Architects: Simon Couchman Architects / Simon Couchman
Location: Balnarring Beach, VIC, Australia
Project Engineer: KH Engineering
Building Contractor: Nepean Houseworks
Landscape: Fiona Brockhoff
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: ~300 sqm
Photographs: Christine Francis
The brief called for a family holiday house where family could be together but not on top of one another. The wide, north-facing block some 5 minutes walk from Balnarring Beach on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula offered the perfect opportunity to build such a house. Amongst the tea-tree and banksia are the sandy driveways of 1950s-style fibro shacks alternating with the modern housing indicative of the continuing development of the region.
While sympathetic to its surroundings, the design of the house seeks to make use of the entire site. The single level U-shaped building steps up towards the rear of the block following the gentle slope of the land. An integrated landscape solution helps to create a series of indoor and outdoor spaces.
The front wing provides a sleeping zone away from the main living areas. A family room here can be opened to the central courtyard and also to a fully-secured front yard defined by a curved, vertical batten fence which arcs back to the house, connecting to a curved wall leading visitors to the front door. A glazed corridor links entry and family wing to the rear living areas with a free-standing spine wall concealing a smaller private courtyard addressed only by the master bedroom and study.
The main living area flows directly onto the central space via fully retractable bi-fold doors. Terraced decking offers casual seating, and links to a covered BBQ area incorporating outdoor eating with pass-through window to the kitchen. Black painted cement sheet panel and raw hardwood timber cladding used externally merge inside the house in places contrasting against the clean white interior plaster shell. Full height glazing and slot windows frame the landscape and further allow the outdoor spaces to flow through the house.