Modern love: The dream family home
Guy and Jules Sebastian purchased their home in the Sydney beachside suburb of Maroubra in 2013, after selling their property in Clovelly. The singer and stylist/presenter couple wanted more space for their growing family and to host visiting family and friends. While they initially planned to renovate the existing house, they decided, due to its age and restrictive layout, to demolish it and rebuild.
Lovers of the modern look, Guy and Jules commissioned Joe Snell of Snell Architecture and Interiors to help them create their dream family home.
The glamorous couple, who have two boys, Hudson and Archer, wanted to create a modern home that was truly unique and unlike anything they had seen before.
“Both Guy and Jules have a great sense of style and a real eye for design, and thus their brief was strong and simple,“ says Joe, who worked closely with the couple on the house design.
“This was to be their forever home and they wanted a modern restrained palette using concrete, steel, glass, black and white. Of course, it had to be warm, friendly and comfortable as well,”
Striking the right balance
Guy and Jules wanted the house to be “tough yet inviting”. The design had to ensure privacy from the front but flow into communal living spaces – such as the tennis court and swimming pool – and evoke a sense of freedom and openness.
“We wanted the space to be functional and family-friendly with the ability to entertain but still snuggle on the couch at the end of the day,” they explain.
Much care was taken to ensure that all the materials used in the build were applied thoughtfully. Joe says: “The concrete panels, the black steel and windows with panoramic glass, and the white cladding were the key elements that were the simple yet strong features of the design. Each has a different strength and feeling, and they are arranged to complement and enhance each other, and come together as a whole.”
It’s a modern look that blends the classic with the industrial, through the use of raw materials, a minimal aesthetic and the integration of timeless elements, such as terrazzo and marble.
Guy says they particularly love the front foyer of their home. “It takes our breath away every single day. The spiral staircase, polished concrete floors and grand piano are just heaven. We love playing and singing in that space and filling our home with joy and music.”
Collaboration, consultation and research helped to ensure the success of the new build. This involved visits to showrooms and design stores, lots of time spent on Pinterest, along with many in-depth conversations and on-going updates between Joe and Guy and Jules throughout the course of the project.
“Listening and responding is the key to the design process,” says Joe. “Guy and Jules were the main inspiration, as we talked at great length about what they wanted in a home and what they were inspired by.”
The couple attributes Joe’s immense eye for detail and artistic sensibility to bringing the look together. “Joe asked us a lot of questions about our lifestyle and what we wanted from our family home. We seriously cannot believe how incredible an artist he is and how much he nailed the design.”
Joe believes that clean lines and confident styling that lacks clutter are an integral part of creating a truly modern look in a home. He notes that James Hardie’s fibre cement products are well understood by builders and have many different finishing details to choose from to achieve the look.
James Hardie’s Stria™ Cladding 325mm from the Scyon range was used for the main house and painted white. Joe explains, “We wanted to achieve a horizontal look in the white cladding, so we staggered the minimal vertical joint so that it was lost further allowing the horizontal to be even more dominant.”
Stria cladding comes in 4.2 metre long boards that slot together with a shiplap joint on the long edges. The boards are made from low density Scyon formulation fibre cement which allows them to be 14mm thick. As a result deep, distinctive horizontal grooves are created providing the clean lines that suit modern design.
The end result is a house that both blends in and stands out in its beachside location. “The house is on a long hill of neighbouring houses of many different styles and genres,” Joe says.
“The building has its own identity but is not out of place in the street. The natural colouring of the concrete and monochromes of black and white settle the house into its suburban coastal environment.”
A striking and functional family home
The Sebastian family are very much enjoying their new home. “The home is built for entertaining with the two living areas opening up to a central courtyard with a fire pit,” Guy and Jules explain.
“There’s loads of space for the kids to play too, including their own living area that we can see at all times. We love our family and friends and want them to bring their kids over and feel comfortable that there is room to run around but we can still keep an eye on them.”
The house is everything the family hoped for. A unique, functional and modern home with plenty of space for their boys and visiting friends and family and a place they love living in and spending time together.
Top tips for building a modern home:
- Pinterest was big for us: You need to let your taste breathe for an extended period of time because it does tend to change once you dive into the design world and discover different materials.
- It’s in the detail: The gratitude you will feel for the extra effort will definitely pay off.
- When you’ve built it, light it! Lighting is everything, especially with beautiful raw materials.