Cumulus House by Chris Connell Design

  • Cumulus House by Chris Connell Design makes its way onto the Great Ocean Road’s lineup of holiday homes with its seamless pairing of the Australian coastal landscape and minimalist design

    The impetus behind the Cumulus house was to maintain a strong connection to the surrounding landscape, while simultaneously referencing elements of Californian Modernism. Secluded among neighbouring trees and elevated above the steeply-sloping coastline of Wye River, the home cuts ties with the outside world and immerses itself in nature. Glass sliding doors wrap the full width of the living space, opening out onto a large outdoor balcony that offers 180-degree views of the valley and ocean below. 

    Chris Connell Design architect, Ben Hutton, affirms that the melding of indoor and outdoor living spaces reflects Californian Modernism. So too, Ben says, does the home’s open-plan, uniform structure and steel framing. Those familiar with the movement’s origins would compare it to the iconic ‘Hunt House’, built in the 1950s in California.

    A long-standing Melbourne-based firm, Chris Connell Design strive for simplicity by exploring clean lines from the interiors to the exterior. The home follows two diagonal lines that run all the way down a generous two-metre wide corridor, through the living space and out onto the views of the back balcony. A four-sided fireplace sits in the centre of the two lines, serving as the home’s anchor.

    The kitchen is clad in Laminex – Oyster Grey, complemented by the HAY Revolver Bar Stool.

    The house remains connected to its surroundings by positioning itself along the axis of the horizon. Colour was also a consideration, Ben says, with the frequent use of grey and silver materials “echoing the colours of the coastal landscape”. These materials were also informed by a passion for sustainable and enduring design and a cognisance of the home’s location.  

    Crucially, the home responds to its location by taking into account the late 2015 Wye River bushfires. “The bushfire risk impacted the design in relation to material and product selection,” Ben says, specifying materials that were durable and protective against strong winds. 

    Through its deliberate application of line, colour and materials, the Cumulus House by Chris Connell Design accentuates the natural beauty of the site. In doing so, it presents itself as the ideal coastal retreat – detached from reality and unequivocally connected to nature.

    The bathroom implements line in a way that is distinct from the rest of the home through experimentation with light and shade.

    Natural light has been harnessed through the home’s open design and unique Northern orientation. The end result is a light-filled box designed for comfort year-round. 

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