A deep, narrow sloping block may seem limiting when it comes to building your dream house, but for the Garafillis family, it was their chance to get what they've always wanted - an inviting beachside home.
And with some canny design and clever inclusions, they have created a spacious dwelling with room to spare.
Moving north from Melbourne in 2015, the family of four bought the subdivided block, measuring just 10 metres wide by 45 metres deep. It also had a four metre slope from the front to the rear of the allotment.
"We moved to Newcastle from Melbourne and wanted to live near the beach and a block of land became available in Redhead. We jumped at the chance to have control over the family home within a beach-side suburb," mum Simone said.
"We also had a budget and a style in mind and making these two things complementary would always be a challenge."
Simone and husband Toby approached the team at Crighton Homes to help them with their vision.
"We absolutely love mid-century modern style and simple finishes mixed with a bit of a beach shack vibe," she said.
We absolutely love mid-century modern style
"We designed our house around our furniture and art to make them the feature.
"We wanted to keep the house simple and functional while suiting the beach-side suburb it is in. We didn't want too much technology built in. We also didn't want anything too big, but we had to have enough room for a family of four without losing each other when we're together."
Garry Oliver from Crighton Homes explains that the mid-century modern style "is recognised for its long, low-to-the-ground profile, and usually an open interior layout."
"The style aims to marry together modernist materials with a sensibility of wide-open spaces to foster a relaxed, easy-going lifestyle. This modest home resembles the 'ranch-rambler' with wide gable roofs that filled older suburbs of the 1950s and '60s, and incorporates split-level with vaulted ceilings and long, flat sloping roofs," he said.
Due to the slope, it was decided to flip the yards around placing the backyard at the more level front of the property, allowing room for a deck and possibly a pool in the future. Taking advantage of a side lane, they decided to place the entrance to the house there, rather than through the 'front backyard' or downhill at the 'rear front yard'. An oversized door (1200mm x 2700mm) accentuates the entry.
Crighton Homes uses solar passive principles on all of their designs, and the practice was employed in this build too.
By switching the yards around, it means the living areas of the house get much of the northern light, and "the design means the deck and living areas are well shaded in the summer and gets the sun in the winter," Simone said.
"Because of the solar passive design, we don't need central heating and cooling - we just have one air-conditioning unit that we use about four times a year and a single gas heater that heats the house for those extra cold days."
Roof eaves have wide overhangs, which also shelter the home from the intense sun.
The white weatherboard and timber home is full of light, with sneaky panel windows inserted to add brightness to a room, such as the kitchen, above the internal-external living rooms doors, along the living room wall and at floor level in the dining room.
A single level open plan living space breaks off into a two-storey home at the rear, housing the four bedrooms, children's breakout room study nook, main bathroom, ensuite and laundry. A detached double garage is at the bottom of the block.
Interior design was kept simple to tie in with the home's aesthetic, as well as the family's budget.
Polished Blackbutt timber flooring and clean white melamine cabinetry and plywood detailing in the kitchen complement the beach feel. The large island bench is one of the favourite features of the house and has become the focal point of the communal spaces.
"We use it constantly," Simone said.
Another favourite feature is the Japanese style 'Genkan' entrance which forces people to remove their shoes before entering the living areas, and "the bathrooms in general - and the lack of shower screens is a total bonus."
After living in 16 different countries, they knew the style they were after and have acquired an eclectic collection of furniture and art, making the home feel comfortable and lived-in, despite its newness. In fact, the whole place feels like an old friend.
"We were really happy with the build quality and the end result given that our budget forced us to choose standard sizes and materials - although it doesn't really look like this was the case," Simone said.
"Because Crighton specialise in custom homes but have great relationships with their suppliers, and a really good method of specifying finishes, the process was surprisingly easy."