Designed by the significant architect, Enrico Taglietti, wood.house sits privately within native gardens at the end of a battle-axe block, in the leafy suburb of Weetangera. The home is configured across two levels, opening fully to its bush surrounds on the Eastern side. Wood House’s engagement with landscape and unique interior – significant use of timber, raw brick, stone – creates a singular, poetic language. Steeped in the vernacular of great mid-century design, it is a home full of wonder, shape and volume.
As a young man, fresh from Milan, Taglietti fell in love with Canberra’s light, vast blue skies, silence like music, snowcapped Brindabellas. Interested in creating from within a void in order to welcome the new, he embraced the blank canvas of the new capital, its tabula rasa. He went on to design many significant domestic and civic buildings within the capital.
On approach the form is unassuming, sited at an angle to hug the natural undulations of the land, it sits gently within the site. Simple horizontal lines, low flat roof, timber fascia and lap siding, left to weather naturally, hint at Japanese influences. Taglietti’s famous brutalist leanings are evident in the use of grey brick and large concrete storm water wells.
Both top and bottom levels are accessed at ground level, with private and social spaces cleverly segregated. Four bedrooms, two bathrooms and laundry occupy the top level with stairs leading down to the open kitchen, dining, living and separate rumpus.
Downstairs, full height glazing spans the length of the home, allowing for seamless indoor/outdoor flow, wonderful aspect, lovely light. A brick wood fired fireplace sits centrally within this beautiful, social space, delineating the dining and living areas, and includes a Heatform, a metal fireplace within a masonry chimney, and creating a stunning sculptural element. Beyond a timber bookcase demarcates a private study nook.
The original kitchen features a handmade brushbox timber bench, skillfully crafted in artful angles. Original timber handles enhance the period character and vintage appliances have been beautifully preserved. A separate and generous playroom adjoins the kitchen and opens to garden.
The house has remained with Betty and Donald since its completion in 1973. In Betty’s words it has fitted her like a “warm cocoon.” Rich in play and wonder with bespoke detailing throughout – cabinetry, angled ceilings, wall panels, inset shelving – the home exudes mid-century flair and wonderful innovation. Notable is the storage cupboards that run the full length of the home on the lower level, the use of blue and purple roof slates underfoot and caneite panelled ceilings.
The atmospheric gardens fall organically away from the house with free form paths, leading to native enclosures and beyond to open reserve. A lack of fencing gives the feeling of expanse, a meandering wildness. Within this serene tableau and within the organic form of Wood House, one is drawn to openly embrace – a silence like music, the endless sky.
.designed by acclaimed architect Enrico Taglietti, split level solid brick four bedroom home set on a large private 1584m2 battle axe block
.sited at an angle to the side boundaries following the ground contour. Both the top and bottom levels of the house are at ground level.
.stunning original timber and brick features throughout
.four bedrooms at the upper entry level all with built in cupboards, the master with built in dressing table and drawers, and original ensuite with feature mosaic tiling
.sunny open plan main living room with east facing aspect featuring wall to wall glass sliding doors that connect to beautiful native rear yard
.feature brick fire place in centre of living (replaced heat form to wood burning heater) room as divider to lounge room and original kitchen/meals area
.study nook with shelving
.kitchen with original cabinetry, hand made brush box timber bench and gas cooking
.adjoining meals with stunning parquetry floor
.separate playroom/rumpus with inbuilt cupboards and glass sliding door to rear yard
.main guest bathroom original condition with toilet
.separate laundry with dryer (hardwired) and additional shower and toilet
.custom built timber joinery and storage throughout home including broom cupboard, inbuilt cupboards that run the full length of the house on lower level, and under stair storage
.central heating, gas fired with circulating hot water, and air conditioner
.LED lights to most internal light fittings and remaining original light fittings
.hot water system three years old
.caneite panel ceilings provides thermal and noise insulation
.stunning rear yard with established Australian Native Garden and plantings provides a beautiful peaceful space
.no fence on the boundary with adjoining park
.exceptional location with local schools, shops and parklands a short work away and a short drive to Westfield Belconnen, Belconnen Fresh Food Markets, University of Canberra and to arterial roads for direct access to the city
.home was nominated for heritage listing register and received a high commendation
Living area: 190m2 approx
Land size: 1584m2 (approx)
Land rates: $4282 (approx)
Land value: $656,000
Year built: 1972 approx
43 Mayo Street