Kate Fitzgerald


Questions and Answers

Where do you start when planning your designs?

We thought about the terrace house or townhouse that has been around for centuries, and why after all this time, they are still so sought after in some of the best cities in the world. We began with all the things that matter the most to the person that will live there and questioned how we can make the most of the advantages of townhouse living. We considered it’s sense of privacy, security, simplicity and well organised easy-living layout, and investigated how we can further add layers of delight with every window having a view to either an internal or external green space. Then we took advantage of the things we love most about Perth’s climate (it’s abundant natural light, cooling sea breeze, warm winter sun) and layered those elements into the designs, adding light wells that double as internal gardens, and opening the most lived-in spaces to Edward Millen Park.

Your precinct faces Edward Millen Park. How has this been considered in your design thinking?

Our concept designs for the townhouses were completed in mid 2020, at a time when most of the world was in lock down during Covid-19. We have always celebrated bringing the outdoors and indoors together and the concept for the townhouses was to have expansive windows from the living area opening up to a park-side terraced garden and a balcony with views over Edward Millen Park from the master bedroom. It seemed even more important in a post Covid-19 world to make sure every opportunity to embrace the outdoors was a key focus of our initial concepts.

Aesthetic beauty and functionality are both fundamental to design. How have you ensured both are achieved simultaneously?

When something is described as ‘functional’ in a house we’re really talking about how well it performs; spaces to socialise, plenty of storage in the right spots and making it ‘feel’ both organised and inviting at the same time. There’s a certain magic in easy to understand spaces that are well planned out with the right amount of light, and a sense of both seclusion and open space when it’s needed.
We kept it simple, with high quality materials, like brick, and shapes like the arch that are monolithic and timeless. We have used the space between as a green splice that brings the gardens into the volume of the house. There is beauty in simplicity and there is definitely a sense of delight that happens when we do ‘more with less’ with the architecture and allow opportunities for the landscape to complete the story.

What rules have you broken to make your designs truly unique and contemporary?

We may have broken the unspoken rule of the suburban ‘McMansion’ where every square inch of land needs to be smothered in building to the detriment of landscape and natural light. Instead, we used clever planning to deliver a ‘green spine’ to each home that brings the gardens into the volume of the house without compromising on the space needed for each home to function effortlessly. We’ve created spaces exactly where they needed to be, and left opportunities for beautiful landscaping to complete the story.

How much is the local area lifestyle incorporated into your design thinking?

Perth is such an incredible place to live, with a beautiful climate and so much outdoor amenity. The middle ring suburbs in Perth have really come into their own with cool little cafes and bars opening up, and East Victoria Park has a lot to offer a local resident. Our concept for the townhouses was for the design to be the perfect mix of a contemporary inner city home with all the benefits of simplicity and easy living, while taking advantage of the feeling of spaciousness that comes with being right on the edge of a leafy suburban park, with plenty of room to enjoy the best of a semi-urban/suburban location.