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Neil Cownie Architect
River House – Peppermint Grove | Interior Design by Neil Cownie Architect
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Image credit: Rob Frith, Angelita Bonetti.

River House – Peppermint Grove - Interior Design

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This has been an interesting project. It involved my immediate clients as well as their parents and children as well. The primary focus was on multi-generational living. From this brief I designed two separate adjacent houses.

The family have strong UK connections. This influenced the external aesthetics. My clients also wanted to embrace the great outdoors of Australia. That led to a house that was quite conservative yet, also opened up to the outdoors. It connected internal and external spaces with the use of warm materials. It next to the river and the views were all important. Almost every room has river views.

The house design takes advantage of passive solar design, and cross ventilation. The two houses work together through their external spaces. The grandparents have access to their children’s house and grandchildren’s house. They can see the children at play in their cubby house cave just outside their window. They can be in their own house and watch their grandchildren at play.

The house has inbuilt versatility. As the children grow their needs change. The house has been able to adapt and ebb and flow with these different changes. It’s designed to do that. Having the grandparents next door is great for making sure that they are okay and then visa versa. The grandparents help out with the children. It’s great family multi-generational living.

Both households have overseas guests. The house responds to that as well as the guest accommodation is separate to the main house. Their guests could come and go and live independently for longer periods if they wish.

The clients are happy with the way the house design maximises winter sun in and keeps the summer sun out. Cross-ventilation and then the access to the river and the views has been quite a benefit to the house.

River house has received the following accolades:

Finalist in the 2016 Good Design Australia Awards, ‘Residential Interior’ category
Finalist in the 2016 Good Design Australia Awards, ‘Residential Architecture’ category

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Neil Cownie Architect
Meet the Creator
With more than 30 years experience as an architect, Neil Cownie has reached an enviable point in his career. In 2009, he established his own firm so he could focus on projects that bring him – and his clients – delight and joy.

Neil weaves together various influences – referencing the environment and site conditions; drawing inspiration from historical precedents and the latest innovations; a deep understanding of how people and spaces function; and his love of textural materials and hand crafted elements – to create residential, commercial and hospitality spaces that can be experienced through all five senses.

From large-scale master-planning down to the intricate details that elevate each project beyond the everyday, Neil brings wisdom and experience to his practice. He maintains close connections with his clients throughout the life of each project, to ensure the final outcome exceeds their expectations while remaining within budget.

In the earlier part of his career, Neil worked as a director at a major Perth firm, where he was responsible for a range of project types including houses, interiors, multi-unit residences, commercial buildings, hospitality and mixed use developments, many of them award-winning.

Now, he combines his passion for design in all its forms – architecture, landscape, furniture, lighting and objects – with his clients’ aspirations to realise their dreams in built form, always aiming to create timeless buildings that will endure.