A Revitalised Barwon Heads Boat Shack

From the street view, this holiday home has the familiar appearance of beachside weatherboard home. But, through a clever renovation by Irons McDuff Architecture, it’s been brought into the ‘now’ with the addition of a new pavilion.

Architect Kim Irons describes using the materials and architectural forms of the past to inform the present, in a light-filled home that is designed to age gracefully – and isn’t afraid of sandy floors!

Lucy Feagins

In the garden of the ‘Barwon Heads House II’ by Irons McDuff. Photo – Nikole Ramsay.

The living space. Photo – Nikole Ramsay.

The dining area looking out to lush landscaping. Photo – Nikole Ramsay.

Beach house details. Photo – Nikole Ramsay.

The bright, open kitchen. Photo – Nikole Ramsay.

Photo – Nikole Ramsay.

The bathroom. Photo – Nikole Ramsay.

Photo – Nikole Ramsay.

Lucy Feagins
26th of November 2018

When Kim Irons, of Irons McDuff Architecture, was first engaged to work on this Barwon Heads property, she was faced with converting a boat shack-turned-cottage into a light-filled and relaxed holiday home. The owners (who were also the builders!) wanted the space to feel cosy for two, yet spacious enough for 14, in a retreat that celebrated its surrounds and history.

Kim explains ‘the original cottage was retained, with a new pavilion connected to the rear via a glass link/study.’ The pre-existing dwelling has been converted to provide space for the bedrooms, amenities and a flexible multi-use space that can accommodate overnight guests, while the new addition offers dining and cooking area for dinner parties and summer barbeques.

Beachy white weatherboards and internal lining boards were retained in the cottage, in contrast to the new build, which introduces new and complementary materials to the site. Natural Shiplap timber was selected to silver over time and blend with the landscape. A glass corridor/study connects the old and new segments of the home and draws in the surrounding landscape.

While the transition between cottage and pavilion appears seamless, the renovation was not without difficulty. As if often the case with old houses, demolition works revealed a few unconventional techniques from the original builder, which made for a challenging renovation process. ‘In comparison to reworking the original cottage, the new extension was a walk in the park’ Kim recalls.

This sunlit property now performs all the functions you could hope for in a holiday home – with adequate space for quiet seclusion, yet a strong sense of connection for daily activities and shared meals. A summer breeze flows through the whole property, connecting the updated cottage with the new pavilion.

Recent Architecture