Design inspiration from a stunning architect-designed home in East Fremantle
Pictures: Robert Duncan

The design brief for this spectacular riverside home was to create the feeling of walking out on to a jetty.

Designed by architect Rachel Feldhusen, of wrightfeldhusen, the home features a long central hallway "spine" that leads to panoramic views of boats moored on the river, perfectly capturing the owners' wish.

No stone has been left unturned in achieving this feel, with owners Sue and Mark Newbold saying friends commonly refer to the home as the "jetty house".

Designed to accommodate the steeply sloping East Fremantle block, the home - which is nominated in the 2014 Australian Institute of Architects WA Architecture Awards - has the guest bedrooms, main living areas and alfresco spaces downstairs, with a sitting area/gym, powder room, main suite and office on the street level.

Interesting blends of materials feature throughout, including honed concrete bricks, black American walnut flooring, exposed steel beams and marmorino polished- concrete walls.

These form an organic, raw palette - the perfect canvas for the mass of exotic treasures the Newbolds have collected from their time living in Vietnam and from their frequent travels.

Custom plasma-cut rusted steel screens create a striking element throughout the home, both indoors and out.

They are used everywhere from boundary walls to room dividers to encasing the front outdoor shower and locked bike storage room.

The pattern, which was designed by Ms Feldhusen and cut at the Newbolds' shipyard, also features in custom wallpaper that lines the ceiling of the home's spine.

The striking steel-and-timber floating staircase frame was also constructed at the shipyard and further enhances the home's relaxed, jetty feel.

The kitchen is a masterclass in mixing materials, with sealed concrete floors, a marble splashback, timber veneer and black gloss cabinetry and stainless-steel, marble and black American walnut timber used as benchtops.

The same marble is used in the striking two-storey gas fireplace, while rustic wrought-iron chandeliers and a warehouse-style decorative timber ceiling provide a further wow factor.

The dining area opens out to the big private central courtyard with Mongolian wall hangings, as do the two guest bedrooms, while a big "dorm" with a sliding door has enough beds for the Newbolds' five grandsons to sleep over.

Their domain also extends to an art-decked rumpus room with a big, comfy orange modular sofa as the hero piece and layers of rugs and masses of cushions from Laos, Sri Lanka, Bali, India, Turkey and local stores adding colour and texture.

The marble and marmorino bathroom in this wing has also been designed with the extended family in mind, with a double shower and big bath easily able to accommodate everyone at the same time.

Mrs Newbold described her decorating style as eclectic with an Asian and tribal influence. She said it was also contemporary yet organic and she loved to incorporate pieces collected from around the world, often in unexpected ways.

Take, for example, the hotel-style main suite with a wall of windows overlooking the river, where Mrs Newbold has hung a kimono over the bed, its colours acting as the springboard for the room's palette. "I wore that dress to a wedding in Japan when I was 17," she said.

An old blanket box that her father made when he was a young man also sits in the massive customised walk-in robe but with a new cowhide top, while a vintage English hatstand resides in the luxury marble-and-concrete ensuite.

The bathroom also boasts a floating stone vanity, smoked-glass pendants, double showers and a bath with a real indoor/outdoor feel.

Mrs Newbold said the hatstand was meant to be a temporary measure to screen the toilet but had somehow found its place among the modernity of the room.

Art is another major component, with pieces ranging from traditional Vietnamese paintings and Singaporean screens to a landscape painting of the Abrolhos Islands by renowned WA artist Larry Mitchell, hung in Mr Newbold's enviable workspace overlooking the river.

"We have spent a lot of time at the Abrolhos Islands and have tried to recreate the relaxed feel here."

The West Australian

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