That crazy Triangle Shaped house on Vincent Street

Shrinking to fit: a triangle-shaped house to fit a small corner of inner-city Perth

When architect Simone Robeson found a tiny corner of land in a dream location, she created a three-cornered house to fit the space.

On busy Vincent Street in Mount Lawley, the house is a few hundred metres from the Beaufort Street coffee precinct and leafy Hyde Park, just three kilometres from the centre of Perth.

“I saw the block years ago, and I thought it just seemed too cheap for this area, there has to be a catch,” explained the house’s owner.

“And sure enough there was – it was a triangle-shaped block that was just 180 square metres.”

The tiny corner was formerly a wedge-shaped backyard between the road and a laneway and, despite the attractive location, the limitations were off-putting.

“Everyone got scared away because it was really hard to confirm that something could be built here, once all the site setbacks and council regulations were applied,” Ms Robeson said.

“[Buying the block] was a bit of a risk but I loved the location and I thought it was a chance to do something a bit different on an affordable bit of land this close to the city.”

What she came up with was a double-storey, two-bedroom house with a home office that follows the shape of the block – a triangle-shaped house.

“The form of house is generated from the floor plan,” Ms Robeson said.

“I wasn’t trying to make a statement. It was a case of looking at the site, applying the sewer easement 1.5 metres off the back boundary and then trying to maximise the footprint as much as possible.

“So the ground floor is triangular and then the top floor is overhung by about a metre to get as much space as possible in the living area.

“In the pointy end it is quite useless really, so downstairs it became a courtyard and we put a tree in the very pointy end.”

One of the biggest concerns was privacy, as the north side of the house faces busy Vincent Street and is close to the footpath.

“The big window in the kitchen is one-way glass, so people can’t see in during the day but we can still get all the light in,” Ms Robeson said.

“Certain heights of the windows were designed so people walking by couldn’t see in, and the big south-facing window is raised as well so we just see the Hyde Park trees and we don’t see any of the houses below.

“The windows are acoustic glass and when they are closed it works, it’s quite quiet.”

The light, white minimalist style looks like a magazine interior, but Ms Robeson says she is not having to constantly tidy up to keep up appearances because of the amount of storage she created for herself and her partner.

“I think with small houses there can be lack of storage and that’s what makes them look really cluttered and the biggest focus for me was enough storage, because then it looks clean and looks big, which was important for such a small site,” she said.

The stairwell with wrap-around skylight

“All our books and personal items have all got spots – often the only thing you’ll notice is there is a pile of dishes in the sink.”

Not every element has been a complete success – the wrap-around skylight over the stairwell has been found to let in a lot of heat as well as a lot of light and “there is nothing we can do to shade it either”.

Ms Robeson has been designing for 10 years, but has only now created a design for herself and incorporating elements she’s been dreaming about.

She says the cylindrical steel rangehood that hangs over the gas cooktop was selected before she even had a house design.

“I saw it in a magazine and tracked it down and bought it even before the house was built,” Ms Robeson said.

Overall, she says, designing and building the place where she both lives and works has been “a really fun process” and the feedback from neighbours and passersby has all been complimentary.

Living in the house is even better.

“It’s just really easy, I seem to have so much more time in the day now,” she said.

The Vincent Street house will be open to the public in November 2015 as part of Open House Perth, and she’s hoping it inspires others to think about what can be done with small spaces.

“I think with people wanting to live closer to the city it becomes more important to get some good designs on these small city blocks,” Ms Robeson said.

thanks ABC News Perth