Great Ocean Road House by Rob Mills Architecture & Interiors

  • Architect Robert Mills is fortunate to design homes fronting some of Australia’s premier bodies of water, including Sydney Harbour, Byron Bay and closer to home, along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. 

    This latest home, designed for a large extended family on the Great Ocean Road, is befitting of its location and worthy of its recent award, The International Architecture MasterPrize in 2020. “I wanted this house to reflect the majestic nature of the site perched above the water and offering unimpeded views of this rugged western coast,” Rob says, who replaced a 1960s house that from the outset had a cracked slab.

    This feature originally appeared in est magazine issue #39.

    The 412 Cab chairs by Mario Bellini are tucked around a custom Lowe Furniture dining table.

    Rob Mills Architecture & Interiors combined Cristalli Quartzite and custom stained solid timber by The Restorators in the kitchen with Moroccan Colmar Limestone underfoot and a Mazzer Mini Electronic A on the benchtop. Untitled artwork by Johnny Yungut Tjupurrula.

    A Camie Lyons bronze sculpture from Scott Livesey studio features alongside artwork by Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri and Fanuli Keely Sofa on one side of the gas fireplace, with a Hemisphere bowl by John Pawson for When Objects Work on the other and the Flexform Crono Armchair.

    A monumental sandstone wall that gives very little clue as to what is beyond, greets visitors on arrival. In contrast, the home’s north-east elevation is glazed with deep eaves over the outdoor terrace and zinc-clad ‘hoods’ around the windows to prevent excessive sun, wind and rain. “Part of the charm of the place is born from the often harsh conditions – particularly during the winter months,” Rob says, who was mindful of creating protected outdoor spaces the family and friends could enjoy using all year round.

    With a brief to create a house that would address the extended family’s needs, as well as for those of the owners who often spend time here on their own, the Great Ocean Road Residence is loosely conceived in two parts. The ground level is treated as a separate self-contained dwelling, with four bedrooms, an open plan kitchen and living areas. On the first floor, with its own staircase, is the main kitchen and living areas for the owners, together with a main bedroom suite and a separate study. “The family, being the children and grandchildren, tend to come together upstairs, with meals often served on the terrace,” Rob says.

    The master bathroom lets you take in breathtaking cliff top views from the Swim C Boffi bath by Piero Lissoni with shelves, with Loom Towel bath mat and Abode Skandi brushes.

    Unlike a city home, the Great Ocean Road Residence captures the essence of its setting, bordering a coastal reserve and bushland. Some of the cues for the interior palette were drawn from these surrounds, including the limed walls and ceiling in the living areas, evocative of the surrounding tree trunks.

    Likewise, the kitchen with its limestone floor and stone bench has a robust quality that ‘speaks’ of the surrounding terrain. “I wanted to create a sanctuary, a place of refuge to spend time with the extended family,” Rob says.

    “Great Ocean Road Residence captures the essence of its setting, bordering a coastal reserve and bushland. Some of the cues for the interior palette were drawn from these surrounds.”


    – Rob Mills

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