When Jayden Zernich first visited the site of his latest development, Whipbird, the panoramic view of the ocean obviously impressed. It wasn’t long before he realised, however, that the truly unique feature of the block was its “poetic stillness”, thanks to the 100 acres of native vegetation reserves that enclose the site on three sides.
That first experience became the guiding vision for the project: to create a secluded home that was as calm and beautiful as its surrounds. To achieve this, he sought a premium list of collaborators who shared their passion for quality finishes, including award-winning architect Jen Negline of Minnow Studios, and boutique Swiss appliance manufacturer V-ZUG.
For a project seeking to invoke serenity, it seems incongruous then that Whipbird’s architectural starting point was Brutalism, an architectural style not typically associated peacefulness – or luxury. But while the building is grand in scale and offers the clearly legible forms associated with that style, it is softened and enhanced by a beautiful selection of materials, including black shiplap cladding, grey handmade bricks and an ample amount of granite.
That juxtaposition continues inside, where dramatic volumes are eased into intimacy using a natural, textured palette. This is especially apparent in the open kitchen, where Zernich had carefully considered how it might function for its owners and guests, as well as draw in the environment beyond.
“I was pretty adamant that if you’re entertaining with friends throughout the kitchen, I want you to be with your friends, enamoured by the view; I don’t want you to have your back to your guests, I don’t want you to feel like you’re always cooking or you’re not actually enjoying the environment that’s before you,” says Jayden Zernich.
“So with regard to the kitchen, I wanted a really grand island and all of the appliances integrated into that island. But I also didn’t want any obstructions from extraction units, where you’d have to duck while you were talking to your friends or family. V-ZUG came on board as a partner and they were really good in going back and forth with implementing a new downdraft system and its V6000 cooktop range.”
The Ocean Blue Travertine island is a standout element, and this rare shade can have up to a two-year waitlist for a usable slab of that size. A number of V-ZUG products have been seamlessly integrated into this precious benchtop: an induction cooktop, the concave induction wok cooktop and a teppanyaki plate, giving the future owners a versatile and impressive workstation. The V-ZUG DSMS extraction unit pulls the cooking vapours down and under the island where it is ventilated using a charcoal filter system.
Zernich was also keen to avoid protrusions on the cabinetry and looked to the automatic door versions of V-ZUG’s Excellence line ovens: “We’re really big on our joinery always being streamlined with shadowline details, almost having the joinery concealed. Out of the appliances we researched with regards to that technology, V-ZUG was really the only brand that we felt like we could achieve that with.”
Adjacent to the travertine island and integrated into the joinery are a combi-steam oven, a pyrolytic oven, a Combi Cooler and WineCooler both from the V6000 Supreme range. Tucked away in the butler’s pantry is more V-ZUG cooling storage with a full fridge and freezer and two more wine fridges.
The presentation kitchen/engine room kitchen combination is exactly what Zernich was hoping for, and will be referenced in their next project underway nearby, a contemporary dwelling in rammed earth and where V-ZUG are again on board as a partner.
“What I love with the Swiss-made design of V-ZUG products is that they’re really refined and restrained – similar to our approach to the house – it’s clean-line architecture for appliances. There’s nothing that feels forced or designed because of what is being seen in society [as on trend] at that given point in time. V-ZUG products have a timeless design, and that’s more in keeping with our brand.”
This is a singular residence but then Zerni is a singular company – it’s not every day you hear a developer talking about the poetry of the landscape or that he has a responsibility to “pay homage to a beautiful site with quality architecture”.
Dig a bit deeper and you’ll discover that Jayden Zernich absorbed an appreciation for good design by osmosis through his Italian mother, who had a passion for B&B Italia furniture and he was often in toe with his older sister to the Space Furniture showroom, appreciating the aspirational furniture and materials straight out of Milan. Throughout his early careers in industrial design, graphic design and brand strategy, Zernich was always itching to eventually work on a larger scale, and after a number of small adaptive re-use projects in Melbourne, he and and his wife truly hit their stride when they moved to Queensland and saw an opportunity to blend coastal living with a more urban architectural typology.
“We’ve found our niche in the market doing these high-end, really detailed homes. That blend of our urban and travel background with the coastal environment.”
The end result is more an experience than a ‘brand’: beautifully resolved turn-key homes for the most discerning of buyers to enjoy, for many years to come.