Designing an Enduring Beach House with Studio Tom

  • Collaborating with Planned Living Architects, Studio Tom have created an equally monumental and unpretentious place to reside by the sea, on the dunes of Blairgowrie, Victoria.

    When your view is as exceptional as this beach house on the Mornington Peninsula, no effort should be spared in keeping it front and centre. From spatial forms down to furniture selection, the untamed beauty of the scrub and dunes looking out to Bass Strait and Port Phillip Bay could not be sidelined. 

    Enter Planned Living Architects and interior design practice Studio Tom. The family approached this team of collaborators with a large home in mind, with four-to-five bedrooms and one ‘show-stopping’ kitchen, ready for easy entertaining and to host all of their future memories. We chat with Studio Tom director Robbie Peirce on how the client’s brief and love of concrete has materialised in a minimal and contemporary beach house, built to last a lifetime, with a genuine relationship with its surrounds.

    Produced in partnership with Gaggenau

    The kitchen features the Highline Pendant from Rakumba, Astra Walker kitchen mixer and Oliveri Sonetto under-mount sink.

    Studio Tom wanted to realise the client’s brief through uncluttered and tranquil spaces that ultimately draw the eye to the deep blue view. The layout for the home needed to be flexible but conventional for permanent residents in the future. The ability to close off zones, which could also be multi-functional was important. 

    As the large-scale windows expose you to the harshness of the dune landscape, the interiors envelop a sense of comfort, without foregoing their seamless link to the environment. The material palette, lifting from the sand’s texture and the greys of the tea-tree scrub, works towards intensifying the connection between inside and out.

    Cast in-situ concrete walls lead the home’s rustic palette, allowing it to comfortably settle into its surrounds. Balancing the concrete’s coolness, pale, natural timber lines the floors and kitchen cabinetry and is also used to create custom nooks like the window seat in the living space. Where the front row views cannot be directly accessed, such as in the bathroom, Studio Tom concentrated on natural light and enhancing the interaction between textures.

    “Our aim was to create a minimalist and contemporary beach house kitchen, which was warm, inviting, natural and relaxed. We wanted to provide uncluttered and tranquil spaces that draw focus towards the ocean views.”


    Robbie Peirce

    Studio Tom selected pale timbers to draw out the warmth in the cast-in-situ concrete walls.

     Studio Tom worked with local craftsmen at Christopher Blank, selecting their ‘The Plus Side’ dining table to accompany the J39 Chairs by Borge Mogensen for Fredericia. Christopher Blank also custom-designed the bedside tables.

    The living space features the Husk Armchair by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia and Armadillo rug.

    The Oda Big Floor Lamp

    Studio Tom took an unconventional approach to the kitchen but maintained the efficient functionality you can expect in a well-designed space. “Our aim was to create a minimalist and contemporary beach house kitchen, which was warm, inviting, natural and relaxed,” Robbie says. The basis of the kitchen design was formed around integrated appliances and a concealed walk-in pantry and bar, behind uninterrupted full-height joinery. “In the walk-in pantry, we included robust finishes such as stainless steel countertops and tiled splashbacks,” Robbie says. 

    Robbie admits they were thrilled with the client’s suggestion for Gaggenau appliances in the kitchen. “The client’s preference for Gaggenau appliances opened up a world of desirable possibilities,” he says. “In some ways, the form of the kitchen was influenced by Gaggenau appliances.” The kitchen features the sleek anthracite Gaggenau 200 series oven, combi-steam oven, combi-microwave oven and warming drawer – offering striking uniformity in streamlined composition with the rear joinery.

    The Gaggenau 400 series Telescopic table ventilation system was an ideal solution for the island counter cooktop, retracting when not in use, alongside the Gaggenau 200 series Flex induction cooktop. This dynamic cooktop offers precise temperature control with a cooking sensor in pots and frying sensor in pans. The Flex function combines the rectangular cooking areas to allow free positioning of cookware. Twist-Pad user-friendly control with a removable magnetic knob and power boost function all add to the expert cooking experience.

    Studio Tom envisioned uncluttered and tranquil spaces where the focal point was always the ocean. They designed a long window seat to engage to allow the clients to easily engage with these surpassing views.

    In the butler’s pantry, you’ll find the fully-integrated Gaggenau dishwasher and Gaggenau 200 series espresso machine. Robbie says the client’s preference for Gaggenau spoke to their understanding that quality appliances are an essential part of any good kitchen. “You want to ensure they stand the test of time and last the lifetime of your kitchen,” he adds. Together, the Gaggenau appliances work hand-in-hand with the team’s overall design approach to deliver a refined and utilitarian kitchen space. 

    Studio Tom pride themselves on considered and custom design, imbuing this robust beach house with a balance of both. Taking on a cultivated coastal aesthetic, each element within the home works hard to create a feeling of ease for the family, without detracting from the enviable ocean vistas.

    Explore Gaggenau 200 series kitchen appliances in the est Product Library here

    While it doesn’t have an ocean view, a wall-to-wall skylight douses the master ensuite in light, letting you feel like you’re bathing outside with an integrated planter. The bathroom features Brodware fixtures and Duravit basins.

    “The balance of texture between the concrete, timber and linear battens offered a refined, harmonious and natural aesthetic.”


    Robbie Peirce

2 Responses

  1. Just wondering why there is no mention of the cabinetry, a fundamental component of interior design. What type of timber / veneer is used? Who manufactured the cabinetry? Anybody can buy a lamp or choose an appliance or tap (if you have the money), but this house would not have its appeal without the beautiful joinery within it. Interior design is not all about furniture and fixtures. Without inbuilt joinery you just have walls. As usual the refined craftsmanship of the cabinet maker is ignored as an integral part of the final aesthetic. Take the styling, furniture and fixtures out and the house would still be a stunner because of the exceptional joinery!

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