Herald Sun – Home – January 16, 2016
BUNKER DOWN FOR FUN
Words: Louise Surette
Photography: Dean Bradley
There is plenty of room for family and friends in this ultra-flexible backyard makeover.
WITH four young girls to keep occupied and a love of entertaining, Melissa and Stephen Williams decided they needed to create a backyard for their Brighton home that would be fun, yet fully self-contained.
The end result is a flexible space with two separate outdoor entertaining areas with all the bells and whistles their daughters and friends will enjoy for many years to come.
“We are very keen to have everyone come to us,” Melissa explains. “The space now works really well. We’ve very comfortably had eight or nine families here, all with kids.”
For designer Dan Gayfer, giving the family a so called “bunker” at the end of the block offered a great solution in terms of a multi-purpose living area, as well as concealed storage and amenities. Coupled with the outdoor living and entertaining space just outside of the house, there is room for everything and everyone.
The bunker at the end of the pool has a built-in lounge, a wall-mounted television and a concealed bar fridge, as well as a powder room with a shower tucked away behind it.
“The bunker at the end of the pool is where the kids can go, do their own thing and they are out of the way,” Dan explains. “The way it is positioned, however, means their parents can still keep an eye on them.”
For Melissa, the flexibility of the space is what makes it work so well. While her children are still young, she uses the bunker as a mums’ space, because it allows her to still be close to swimming children.
“It is where the mums can sit and chat and watch the kids in the pool,” Melissa says. “It can eventually be more of a kids’ retreat as they get older.”
Dan has also incorporated a synthetic-grass-covered play area tucked in next to the bunker where the girls can play and jump on the trampoline. “I had to leave some room for a trampoline and a place to kick a ball because they are very active girls,” he says.
“In simple terms, the rear space is sliced in half with the pool fence down the middle creating a long recreational area.”
Melissa’s favourite aspect of the project is the outdoor fireplace, which, located in the outdoor area next to the house, gives the space a great ambience and ensures it will be used even on cooler nights.
“We think it’s a really nice feel and look,” Melissa says. “We have an open fireplace inside, which I really love, so having one outside as well is great.”
Along with the fireplace, there is also a barbecue, TV and custom-designed seating area, which helps with the request of being fully self-contained.
“When you have a lot of people over, it is handy that nobody needs to go in and out of the house,” Dan says. “They can be out there all day and have everything they need.”
“The bunker at the end of the pool is where the kids can go, do their own thing and they are out of the way”.
- MOVABLE SOFA:
In the outdoor living area next to the house, the custom-made outdoor sofa was designed to include a detachable section on castor wheels. This means the sofa can turn to face the outdoor fireplace or TV, or be removed completely and rolled down to the pool area.
- DIVIDING DECK:
Dan decided to make the pool and spa separate, but create a decked area with seating space between the two bodies of water. This dividing area offers more functionality as it provides a place to sit, put towels and clothes, or even food and drinks.
- OUTDOOR HOOKS:
Along the side of the bunker and next to the play area, six large round towel hooks have been arranged on the wall. It offers the kids a place to dry their towels before they go to play and creates a colourful addition to an otherwise empty wall.