10 Incredible Architect-Designed Homes We Saw In 2023

It’s always an honour to see impressive Australian residential architectural projects come across our desks — even more of an honour to share them with you all.

Every year we are wowed by what Australian and New Zealand architects are designing, and this year was no exception. We saw everything from a tiny relocatable home built for just $150,000, to a truly breathtaking modern farmhouse in the Mornington Peninsula.

See our 10 most popular architect-designed homes for 2023 below!

Lucy Feagins

Designed around an expressed steel grid, and clad entirely in blackbutt timber, the home is designed to ‘silver off’, to match the surrounding landscape. Photo – Derek Swalwell

An incredible lap pool sits alongside the house. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Photo – Derek Swalwell

A Serene And Spectacular Multi-Generational Beach House

It’s hard to find words bigger than ‘spectacular’ or ‘serene’ to describe the true magic of Somers Beach House by Wellard Architects.

Built onto a steep beachfront site on the South Eastern side of Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula, the home was designed as a couple’s private retreat that could also accommodate other generations of their family over the holidays.

The steel and timber-lined build perfectly frames uninterrupted water views, while a 1950s boat shed has been transformed into a treasured extension of the main home, ‘hovering’ calmly on the dunes of Somers Beach.

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The view of Garden Wall House from the backyard

Pale timber veneer cabinetries are paired with a muted stone top in the kitchen.

This Melbourne Home (Literally) Embraces The Garden In Its Clever Redesign

While many modern-day renovations are about enhancing the home’s connection to the outdoors, this Melbourne family home goes one step further.

Sonelo Architects have reimagined the Fairfield cottage with a clever extension at the rear, complete with a garden wall that serves as a ‘portal’ between the home and the backyard.

The updated living spaces are harmonious, with original period house and the new Peachy Green-designed gardens — featuring a verdant green palette, both inside and out!

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Landscaping the site — achieved in collaboration with Sprout Studio and Reflective Gardens — was integral to the home’s success. Styling – Composition. Photo – Anson Smart

‘The house feels very indoor/outdoor and the natural landscape has informed the design of the house,’ says architect Thomas Martin. Styling – Composition. Photo – Anson Smart

‘The ceiling when looking along its entirety is remarkable. [It’s] such a large expanse yet so delicately crafted and executed,’ Thomas says. Styling – Composition. Photo – Anson Smart

The open-plan living area. Styling – Composition. Photo – Anson Smart

A Spectacular Brazilian Modernism-Inspired Pittwater Home

The design of M House is both ‘bunker-like’ and embracing of its incredible position overlooking Pittwater in Clareville, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches

These seemingly at odds principles have been achieved in the design by Rama Architects that draws on Brazilian modernism to balance hard materials (concrete and stone) with the softness of light and lush landscaping.

Nature is encouraged to envelop the structure — blurring the line between outside and in — while providing the family residents with privacy and tranquility.

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Architect William Samuels and Hannah D’Arcy designed and constructed their own 42 square metre home. Photo – Simon Devitt

The study area before the bathroom, with the loft area above. Photo – Simon Devitt

Building on leased land required the home to be relocatable should circumstances change. This informed the physical constraints of the house, which needed to be small enough to be readily transportable on local roads. Photo – Simon Devitt

How A New Zealand Architect Built His Home For $150,000 (With No Construction Experience!)

Architect William Samuels designs houses for a living, but he found himself priced out of the traditional New Zealand housing market.

Instead, William and his partner Hannah D’Arcy looked at alternative paths to home ownership. They decided to design and build their own house for NZD$150,000 (about AUD$140,000), and located it on leased land in Nelson, New Zealand.

Despite having no construction experience, the couple slowly but surely built their relocatable and expandable 42 square metres house, on budget, over 18 months.

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Pergola built by Never Stop Group. Hay Palissade Lounge Chair Low in Olive. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Grazia & Co Harvey Swivel Armchair. Jardan sofa upholstered in Instyle Feel fabric in Fabulous. Halcyon Lake rug. Art from right to left:  ‘Chorus VI’ painting by Jordy Hewitt. ‘Pressure’ series painting by Mark Whalen. Painting by Jordy Hewitt. Fall painting by Ash Keating Studio. Multicoloured painting by Matthew Johnson. Woven baskets from Tjanpi Desert Weavers. Clap-sticks from Yarn Bark. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Joinery by Evolve. All appliances by Fisher & Paykel. Dowel Jones Sir Burly High Stools. Formakami JH5 pendants by Jaime Hayon from Finnish Design Shop. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

A Melbourne Architecture Power Couple’s Magic Family Home

Monique and Scott Woodward, directors of Wowowa Architecture, design playful, colour-loving, ‘yummy’ homes for their clients, and their own family home is no exception.

The couple purchased this Northcote, Melbourne property in 2016 as a dilapidated California bungalow, and recently applied their signature magic touch on a major transformation. The vision — to create the cosiest, comfiest, ‘happiest space ever.’

Drenched in magenta tones, this home is a warm nostalgic hug that embodies what Wowowa is all about.

