This Japanese-inspired architectural home just received a special commendation in the ‘Residential Architect – Houses (New)’ category at the 2019 Newcastle Architecture Awards. It is testament to the shrewd imaginings of owner and builder Guy Bunder of MADE Architectural Constructions, that this bespoke property already sits so comfortably in its leafy Merewether surrounds.

Don’t be fooled by its minimalist style; the luxury contained within is less about over-the-top opulence, and more about the clever mix of high-quality materials and considered design.

About to be listed for sale, Guy’s immaculate ‘Black House’ needs no further introductions.


IMAGES: Mark James

Firstly – please tell us a little about you and your construction company MADE  
G: I live in the recently completed Black House with my friend Kyle. In 2011 I started MADE Architectural Constructions to focus on personal property developments such as this one. I started taking on client projects in 2014, after building a great team of employees. It has been a rewarding transition and a great way to balance my personal life and work.

Can you tell us about your home’s story? When did you purchase the land and what is your vision for the property?
G: I purchased the land in late 2016 after an extensive negotiation period. I originally looked at the lot two years earlier, but opted to purchase another site in Hamilton East.

After building and living in the Hamilton home, I noticed that this land was still for sale. I met with my architects at SDA, real estate agent Mark Kentwell at PRD and financial advisor Andrew Beattie at PKF. Once I was confident the concepts for the build and the feasibility of the development stacked up, I purchased the land and commenced planning with SDA in early 2017.

The plan for the site was always to subdivide and build two separate high-end homes, one for myself and a second to sell. My vision was to excavate the house into the hillside creating a green roof, which would serve as a front yard for the second dwelling behind on View St. Unfortunately, due to planning constraints we had to add a 4th storey to achieve greater floor space, meaning the roof would finish above the ground. I still maintained the concept of roof gardens and greenery on every level to integrate the house into the landscape.

Do you have any specific stories to tell about this project– wins and fails? What are you happiest about with the home and do you have any tips for first time home builders?
G: The construction of the home was actually quite seamless, especially given its complexity. The excavation took three months and the build took nine months.

The excavation was by far the biggest challenge. I was lucky to make some great contacts throughout the project who have become close friends. Marty Thann at Solmer Civil completed the excavation. Shannon and Morrad from A-Class Piling/Drilling made the most challenging component of the build, a streamlined process.

Planning is critical especially with a build of this complexity. I always stress to my clients the importance of documentation in order to reduce the chance of variations and budget challenges.

What or who are your key style inspirations?  
G: My main inspiration for this project was Japanese style architecture. For years I have wanted to use ‘Shou Sugi Ban’ charred cladding. A traditional Japanese technique where the timber is burnt to protect it.

This house is a culmination of ideas that I have been inspired by for years. I love minimalist and contemporary architecture; projects that appear simple but are actually complex.

How you would describe your interior style?
G: I have an industrial style with a focus on minimalism.

I like the different textures of raw materials such as concrete and natural hardwood. I try to avoid swapping and changing different claddings and finishes to maintain a consistent palette throughout the house.

What do you love most about living in your house – your favourite room or favourite piece of furniture?
G: The space I enjoy most is the living level. It comprises of an open plan living room which connects to the pool deck. This flows onto the kitchen and dining room which also opens out onto an outdoor dining space all centered around the lift shaft. The space is flooded with natural light from the north facing windows and the large glass roof that covers the internal staircase. The flow of the space makes it functional and great for entertaining.

What do you enjoy about the location in Merewether?
G: The street offers a great sense of community. I have friends that live close by so it’s easy to catch up for a quick surf or a beer. Merewether is really central to everything.

Is it your forever home? If not where to next?!
G: Unfortunately, it is not my forever home and I will be putting the house on the market in the next two months. Once sold, I will move into the second house that I am building at the back of the block. This is another four-bedroom architectural home which I am really excited about.

And finally…
G: I’d like to thank my family and friends for their support throughout all of my projects and specifically my team at MADE – Simon McDonald, Jay Smith, Lachlan McCall and Jack Lennon for their hard work and commitment.