The Perfect Red Hill Retreat

Once a humble ‘chook farm’ consisting of multiple buildings scattered across sprawling site, Templeton Architecture have transformed this once agricultural property into a cohesive family retreat.

Emma Templeton walks us through the ‘Sybil’ property, which artfully balances country charm and contemporary refinement.

Miriam McGarry
Supports The Design Files

Welcome to the ‘Sybil’ property in Red Hill by Templeton Architecture, with K&G Construction. Photo – Ben Hosking.

Plenty of room for entertaining. Photo – Ben Hosking.

A space for daydreaming. Photo – Ben Hosking.

A refined and natural palette. Photo – Ben Hosking.

Muted tones that reflect the surrounding environment. Photo – Ben Hosking.

A kitchen with room to cater for big gatherings. Photo – Ben Hosking.

Dreamy bath views. Photo – Ben Hosking.

A light and elegant bathroom. Photo – Ben Hosking.

Can you believe this used to be a chook shed. Photo – Ben Hosking.

Serene bedroom vibes. Photo – Ben Hosking.

The property has sprawling views. Photo – Ben Hosking.

Miriam McGarry
16th of October 2019

The Sybil house in Red Hill by Templeton Architecture connects a series of buildings across a picturesque site that looks over rolling hills and the glittering sea. The property was designed to be an escape for family and friends, and in architect Emma Templeton’s words, a place to ‘bring loved ones together.’

Emma explains that she and her team have worked with this client several times, and so developed a good understanding of the aesthetic tastes and functional requirements of the family over the years. This provided a solid starting point for this ambitious project, that was ‘one of an ever-expanding nature.’ The initial brief was to make small adjustments to the existing buildings on site, before the scope of the renovations grew to match the the client’s increasing love of spending time there. Emma highlights ‘as the client’s love for the property took hold, it became the focus of their leisure time and a place they dearly wanted to share.’

The property was originally a ‘chook farm’ and consisted of multiple buildings and dams scattered across the expansive site. Emma explains ‘we needed to connect the disparate spaces, both the buildings and external experiences, to create new opportunities and enhance the relationship with the rural location.’ The pitched roof also reflects the form of the original building, and echoes the silhouette of many surrounding properties.

After careful consideration, the architects selected a palette of raw and robust materials, which also delicately relate to the environmental context. ‘We have carefully framed the landscape, providing visual context to each building and space’ Emma describes. Inside, the rammed earth walls provide a refined and understated warmth, and a direct connection to the landscape.

The main dwelling is the primary residence for the family, while the surrounding cluster accommodates a rolling parade of guests. For Emma, while each element of the property is beautiful, the success of the project is in the overall atmosphere, as an ‘inviting, generous and relaxing space.’

Once ‘Sybil’ was complete, the client sent Emma an extract of Gaston Bachelard’s book ‘The Poetics of Space’, reflecting on how Templeton Architecture had managed to create spaces that allow he and his family to daydream. Who would have thought there was so much poetry to be brought to life in an old chook shed!

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