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Kitchen & dining. Wiggle stool by Frank Gehry for Vitra from Living Edge; Diiva dining chairs from Grazia&co; vintage Super Elliptical table by Piet Hein, Arne Jacobsen and Bruno Mathsson for Fritz Hansen from Leonard Joel; ceramic vessel from Jess Graham; Splugen Brau pendant light by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for Flos from Euroluce; steel staircase designed by Studio Doherty in gloss spray applied painted finish. Photo – Anson Smart. Styling – Sarah Weston

Living room. On The Rocks sofa by Francesco Binfare for Edra from Space Furniture; Baxter Bauhaus armchair from Criteria; vintage Geometric coffee table by Niels Bendtsen from Leonard Joel; Hay Slit side table from Cult; ceramic sculptures (on table, from left) by Jan Vogelpoel Ceramics, Kirsten Perry, Belle Thierry and Kaye Poulton; USM Haller storage system from Anibou; Berber Plain rug in Olive from Behruz Studio; Universal 1050 Low Low gas fireplace from Jetmaster; Dtile wall tiles in Pigeon from Mondopiero; Ghosted terrazzo floor tiles from Fibonacci. Photo – Anson Smart. Styling – Sarah Weston

The main en suite. Inax Hacienda tiles from Artedomus; Kaldewei Classic Duo oval bath from Bathe; bath sheet from Baina; vessels by Georgina Proud from Craft Victoria; window designed by Studio Doherty and produced by Ore Designs. Photo – Anson Smart. Styling – Sarah Weston

A Delightfully Kooky, Mid-Century Inspired Melbourne Home

Gloss House is equal parts futuristic and retro; energising and relaxing; kooky and sophisticated.

Designed by Studio Doherty and Enth Degree Architects, the new house in Doncaster East, Melbourne combines modernist influences with playful materials, instead of commonly requested natural stone—think a bright blue spiral staircase, a fully tiled kitchen and bathroom; and an underground pool window!

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The incredible outdoor dining space.

The main living spaces feature a blend of charred timber on the ceiling and concrete walls.

Some of the home’s concrete walls are as thick as one metre.

This Breathtaking Modern Farmhouse Brings The Outdoors In

The story behind Merricks Farmhouse spans more than five years, with two architecture practices working on the project, from opposite sides of the world.

The newly built house on the lush, 50-acre property in the Mornington Peninsula is a collaboration between South African architect Michael Lumby and Brisbane-based practice Nielsen Jenkins.

Designed as a modern interpretation of the traditional Australian farmhouse, the residence heroes the surrounding landscape at every opportunity, perfectly framing enchanting views over vineyards and out towards the bay.

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The textural living and dining room. Arflex Marenco Sofa from Space Furniture. CH44 Easy Chair from Cult Design. &Tradition Little Petra Armchairf from Cult Design. Ferm Living Dou Shade Pendant from Surrounding.

New joinery crafted from native timbers nod to the original timber elements the house once had.

Oregon beams spanning the full width of the home were revealed in the recent renovations.

This Carefully Restored ‘Bush Modernist’ Home Is A ’70s Dream

Located in Melbourne’s north-east under a canopy of eucalyptus trees, Monty Sibbel is the family home of the couple behind Nüüd Studio.

The ‘bush modernist’ house was handbuilt by the famous Sibbel Builders in the ’70s. But by the time architect Brad Mitchell and interior designer Kerli Valk bought it four years ago, many of its original features were hidden under layers of paint, or lost to years of disrepair.

In their hands, the humble home has been restored with careful renovations that have revived its natural character, with native timbers and an improved connection to the outdoors.

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The was created in response to the Mosman home’s gardens and environment.

Kitchen, living and dining spaces are lightly contained by a floating roof, folded to capture northern light and facilitate the capture of easterly breezes.

Skylights enhance the light and airy feel of the interiors.

This Mosman Home Embraces Nature With An Architectural ‘Garden Room’

House for BEES by Downie North is an architectural addition for a Mosman home designed to make the most of its unusually deep backyard, complete with a native beehive.

The architects observed how the family enjoyed outdoor living and sought to replicate that with a ‘garden room’, reminiscent of a picnic rug laid under a protective canopy.

Using angled rooflines, reclaimed materials and passive design principles, the new living area harness Sydney’s natural harbour-side breezes, allowing the owners to enjoy the garden all year round.

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Vasse house designed by  Joshua Duncan Architect.

The house aligns to the north using strong passive solar principles, giving each room generous access to light, fresh air, a veranda, and a view of the sprawling garden. Photo by Leo Showell.

A native garden starts at the kerb and makes its way up to the building line, continuing between the two pavilions and linking the public street and private garden with a permeability unusual in residential estates. Photo by Leo Showell.

How An Architect Built This Breezy Home For $260,000

When architect Joshua Duncan set out to build a home in a suburban development 10 minutes outside of Busselton, Western Australia, he wanted to make it a point of difference from its neighbours.

With a budget of $260,000, Joshua’s aim was to showcase an alternative to the traditional layout of a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house, that was both well-designed and ‘financially accessible’.

Using simple materials like external metal cladding and plywood walls, Vasse House is breezy and adaptable, and enveloped by a sprawling native garden!

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