The impetus for the design was generated by a fundamentally simple brief; the client’s desire for a comfortable family home that was sympathetic to its site and able to accommodate the dynamic nature of a family. The semi-rural setting of the property with extensive native vegetation and distant views to wooded hills provided the initial clues to locating the house. Deference to natural light, breezes and privacy dictated the orientation and finally two mature trees provided the pivotal nodes for the design; the taller signified the entry while the smaller became the centrepiece of the courtyard.
Despite the size of the house, visual connection is available to most spaces providing a passive connection to the family without the need to be “on top of each other”. More seclusion is available if desired and while the overall plan of the house is generous in size, individual spaces are tailored to the human scale making them feel intimate and comfortable.
It was decided early that a natural palette of materials would be used wherever possible. This helped bed the house to the site as well as provide a richness of texture and warmth to the external and internal finishes. Various timbers have been used throughout the build providing tactile feedback to the family as they physically interact with the architecture. Stone has been used in differing ways throughout. Squared and honed flooring internally provides a durable, textured finish to compliment the timber and at the same time provides visual interest as the eye traces the patterns, scars, veins and fissures inherent in natural stone. Externally a different approach was taken with the stone. Here the La Roche limestone paving and Killcare random ashlar walling is rougher in texture and is fitted along less rigid lines. The stone grounds the building to the landscape and as it weathers and wears with the passage of time it will, like the rest of the house, age gracefully and carry the marks and memories of the family.
The architecture is a deliberate exercise in providing clean planning for a complex array of uses within the simple construct of a family home. The sitting, planning and orientation maximises access to shade in summer, warm sun in winter and ample natural light year round. The design is modern but intended to be timeless; comfortable in its context and considered so as to age well.