Finance Property My Home: The Car House

My Home: The Car House

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What do you get when an innovative architect and car enthusiast cross paths? An amazing car house, of course.

When car lover Cherise Collins wanted a house where her vintage 1965 Porsche took pride of place, she turned to architect Damian Campagnaro. Campagnaro, whose slogan is “we give you what you don’t know you want”, was the right man for the job.

Other architects hadn’t even phoned Collins back after setting eyes on the steep block of land in the Adelaide hills where she wanted to build her dream house.

But when Collins bumped into Campagnaro, an old friend, at a coffee shop and explained her design ideas, he quickly came on board.

“I thought, ‘Yeah, we can do something here’, knowing full well it was a bastard of a site,” he says.

Collins’ design brief was for a low-maintenance house with no internal doors house that showcased her beloved vintage Porsche.

Campagnaro drew on one of his favourite childhood TV shows Thunderbirds for inspiration.

“I used to watch the Thunderbirds when I was a kid and I just loved it,” he said.

“I put those ideas together and designed the house in one night.”

The result is a stunning space-age house propped on huge pivots, which are hidden behind the house and give the illusion it’s floating.

Positioning a house on such a steep site required many feats of engineering skill – namely two massive footings constructed underneath the rear of the property to counterbalance the bulk of the house.

Campagnaro used lightweight Zincalume on the exterior to help keep the budget low and enhance the house’s signature curves.

At 220sqm, including the internal 35sqm garage, the single-level house is not large. However the curved ends create the illusion of it being much bigger, says Campagnaro.

“The curves create extra space without actually having any extra floor space,” he says.

One of Collins favourite features is the rear balcony. At tree-top height, it takes advantage of the grand view which sweeps across the city and out to the ocean.

“The views of the city are quite spectacular especially at night,” she says.

The main entrance is the centrally located concrete driveway, which means Collins drives right into the middle of her house.

“It’s not your traditional home with three bathrooms because I didn’t want that – my passion is cars,” she says.

“I’ve always wanted a place where you can drive the car into the centre.”

While the design may have been speedy, council approval and construction took more than four years to achieve. Surprisingly, not one tree was lopped to make way for Collins’ house and she says this helped keep concerned neighbours on side.

Campagnaro had a hands-on role at every stage of design and construction, and even completed the job by designing the interiors.

“I just love it and I’ve got Damian to thank for all of it,” Collins says.