This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Japanese-Inspired Hideaway In Idyllic Tassie Bushland

Architecture

Every office has its trendsetter, and the undisputed cool girl in the TDF studio is our art director, Annie Portelli. She first came across this humble little cabin while poring over entries to the Australian House Awards and quickly declared it to be her ‘dream house’. Naturally, the rest of us scrambled to find more info! 

Located off the south-eastern coast of Tasmania on Bruny Island, this Japanese-inspired ‘Hideaway‘ cabin was designed as a place of refuge by local firm Maguire Devine. On Saturday night, the tiny retreat was awarded the Esmond Dorney Award for Best New Residential Architecture, the Barry McNeill Award for Sustainable Architecture, and the Colourbond Award for Steel Architecture in the Tasmanian Architecture Awards. I told you Annie has good taste!

9th July, 2018

A tiny cabin nestled into the magnificent bushland of Bruny Island, off Tasmanian’s southeastern coast. Photo – Robert Maver.

The client wanted the off-the-grid retreat the reflect her love for traditional Japanese architecture. Photo – Robert Maver.

The cabin enjoys unencumbered views out to the natural surrounds. Photo – Robert Maver.

Built with a steeply sloping roof to capture the most sun on the rooftop solar panels allowed the opportunity for a lofted bed, giving the small space a sense of volume. Photo – Robert Maver.

The Bruny Island hideaway was to have no furniture, which informed the overall design. Photo – Robert Maver.

The tiny cabin comes in at just 28-square-metres. Photo – Robert Maver.

Sally Tabart
Monday 9th July 2018

While Tassie may have only gained more cultural traction with ‘mainlanders’ (aka the rest of Australia) in recent years, those born and bred (…or those of us who boarded the ‘Spirit’ every summer of their childhood) have always known there is something particularly special about our southernmost state, traced in a magnificent, rugged coastline, dense with bushland  and with spectacular views from almost any vantage point.  

The brief for small architecture firm Maguire Devine (headed up by Hugh Maguire and Dan Devine) was to place a small, off-the-grid cabin on an idyllic bush block on Bruny Island. With a client who works in a high-stress hospital environment, the tiny timber house was designed as a place of refuge from her busy vocation.

The cabin was to be simple, functional and thoughtfully integrated within the bushland. Keeping the client’s work-life in mind, as well her love of traditional Japanese architecture, Dan and Hugh wanted to ‘create a real sense of otherness, far away from life in a standard plasterboard house or sterile hospitals.’ Lining the cabin’s interiors with soft pine, the architects sought to create a cosy, contemporary environment.

But how to introduce a Japanese aesthetic whilst retaining a connection to the uniquely Australian bush context? ‘Balance’ was a key focus of the design team, itself a signature element across all aspects of Japanese design. Keeping the structure as a simple and pure form allowed it to sit ‘elegantly as an object in the landscape’, explains Dan, whilst external materials reference the ‘rural vernacular of architecture in the region’.

Responding to the challenging site lined with tall, dense bush to the North, Dan and Hugh opted for a steep roof to lift solar panels and a skylight high to catch the sun. This added height and volume to the building, allowing the design to go vertical, with a lofted bed accessible by a ladder.

As if living off-the-grid wasn’t tricky enough, the cabin was to be a space with no furniture, ‘shoes off and sitting on the floor’. As a result, the architects approached the cabin ‘as a piece of furniture, with everything [the client] needs built in as part of the whole’.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

A Photographer + Stylist's Vibrant Family Home

Melbourne photographer Derek Swalwell and stylist Georgia Young’s modernised 1960s family home in Elsternwick.

Architecture

An A-Frame On The Top Of The World

A tiny, off-the-grid cabin in rural New South Wales with breathtaking views across the Murrumbidgee River flats and Kimo valley.

Homes

A Handcrafted Cabin In Gippsland

Interior designer Andrea Moore’s contemporary rural country cabin, nestled in South Gippsland, Victoria.

This Week

Architecture

A Home In Three (Tiny) Parts

Atelier Chen Hung blasts open the idea of micro-living, with a literal hole in the middle of this tiny home!
Miriam McGarry

Lighting

A Leading Lighting Designer Transforms An Underground Carpark

British product designer Lee Broom creates a breathtaking installation in the carpark of Space Furniture in Sydney – and it’s only open

News

Thomas Coward And Fiona Lynch Bring A Greek Marble Quarry To Collingwood

An exhibition that honours the ancient materials used in Artedomus’ ground-breaking furniture collection, New Volumes.
Sally Tabart

Architecture

A Bright, Breezy Addition Tucked Into A Beloved Home

The Annexe House by Bent Architecture in Pascoe Vale South, inspired by good old fashioned caravan holidays!
Miriam McGarry

Studio Visit

The Self-Taught Painter Inspired By His Ethiopian Heritage

We visit Afro-Norwegian artist Olana Janfa in his Thornbury garden-shed studio, who paints to connect with his history and culture.
Sally Tabart
  14 hours ago

Art

5 Standout Installations At Melbourne's Newest Gallery

Corbett Lyon guides us though Lyon Housemuseum Galleries' inaugural exhibition, unveiling new works by Australia's contemporary art trailbla...
Elle Murrell

Get A Good Night's Sleep, With These Top 10 Bed Linen Brands

Celebrating World Sleep Day (today!) with top tips for a good night's sleep, from ten of the best bed linen brands.

News

Don't Miss The 'My General Store' Pop-Up This Weekend

Melbournians, you’ve got one day only to have an IRL try on of these Australian made designs in natural fabrics.
Miriam McGarry

Travel

A Micro Hotel Room Inside An Upcycled Shipping Container

A pop-up hotel on a tiny footprint, touring Victorian wineries the autumn!

Architecture

Making Mid-Century Modern Again

The rejuvenated 'Fig Tree Pocket' 60’s House by Bligh Graham Architects, in Brisbane.
Lucy Feagins
  4 hours ago

News

Coco Flip’s New Collection Is A Celebration Of Australian Craftsmanship

Combining timber, glass, and ceramics, Honey is a collaborative feat!

News

A Rare Insight Into The Life Of Design Legend Dieter Rams

ACMI presents the Australian premiere of Rams, a documentary about one of the modern world’s most important design icons.
Sally Tabart
  3 hours ago

Food

Ella Mittas' Zesty Potato Salad With Pesto

Ella Mittas' Greek-inspired potato salad, with zesty lemon, roast almonds and a flavour-packed fresh pesto.
Ella Mittas
  6 hours ago

Interior Design

The Stella Collective's Award-Winning Interiors, From Palestine to Brisbane

Meet Hana Hakim the founder of a Melbourne interior design studio creating WOW-factor projects, both here and abroad.
Elle Murrell

Art

A New Direction For A Much-Loved Landscape Painter

Belynda Henry’s forthcoming exhibition, ‘Reflections’, is a bold new collection of oil-on-canvas landscapes.
Elle Murrell

Similar Stories

Homes

A Photographer + Stylist's Vibrant Family Home

Derek Swalwell and Georgia Young’s Renovated 1960’s Home.

Architecture

An A-Frame On The Top Of The World

A tiny, off-the-grid cabin in rural New South Wales with breathtaking views.

Homes

A Handcrafted Cabin In Gippsland

Interior designer Andrea Moore’s contemporary rural country cabin, nestled in South Gippsland, Victoria.