Seeley Architects found themselves bestowed with an aspirational and exciting brief. The Torquay-based practice was tasked with designing a two-storey home set among rolling hills, olive groves and majestic gum trees, just outside Kyneton in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges.
The project’s picturesque site, however, presented David Seeley with a few issues to address: annual temperatures at the property range from sub-zero to 45°C, it’s a bushfire prone district, and it had no permanent water supply. Clients Deb and Tony were keen to embrace this harsh-yet-stunning environment and for their home, and to foster a sense of intimacy with the area, especially its spectacular sunsets and the abundant wildlife – kangaroos actually ‘mow’ their lawn!
Lauriston House ‘simultaneously buries into and leaps from the landscape,’ architect David evocatively describes. A predominately glazed structural frame, with undulating canopy roof, clear structural rhythm and use of recycled natural materials, the building ‘touches its site lightly’ and emphasises the natural lay of the land.
A semi-subterranean first-level comprises a carport, laundry, cellar and storage, while upstairs hosts the main living zones. Here, public and private spaces are arranged on either side of a centrally located alfresco entrance. To the east, bedrooms connect to the garden, with garden beds mimicking the lines of the statement roof. To the west, living areas with floor-to-ceiling windows, and a deck cantilever over the site, offering magnificent views.
The concept for the interior palette champions local materials and textures – messmate timber linings follow the twists of the ceiling, complemented by wide messmate and bluestone (inspired by the colonial footpaths of Piper Street in Kyneton) on the floors.
In terms of liveability, the rural residence also utilises considered energy and rainwater catchments systems, to ensure it will be comfortable and cost-effective into the future.
The outcome really is impressive considering this ‘country house’ was new territory for Seeley Architects, who have previously only worked on coastal homes. Tackling something new provided ‘a kickstart of energy… and motivated us immensely,’ David recalls. ‘I think this is evident in the spirit of this finished home’. For all its wow-factor, Lauriston House respects and enhances its environment, offering retreat and respite, as well as atmospheric spaces for gathering at home among the gum trees!