Between Marty and Kylie, they have four sons who are all really keen surfers. It was for this reason they wanted the ultimate beach house, and the pretty seaside town of Sulphur Creek on the north-west coast was just the spot to start their plans for their family home. They found a (virtual) waterfront block of land with beautiful ocean views and perfect northern orientation looking over Bass Strait. For the southern/Hobart-based designers DW+A Architects, a northern orientation with water views is a unique opportunity where the design team can capitalise on sustainable design principles combined with a panoramic outlook. The majority of Hobart-based projects have southern orientation views, so DW+A were particularly excited about the prospects of this particular design project.
With the location chosen, rather than just the usual beach shack, Marty and Kylie also wanted to ensure that their home had elements of sophistication and relaxation, but of course the functionality to cope with four active boys. To achieve the desired characteristics, the house is composed of two major functional levels. Downstairs is the boys’ retreat. Four generous size bedrooms all have direct access onto a common rumpus room area, allowing them to really spread out. The rumpus room has direct access to outdoor entertaining areas and comes complete with polished concrete floors to provide an almost ‘hose down’ approach to cleaning. So if the outdoor beach shower doesn’t get rid of all the sand, then the polished concrete floors can more than handle the wear and tear. For summery outdoor entertaining purposes, the lower floor also features a unique double-sided entry that allows guests to be securely whisked in through the front door and foyer, then back outside into the heart of the garden without having to traipse through the whole house.
Upstairs is Kylie and Marty’s own personal boutique retreat. Of course there’s plenty of room for the boys around the dinner table and in the main living spaces, but this part of the house has an extra special quality that makes Marty and Kylie feel like “we live in a resort”. Expansive views out to sea and generous size decks are a feature for all-day sun, making it the perfect place for relaxing with a drink to watch the sunset. Further to this, the master bedroom also has its own private deck coupled with an ensuite bathroom that features a spa bath with a view – just the spot to relax sore muscles after a swim or surf.
To further create that perfect seaside resort feeling, a combination of materials and textures has been chosen for the house. Vertical boards on the exterior of the house take a modern slant to the traditional methods of shack construction, whilst large timber decks at ground level provide vast areas of outdoor entertaining space. Inside, the warmth of natural timber combines with a stone feature wall to create a cosy intimate area to snuggle into when that seaside weather turns inevitably rough and stormy. This is all tied together with large expanses of glass to make the most of those Bass Strait views.
The house’s design also gives serious consideration to passive solar design. The perfect northern orientation is one of the most important, yet basic concepts in environmentally sustainable design, allowing the penetration of sunlight into the home throughout the colder months. A large operable louvered roof takes this traditional passive solar design principle one step further by controlling the direction of the sun’s rays into the house. This can allow winter sun to penetrate deep into the house, or in contrast, the louvers can be positioned to shade the house from harsh summer sun. Double glazed windows also help reduce the transfer of unwanted hot or cold air. Thermal mass principles are employed in the form of stone walls and polished concrete slabs. These ‘temperature regulators’ keep the house cool in summer and warm in winter, a great feature for any home.
Words: Xavier Wakefield.
Images: Jonathan Wherrett