The landscape and topography are diverse and includes ridge lines, valleys with ephemeral water courses, remnant clusters of native vegetation and cleared grazing land. The site is unique and beautiful and so it was important to site and design the new building to protect and enhance this natural landscape.
The range of materials were kept to a minimum, there’s an absence of minor material and extraneous detail hopefully lending a sense of calm and well being to the house. Naturally sealed timber windows and joinery including sustainably sourced plywood ceiling panels, exposed & laminated timber beams, cast on site concrete floors with locally sourced river rock aggregate and sand.
The entire design revolves around the idea of simple living. I enjoyed integrating some informal ideas for example the utilitarian kitchen is designed like a traditional farmhouse kitchen where family activity and kitchen work are integrated in one big room with a huge dining table in the middle. This open spatial arrangement is followed through in the detailing where open and continuous cantilevered wall shelves allow a single wall finish to flow uninterrupted throughout the entire living space. Spatial continuity and continuity of surface is a key design feature of this house as it lends a quiet unity and calm of the whole.
The house is designed as a single level in an elevated position with the back slightly cut into the hill. This allows the front of the house to sit on grade providing unfettered access outside and a strong visual connection to the land from inside. The budget was tight so the house is relatively compact, at just under 180m2 it includes an open plan living/dining/kitchen space, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, laundry and storage, but the spatial arrangement and constant visual connection to the outside make the house feel much bigger.
Every room has a view out into the landscape. There are spaces designed for late evening sun, or sunny spots in the morning so that you can track the light throughout the day. Winter sun penetration is achieved by facing a large open plan glass living, dining & kitchen area to the north, east and west, this area is open to the views and centered spatially around a 3-sided glass firebox. Summer sun is controlled by a massive overhanging roof comprising a grid of 600mm deep secretly joined timber roof beams. The roof’s presence is felt throughout the house to enhance the sense of shelter.