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Manly Homes by Carter Williamson Architects


Modern architectural interiors belie traditional facades.

Tucked away in the seaside suburb of Manly are a set of semi detached homes, known in the Carter Williamson Architect offices as the Fraternal (non-identical) Twins.

This project provided an opportunity to design two essentially identical sites for clients with different needs and desires. Rather than using the traditional approach of mirroring the residences around the party wall, the response was to the immediate context of the site and environmental conditions, resulting in two houses with very different spatial qualities.

The idea was to create two small homes that felt generous. The renovation involved removing redundant walls and creating horizontal as well as vertical spatial connections which become focal points and hubs of family interaction. Walls of joinery make efficient use of tight spaces, ordering and organising the active facilities of a house.

The North building needed to control light, so we felt it needed more walls, more shade. The South building required almost the opposite; glazed walls to absorb the diffuse light. Both use tall light washed void spaces as a threshold between the old and the new, differentiating the traditional mirroring response to the contemporary site response.

In redesigning these 100 year old properties, Cater Williamson were also mindful of a principle fundamental to contemporary building, being to reuse what you can and to design flexible, durable homes that will stand for a long time to come. Materials were reused if possible and good parts of the existing building were retained. The front half of the house was in good condition and provided three decent bedrooms and the entry corridor.

With his trademark style of modern yet highly liveable designs, Shaun Carter created two homes with their own distinctive style and personality. As with many of Shaun Carters designs, there were tried and tested materials used in both properties, including Caesarstone® quartz surfaces.

“We used Caesarstone® in unique applications on the kitchen, bathroom and laundry surfaces of both properties. Caesarstone® is tough, robust and handsome, and you get the advantage of technology with a look and feel of stone”, said Shaun Carter, Principal, Carter Williamson Architects.

When asked about his use of Caesarstone® in this project, Shaun Carter commented, “Carter Williamson’s homes are fit, functional, light filled and beautiful buildings and we expect the materials we use in our designs to satisfy this brief. We see homes as places to live in, not objects to simply admire from a distance. They need to be robust places and able to withstand the rigours of using the home as it is meant to be used. But it needs to look good too, which is why we use Caesarstone® surfaces”.

Neutral tones of Caesarstone® have been used in both homes and effortlessly compliment the use of other materials including polished cement floors, timber, patterned wall coverings and bold accents of colour used in the soft furnishings.

Caesarstone® offers a range and consistency of colour that is difficult to match with natural stone. We also find that Caesarstone® is good value compared to other materials”, said Shaun.

Photography: Brett Boardman