The eastern suburb of Warrandyte, an half hour drive from the centre of Melbourne, is a coveted spot for those seeking a change from the urban lifestyle without sacrificing proximity to the city. With its quintessentially Australian bush landscape, the proximity to the Yarra river and keen sense of community, Warrandyte has become one of the state’s most competitive postcodes – but it also comes with the danger of bushfires.
Born from the family’s determination to build on the prime location, this home, designed by Alexandra Buchanan adheres to all the necessary environmental and bushfire restrictions, while creating a bushland retreat for its inhabitants.
Instead of viewing the various challenges of the site as project limitations, the architects used them to drive innovative solutions, particularly in drawing from the steep siting of the house to create a series of dynamic spaces that slide and tumble alongside the natural terrain, maximising natural light and landscape views.
The unique layout of the home has been designed to ‘slide’ with the landscape, with solid east and west walls sheltering open central spaces, directing the views to the surrounding sky and treetops. Across the home’s two levels, there is both ample room to move and a focus on flexible spaces that can evolve as the family grows. The top floor hosts the large open-plan living, dining and kitchen space, while bedrooms a tucked into the slope below on the ground floor. In building alongside the curve of the landscape, the design also ensures the living spaces flow through to the outdoor entertaining terrace, taking in views of the forest and river below.
Light and connectivity to the natural landscape are highlighted in the materials chosen, with every corner of the home maximised for natural light with large floor-to-ceiling windows and bifold doors to make way for more expansive indoor/outdoor spaces. Drystone walls wrapping the exterior anchor the lighter architectural details such as the butterfly ceiling that is designed to capture daylight from every direction, while steel framing is used throughout the home to add definition and bring the various materials together.
With the dynamic materiality of the home’s structure, furnishings have been cleverly refined to neutral, trend-resistant pieces.
With surrounds like this, you’d have to be nuts not to make the most of the views and the sprawling terrace has plenty of room for entertaining or quiet reflection amongst the bush.
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Understated, natural styles let the landscape take center stage.