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

An Out Of The Ordinary Beach House in Phillip Island

Architecture

Casa X by Branch Studio Architects is unlike any other home in Phillip Island, and that’s just the way architect Brad Wray likes it.

Rather than adopting the local housing vernacular, the studio’s co-founder and creative director set out to test the possibilities of a residential space, by experimenting with spatial planning.

It’s a large house, (being located on what was previously two vacant blocks) but Casa X is an example of how to meaningfully and sensitively respond to site and context. 

10th February, 2020

Casa X by Branch Studio Architects is a U-shaped home surrounding a courtyard. Photo – Peter Clarke

A combination of natural Australian blackbutt and Tasmanian oak timbers in the interiors. Photo – Peter Clark

A study sits before the living domain. Photo – Peter Clarke

The roofline of the home changes throughout to suit the intimacy of the space. Photo – Peter Clarke

Floor-to-ceiling glass windows in the hallway. Photo – Peter Clarke

The interiors draw on the client’s love of Moroccan architecture that plays with light and dark qualities. Photo – Peter Clarke

Raw grey concrete floors and walls contrast with a singular handmade tile band in the bathroom. Photo – Peter Clarke

The vertically-orientated blackbutt timber lining boards in the courtyard enhance the relationship of the space to a nearby gum tree. Photo – Peter Clarke

The primary builder of Casa X was Anthony Johns; early concrete ground works by Jarrod Henzen; structural engineering by OPS Engineers; building surveyor was Michel Group Building Surveyors; landscape consultant was Orchard Design; arborist consultant was Jardine Johnstone. Photo – Peter Clarke

 A dune scape at the property’s north boundary separates it from the beach. Photo – Peter Clarke

Amelia Barnes
Monday 10th February 2020

‘What I really wanted was the house to be a good example of how to meaningfully and sensitively respond to site and context.’ – Brad Wray

Architect Brad Wray’s vision for this Phillip Island house was a respectful design, celebrating the surrounding landscape. The co-founder and creative director of Branch Studio Architects explains, ‘The area is a fairly eclectic mix of strange styles. There are some nice ‘60s coastal fibre-cement bungalows, but the majority of houses are brick veneer… so I couldn’t have cared less about the design of the house fitting in with the surrounding houses. What I really wanted was the house to be a good example of how to meaningfully and sensitively respond to site and context, even at a larger scale.’

Working with a huge amalgamated block (over 1700 square metres), Brad set out to test the possibilities of what a residential space looks like, by designing various ‘moments’ throughout. This desire was partially driven by the client’s love of Moroccan architecture that plays with light and dark qualities. ‘I like the fact the house in moments has the qualities of a cathedral-like space, then in other moments has the openness of a public art gallery, then, just a couple of metres away, a low-compressed, residual space like a nook in a library where one can curl up and read a book’ Brad says. The integration of a varied roofline with pop-up skylights throughout helps achieve this effect.

The floorplan of the home was devised as three separate wings – one housing the main bedroom, one with the guest wing, and the other containing the main living areas. These wings open to a central courtyard, with a deck and pool facing sand dunes on the property’s north boundary. 

A combination of Australian spotted gum with red and black Colorbond cladding on the exterior references black volcanic granite rocks near the home, which build up with a reddish, coarse sediment over time. ‘We were able to achieve a really nice warm silvery brown-black which still exposes a great deal of the timbers natural grain. It has a really nice organic quality,’ Brad says. ‘The house has been designed to be almost silhouetted in the landscape. It will age gracefully, and grey more and more into the landscape with time.’

This Week

Gardens

A WOW-Factor 'Secret Garden' In Blairgowrie

Ian Barker Gardens creates a private outdoor sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula.

Studio Visit

Two Best Friends' Lockdown Hobby Turned Cult Candle Business

Creative entrepreneurs Ruby Kannava and Emma Cutri pooled their respective small business knowledge to found Blazed Wax - a colourful, cult-...

On The Market

A Light + Bright Beachside Home Hits The Market

This property in Sunrise Beach, Noosa is a full time home that feels like a holiday home - and it’s ready for new inhabitants!

Interiors

A Joyful Home, Full Of Whimsy + Glamour

Scalloped edges and vibrant colours have elevated this Sydney terrace by Arent&Pyke.
Amelia Barnes
  1 hour ago

News

The TDF ‘ALL THE THINGS’ 500k Giveaway!

Help us celebrate half a million (!) Insta followers with epic prize packs for three lucky readers! 

TDF Design Awards

The Sensational Interior Design Finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021!

The 12 incredible residential projects in the running to win the Interior Design award at the TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021, presented by...

Interiors

Get The Look: Dark + Moody Bathrooms And Kitchens

All the product and styling advice you need to achieve the dark, moody bathrooms and kitchen interiors trend, brought to you Oliveri.

Interiors

A Glam ’60s-Inspired Makeover For A Drab Suburban Home

Kaiko Design transform a forgettable suburban space into a ritzy family residence, with big personality!

Homes

A Designer’s 1970s Bells Beach Dream Home!

