'Unique'' is one of those rash descriptions used all too often but this three-level luxury house, built in 2008 in the heart of Yarraville, might just warrant the word. Certainly, you would be hard-pressed to find another house like this anywhere in the inner west.
Which is just the way owner-developer Steve Maher planned it. Western suburbs born and bred, Mr Maher, who owns volume builder Urbanedge Homes, bought the vacant block - part of the subdivided site of an old street-sweeper factory - in 2005.
Although the land was compact, Mr Maher was after a lavish house for his family that suited a modern lifestyle. Spaciousness, loads of natural light, mod cons, pool and spa, quality materials and stylish finishes were all in the design brief to Fitzroy architect Steve Domoney.
The sweeping driveway to a basement car park for two vehicles, with room to spare, tells you instantly this isn't your regular western suburbs abode. The ''floating'' cantilevered upper storey - with its concrete render and tilted contours - exposed steel girder, and rusted flame sculpture in the front raised garden bed provide further evidence that this is a cut above.
In fact, Mr Maher tempered the modern facade by adding a gable and blackbutt timber posts, only as a concession to the area's heritage values demanded by the council after a torrid two-year battle. (The breakthrough paved the way for more modern developments, including another by Mr Maher, to the street corner.)
Inside, though, Mr Maher had a free hand. He particularly wanted to suggest something a little grander the moment you step into the limestone lobby through a large pivot door, which itself helps to create a dramatic entry.
On entering, your gaze is drawn down to a tiled 17-metre gas-and-solar-heated lap pool and spa, which run down the side of the house to the back boundary wall. Immediately to your right is a powder room and open lounge, or study, with built-in desk and bookcase, leading to a terrace with galvanised steel arbour overlooking the street.
Carry on through - along an open, light-filled corridor of warm blackbutt timber - to the main split-level living quarters, and that sense of sumptuous living repeats. The dining area and kitchen sit on the top section overlooking the family room on the lower section - creating a lofty 3.6-metre ceiling height - and the courtyard, with its Rinnai barbecue station, beyond.
Light spilling in through full-height, commercial-grade steel-framed glass from the west and north, coupled with the seamless use of basalt stone pavers to connect the indoors with outside, enhances the elegant split-level design.
The choice of appliances and finishes lends everything an extra touch of class. The kitchen, for instance, has glass cabinets, an integrated Miele coffee machine, a dishwasher, fan-forced and steam ovens and warming drawers as well as a Gessi kitchen-sink mixer and a soft-close Hafele aluminium drawer system.
Upstairs offers the same level of quality and comfort. The three bedrooms, surrounding an open retreat, each have their own en suites and wardrobes. The main features an antechamber for dressing and a balcony with views to the West Gate Bridge.
Again, spaciousness and perspective are reinforced. The raked ceiling climbs to more than three metres and the cathedral ceiling in the main bedroom rises even higher. The frameless glass balustrade also allows you to look down to the ground level and pool, providing spatial depth.
Gessi nickle-brushed tapware, Monsoon showerheads, Villeroy & Boch toilets, stone benchtops, soft-touch glass light switches and a ducted vacuum system reinforce that this is a home in which to indulge, not just live.
The house's design is not the only reason it's exceptional for the west. Just 200 metres from trendy Yarraville Village, a five-minute drive from town along Footscray Road and with easy access to the West Gate Freeway, its location contributes to its singularity.
''This is one of Yarraville's more sought-after pockets,'' Mr Maher says. ''That makes [this house] almost irreplaceable. To find something between here and the village that you can knock down and rebuild is almost impossible.''