impressive feature of the home is the choice of materials, including timber adorning the ceiling, which has been salvaged from an old basketball court.

"If you look closely, all of the paint markings from the basketball court were retained on the timber, and it's laid out in a way that you can only see it from one angle," Leeson says.

He adds that "it's not a showroom that's trying to feature lots and lots of material ... the house has a calmness to it, which really allows you to sit back and relax."

The Yarralumla home also has a unique Japanese garden and teahouse.

The Harvey Taylor house was finished in 2015, and Harvey attributes its success to a close working relationship with Leeson.

"We had the architects manage the project and I recommend that everyone uses an architect to manage their project," Harvey says.

"I think it's important for the owners to see first hand how the house comes together, I think it gives them a much better appreciation of the challenges builders face," Leeson says.

Harvey Taylor House is at 12 Maxwell Street in Yarralumla and will be open to the public as part of Design Canberra Festival Living Rooms on Sunday, November 12, from 1pm to 2.30pm.

This story Masterful restraint works wonders for Yarraluma home first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.