With aspirations to be an architect when I grew up, as I teen I was always drawing up houseplans in my Tech Drawing class. Now, if I was designing and building my second or third home, and budget wasn’t an issue, I’d have a lengthy list of inclusions.
At the top of it would be a big block with a great view. I’d want a large, character-filled kitchen and lots of windows for good light.
A butler’s pantry and a long laundry would be nice, and an extra wide hallway so I could feel like I was making a grand entrance every time I came home. And a wine room would be appreciated.
My daughter, on the other hand, would like a lounge outside her bedroom, or a home theatre, so she could watch movies — and she has always wanted to live in a two-storey home, so that would be on the list, too. My partner, on the other hand, would be happy with an extra large shower and a double garage.
Satisfying all the family needs can be a puzzle to manage, but there are some designs that may just fit the bill. Oakford Homes’ Aurora could be one of them.
The Aurora is a new, large, two-storey design that has recently open for display at Oakford’s land development at Hallett Cove Heights. Positioned on the coastal hillside looking towards Sheidow Park, the five-bedroom, three-bathroom Aurora is an imposing home with a contemporary frontage and sleek tiled portico.
When we visited one Saturday afternoon, we embraced being able to wander around at a slow, leisurely pace. There’s a lot to see in this home and straight off, it was the floorboards that captured my attention.
These Terra Mater engineered floating floorboards make a stunning first impression, for both the colour and the sound they make when walked on. They feel like an authentic, modern take on traditional timber boards.
Like me, Oakford Homes’ housing consultant Eileen Williams says one of her favourite features of the Aurora is this wide entrance hall and the way it leads you to the open, light-filled family area and the outdoor alfresco beyond.
“The design has a lovely central hallway leading past the home theatre, on the right, opening up to the large family area at the rear of the home,” she says.
Before you arrive at this very generous open-plan zone with its industrial modern aesthetic, there are a couple of spaces I should mention first.
To the right, the home theatre is a very cosy and comfortable space in leather and timber furnishings, and snug with thick, plush carpet and heavy curtains for good acoustics.
In contrast, on the other side of the hall is a very bright front bedroom, with a modern bathroom which has two-way access, from the bedroom and the hall adjacent the laundry and linen store.
This bedroom initially confused me, as I thought it a bit odd for a master bedroom to have an ensuite that is open to everyone.
My confusion was alleviated a few minutes later, when I headed up the carpet-clad stairs to the upper level and found another four bedrooms, including the master, then realised the lower level’s is actually a guestroom with the home’s third bathroom — which now makes perfect sense.
The actual master suite, as you may imagine in a large home, offers a generous space behind its double-door entry, has a large three-sided walk-in wardrobe and an ensuite. This ensuite confirms the trend of ensuites taking over from main bathrooms, in terms of size and appointment. This one is massive, in fact, it’s at least the same size as one of the minor bedrooms. The layout is elegant with a large shower (my partner was pleased to find this) and a hidden toilet behind the central vanity, and a freestanding bath for added luxury.
“People tend to be moving towards larger master suites, as a means of a self-contained area where parents have their own private space to escape to,” Eileen says.
“The stresses of a busy family life can be whisked away with a relaxing bath in a wide, open bathroom.”
There’s also a main bathroom and another toilet on this level for the rest of the family, and everyone can share the rumpus lounge, which offers an inviting zone to relax in upstairs.
Back downstairs there’s another hidden gem in this design before you get to the open-plan zone.
A glass door next to the stairs showcases what could be a fabulous wine storeroom to slowly age your best wines in. Painted black and with low lighting, you could easily temperature-control the space, and let it act as a focal point for guests to be impressed by. Its position also has no direct light into the area, which is a good thing when storing your favourite drops.
Finally, we come to the rear-facing L-shape open-plan living complete with a corner alfresco which you can access from the dining area and the lounge.
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Both areas are spacious, with high windows and full length glazing on three sides of the dining, and provision to add a wall-mounted fireplace in the family lounge.
In between the two, the Aurora’s kitchen is a highlight of this home, and the display shows an enticing arrangement of contemporary industrial finishes, such as the Orion 5 pendant light.
The island bench’s bespoke timber joinery with shelf detail adds a high-end feel, the double bank of upper cupboards adds valuable storage and frames the window splashback and, of course, there’s a butler’s pantry.
It, too, has a window splashback, there’s a second double sink, dishwasher provision and three sides of pantry shelving. There is also a short but wide door, which if you push it correctly, opens up to the underside of the stairs, and a host of further storage space.
Juliette, from Oakford’s selections team, says she wanted to create a modern industrial aesthetic for the kitchen with the timber-look laminate to create a stylish finish to the usual island bench.
“The use of Formica’s Graphite laminate, 20mm Essastone’s Monte Cervino benchtop and Formica’s Metro Wood timber-look laminate is ideal for this style and complements the timber laminate flooring,” she says.
“The contrasting stepped overhead cupboards also create visual interest and allows the lower cupboards to house everyday items, while the higher ones can be used to store less used items.”
I love the look of stepped cupboards, as it’s a clever streamlined way to incorporate extra storage, and it’s an idea that could work in any size kitchen.
While I think this home would be ideal on a larger, traditional size block, to allow for a decent backyard and maybe a pool to complement this 332.64sqm home, Eileen says the Aurora will fit on a courtyard-sized block subject to council approvals, with a compact 15m width.
“One of the key selling points of the Aurora, is its flexibility, as the plan can fit on a smaller block,” she says.
“Not many homes feature a fifth bedroom which can be used as a guest suite for that extended family and/or visitors.”