People in glass houses

Behind its heritage one-storey facade, The Glasshouse hides a contemporary split-level terrace, that is flooded in light and designed with a meticulous eye for detail.

Renovated by interior designer Nina Maya to showcase her business and to be a family home, the three-bedroom Inner-city Paddington property is defined by its central, full-glass lightwell and three-level staircase.

ASCENDING: The property is defined by its central, full-glass lightwell and three-level staircase.

ASCENDING: The property is defined by its central, full-glass lightwell and three-level staircase.

"In many ways, the remodel was dictated by its challenges, the biggest being its dark, narrow living area," says Nina.

"The addition of the central staircase created a column that could be fully glazed on two sides to let in light, while saving floor space."

Here, Nina opted for Stegbar's Alumiere range, which allows for larger expanses of glass with smaller frames.

"I like to start any design with a clean base, so the ability to remove distracting frames from the view of the bamboo in our courtyard was perfect," she adds.

The windows allow light into the home, which then bounces off a custom-made mirror in grey that lines the interior wall of the staircase. The mirror wall was installed in three sections.

"I love the tone of these mirrors; the shade is perfect for reflecting light without creating glare.

"Along with the indoor water feature, they subtly redirect light into the entire living space beautifully," she adds.

The mirror wall also holds a dual purpose of creating the illusion of space, while hiding an entire room.

"The Glasshouse is designed to surprise, so we took the opportunity to hide the door of one of the bedrooms within the mirror," said Nina.

The windows allow light into the home, which then bounces off a custom-made mirror.

"This maintains its integrity and makes the most of the light."

The window systems used also create better airflow, with automatic louvres located at the top of the staircase.

These allow heat and humidity from the lower level to naturally escape, while creating cross ventilation with the floor to ceiling windows in the master bedroom.

Here, Nina had to think creatively to meet council regulations. When her architect suggested masonry to meet the requirement for a lower level fixed pane, Nina felt that it didn't fit the look.

"I scoured the available options and consulted glazing experts to create a window that was fixed to the minimum height, with two moveable upper panes that open the room to outside airflow," she said.

Privacy regulations were overcome with architectural automated louvres that obscure the interior from neighbouring properties.

Privacy regulations were overcome with architectural automated louvres that obscure the interior from neighbouring properties.

Privacy regulations were overcome with architectural automated louvres that obscure the interior from neighbouring properties.

This negated the need for a screen across the lower section of windows while creating a striking silhouette at the rear of the home.

Another innovative solution to privacy concerns can be seen in the master ensuite, where a window with translucent glazing sits behind a double sink and mirrors.

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: A window with translucent glazing sits behind a double sink and mirrors in the master ensuite.

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: A window with translucent glazing sits behind a double sink and mirrors in the master ensuite.

"A lot of elements of the Glasshouse are not as they seem," adds Nina.

"On first look, you would assume that the room is artificially lit, but when you look closer, you can see how the light changes with the clouds and time of day."

The Glasshouse gets its name from being more than just a house with a lot of windows.

It has glass at its core and throughout, from the two-storey mirrors to the subtle shower screens and the translucent windows to the fully glazed lightwell.

"It's amazing what you can do with glass when you work with the right options," concludes Nina.

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