Traditionally, bricks and blocks are considered construction materials – favoured for a building’s structure rather than appearance. While it’s not unusual to obscure bricks with paint or filler materials, some architects and designers go against this grain by showcasing bricks and blocks not only on the outside of a building but also within. In this instalment of our Design Covet series, we explore seven stand-out examples where exposed bricks and blocks impart a unique, honest appeal to a home’s interiors.

Clifton Hill Courtyard House

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Design: Eliza Blair Architecture

Inside and outside gracefully collide inside this light-filled brick and glass extension of a worker’s cottage in Melbourne’s inner north. In addition to diversifying and enhancing the interior palette of light timber, terrazzo and black steel, the bricks establish a clear link to the building’s exterior, satisfying the client’s desire to connect the home to the garden.

Bellows House

Location: The Mornington Peninsula, Australia

Design: Architects EAT

One of the hallmarks of this home on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is the use of concrete blocks, featured experimentally both internally and externally. Offering an unconventional backdrop to the interior’s soft and lively elements, the exposed blocks maintain a raw and austere appearance, creating a striking contrast just as the architect had envisioned. “Architecture is about engagement,” Architects EAT co-director Albert Mo says. “It generates discussion, whether you hate it or love it.”

Ha Ha Haus

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Design: FIGR

This home in Melbourne’s inner north employs off-white bricks as its primary material, used internally and externally to create a seamless link between the two realms. “Brick is a very versatile material that can be applied in many ways. We wanted this material to become the hero of the project. It’s not just on the walls; it also extends internally, creating a holistic approach to the space,” FIGR founding director Adi Atic says.  

Merricks Farmhouse

Location: The Mornington Peninsula, Australia

Design: Michael Lumby & Nielsen Jenkins

This home on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is defined by a prevalence of robust masonry block walls that encircle gardens, outdoor spaces and even indoor spaces. The repetition of this element deliberately blurs the existing boundaries between the landscape, architecture and interiors, meeting the brief to embed the building in its coastal surroundings.

Stable & Cart House

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Design: Clare Cousins Architects

This warehouse-turned-home in Melbourne’s inner north thoughtfully engages with the idiosyncrasies and imperfections of the original 1920s brick building. “Our client was keen to engage with and preserve the rich history of the building and its varying uses, all of which have left an indelible mark,” architect Clare Cousins says. One way this has been achieved is by preserving the warehouse’s patinated red bricks, both outside and inside. Respecting the building’s past lends the interiors a distinctive beauty that only age can bestow.

Mary Street

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Design: Edition Office

This well-worn Federation-era home in bayside Melbourne was reimagined through a robust material palette of recycled bricks and concrete. Inside, the recycled brick walls contrast with rich blackbutt timber and Rosso Levanto marble, creating an atmosphere of arresting simplicity. The curved shape of some of the walls, the architect explains, softens the palette and guides movement through the home.

8 Yard House

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Design: Studio Bright

A 1930s brick home in Melbourne’s inner north was transformed into an urban sanctuary where the interior spaces and garden are constantly in dialogue. When the former house was demolished, the cream bricks were recycled to construct the new home, being intentionally left exposed in some parts of the interiors to strengthen this nod to the past. Notably, the kitchen ingeniously employs the material as a curved-bottom island bench.

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