They say good design doesn’t age, and in when it comes to this coastal home by studiofour, that’s certainly true. Debuted in 2012, the home is a reminder of the enduring appeal of a restrained, naturally-led palette – yet also predating the now-ubiquitous black timber-clad exterior. While from the outside the home might look unassuming, its strength lies in its deceptive simplicity; rather than sitting atop the landscape, it instead melts into it, offering a real sense of place and a calming coastal retreat for the residents.
Located on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, the site for this house posed both opportunity and challenge. Overlooking the Moonah Links golf course, the site’s sloping topography made for great views, but required a creative solution to spatial planning. Instead of taking the usual ‘podium level’ single level home, the design for this home was gentler, with the building’s form spilling down the slope in a series of terraced decks. “These low lying decks provide privacy from the golf course below, whilst the surrounding native landscape shelters the outdoor areas from harsh prevailing winds” studiofour tell us.
Strong attention was paid throughout the design process to thoughtfully integrating the surrounding landscape, from the emphasis on natural light to the direct connection offered by the low level decks. Studiofour describe their focus as creating “a quality of space that provides a sense of sanctuary, enclosure and comfort”. This is made clear in one of the home’s most striking features, the living areas’ double height picture window. Capturing the full proportion of the tea tree outside, it’s clear this space wants to exist in harmony with the natural landscape it inhabits, not alter it.
Encouraging communal spaces while providing room for private reflection, the layout of the home uses the various layers to gently segment the home. The kitchen, dining and living spaces are combined to create a single, fluid area, defined only by a gentle level change and a fireplace. “These elements provide the level of intimacy required by the client whilst also allowing the advantages provided by open planning” studiofour explain. While the home might look streamlined, it’s also filled with storage – the matte black panelled kitchen wall conceals a powder room, laundry and butler’s pantry, white further storage for the living room is tucked away near the fireplace.
In describing their design for the house as “an exploration into the absence of what is not necessary, both in building form and detail”, studiofour have not only made a case for the timelessness of pared-back forms and a restrained material palette, but demonstrated the sustainability it can encourage. From the way the design maximises daylight to the underground water storage and water-saving fixtures, use of hardy natural materials and the native flora called upon for the home’s surrounding greenery, this home feels like it’s been here for a lifetime, yet will endure for many lifetimes more.
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