McMaster Court: An architectural legacy

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David Watson Architect, a boutique practice, is celebrated for tailoring designs to individual client needs.

19 October 2023

One of David’s final projects, a Toorak residence, showcases his signature use of natural materials in a striking design. We spoke with current owner Lisa Barker of DL Property Group to learn more about the story of 6 McMaster Court.

What inspired the architectural choices for this tri-level masterpiece, and how did David Watson, given the myriad of architects available, resonate with your vision and effectively bring it to life through his emphasis on bespoke built environments?

As a building company, we’ve held a deep appreciation for the architecture of David Watson for quite some time. Our admiration began when we lived in a Toorak home situated just three doors away from one of Watson’s early designs. That particular home captivated us with its stunning design back then, and still stands the test of time. We were particularly drawn to Watson’s affinity for natural materials, a distinct signature element for which many of his designs are renowned.

David Watson’s passing was a profound loss to the architectural world. Considering this home stands as his final iconic creation, what do you believe is the legacy he leaves for those privileged to inhabit his designed spaces?

Engaging with David in the design stage for McMaster Court was fascinating. It was intriguing to see the vision he had for the home. We found ourselves completely aligned in terms of material choice. His sudden passing was a profound loss, first to his family and then to the industry. The appeal for us as builders was David’s unique approach: his homes may appear understated from the outside, but once you step inside, he brings them to life. The design for McMaster was precisely what we had envisioned. It offers a sense of privacy from the front yet opens up to the most magical home.

Owning a home designed by David Watson would truly be a privilege.

The residence seamlessly navigates the unique shape of the occupying land – how important was this in the design and construction of the home?

One of the standout elements of his design is how he incorporated the surrounding environment into the home. Almost every window acts as a frame, bringing the outside in. Particularly striking is the vast living space with its soaring ceilings; it gives the sensation that the sky itself has been brought into the home throughout the day. These design elements contribute to a feeling of expansive space and is a testament to David’s exceptional vision and capability.

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The bespoke finishes, especially the sculptural steel staircase with the quartzite chandelier, are truly distinctive. What was the motivation behind these specific design elements, and how do they encapsulate the essence of the property?

The staircase is undeniably the anchor of the home, floating effortlessly through every level. We were astounded by the craftsmanship and the countless hours poured into its creation. Watching it evolve over the months, it has become a true masterpiece in our eyes. I knew that the choice of lighting for the staircase needed to be striking, yet not overpowering. By incorporating natural materials, such as quartz, it harmoniously complements the boldness of steel, resulting in a beautiful balance.

Every room, from the sound-proof cinema to the gym, seems thoughtfully curated. Could you elaborate on the narrative or story you wanted each space to tell, and how they contribute to the overall emotion of the home?

We endeavoured to make the home as inviting and warm as possible. While you may be tempted to carry the masculine vibes of the exterior throughout the interiors, we were mindful to inject some softness and warmth internally, and we feel we’ve struck the right balance.

Building a large-scale home sometimes means key elements can be lost, as the focus might inadvertently become about just filling spaces. However, we believe this home not only flows but offers areas for the quiet moments every homeowner craves alongside spaces for more lively occasions.

To be completely honest, it was a challenging build, especially navigating the hurdles of the COVID period. As builders, we are extremely proud of the home, and our hope is that the new owners can create their own story in McMaster Court.

This tri-level architectural gem in one of Toorak’s top cul-de-sacs represents the pinnacle of luxury and design.