The incredible eclectic home of interior designer Léo Terrando and Jessica Watts, on Victoria's surf coast.

News

Get Luxe Designer Furniture For Up To 15% Off!

Designer furniture retailer DOMO is discounting in-stock and custom items from HC28 + HC28 Cosmopolitan.
Sponsored
51:47

Podcast

Country Road’s Managing Director On The Stickiness Of Sustainable Fashion, On TDF Talks

In this podcast conversation, Elle Roseby talks leading one of the country’s most iconic brands through a new age in the fashion industry....

Interiors

A Colour-Drenched, 'Grandmillennial' Home In North Sydney

Bold colour, and both English and Moroccan influences come together in this North Sydney home by Lisa Burdus.

Architecture

A Modernist-Inspired Seaside Home

This adaptable, Victorian seaside home designed by Nest Architects and Placement blurs the line between modernism and contemporary design. ...

Architecture

Everything You Need To Know About Working With An Architect

Four of Australia's best architects answer your frequently asked questions, from what an architect does, to how much they cost!

News

Shop These Plush Woollen Rugs And Get A Special TDF Discount!

Carpet Court’s customisable rug range is made with 100% New Zealand wool and can be cut to suit the size, shape and colour of your interio...
Sponsored

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Home That Blends Seamlessly Into Its Bushy Surrounds

Built around rammed earth wall, 'Yellowgums' by Josh Crosbie Architects is thoughtfully designed around its natural environment.

Architecture

Is This Australia's Answer to Palm Springs' Iconic Kaufmann House?

A seriously impressive home in Toowoomba, Queensland by Shaun Lockyer Architects, inspired by mid-century architecture.

Architecture

A Sculptural Home Inspired By The Hepburn Landscape

A distinctive Corten-clad house designed by Robert Nichol and Sons, just outside Hepburn, Victoria.
Amelia Barnes

This Week

Interiors

A Glam ’60s-Inspired Makeover For A Drab Suburban Home

Kaiko Design transform a forgettable suburban space into a ritzy family residence, with big personality!

Interiors

A Colour-Drenched, 'Grandmillennial' Home In North Sydney

Bold colour, and both English and Moroccan influences come together in this North Sydney home by Lisa Burdus.

News

Shop These Plush Woollen Rugs And Get A Special TDF Discount!

Carpet Court’s customisable rug range is made with 100% New Zealand wool and can be cut to suit the size, shape and colour of your interio...
Sponsored

News

Get Luxe Designer Furniture For Up To 15% Off!

Designer furniture retailer DOMO is discounting in-stock and custom items from HC28 + HC28 Cosmopolitan.
Sponsored

On The Market

A Light + Bright Beachside Home Hits The Market

This property in Sunrise Beach, Noosa is a full time home that feels like a holiday home - and it’s ready for new inhabitants!

News

The TDF ‘ALL THE THINGS’ 500k Giveaway!

Help us celebrate half a million (!) Insta followers with epic prize packs for three lucky readers! 

TDF Design Awards

The Sensational Interior Design Finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021!

The 12 incredible residential projects in the running to win the Interior Design award at the TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021, presented by...

Architecture

Everything You Need To Know About Working With An Architect

Four of Australia's best architects answer your frequently asked questions, from what an architect does, to how much they cost!

Interiors

Get The Look: Dark + Moody Bathrooms And Kitchens

All the product and styling advice you need to achieve the dark, moody bathrooms and kitchen interiors trend, brought to you Oliveri.

Gardens

A WOW-Factor 'Secret Garden' In Blairgowrie

Ian Barker Gardens creates a private outdoor sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula.

Homes

A Designer’s 1970s Bells Beach Dream Home!

The incredible eclectic home of interior designer Léo Terrando and Jessica Watts, on Victoria's surf coast.

Interiors

A Joyful Home, Full Of Whimsy + Glamour

Scalloped edges and vibrant colours have elevated this Sydney terrace by Arent&Pyke.
Amelia Barnes
  1 hour ago

Architecture

A Modernist-Inspired Seaside Home

This adaptable, Victorian seaside home designed by Nest Architects and Placement blurs the line between modernism and contemporary design. ...

Studio Visit

Two Best Friends' Lockdown Hobby Turned Cult Candle Business

Creative entrepreneurs Ruby Kannava and Emma Cutri pooled their respective small business knowledge to found Blazed Wax - a colourful, cult-...
51:47

Podcast

Country Road’s Managing Director On The Stickiness Of Sustainable Fashion, On TDF Talks

In this podcast conversation, Elle Roseby talks leading one of the country’s most iconic brands through a new age in the fashion industry....

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Home That Blends Seamlessly Into Its Bushy Surrounds

'Yellowgums' by Josh Crosbie Architects is thoughtfully designed around its natural environment.

Architecture

Is This Australia's Answer to Palm Springs' Iconic Kaufmann House?

A seriously impressive home in Queensland by Shaun Lockyer Architects, inspired by mid-century architecture.

Architecture

A Sculptural Home Inspired By The Hepburn Landscape

A distinctive Corten-clad house designed by Robert Nichol and Sons, just outside Hepburn, Victoria.
Amelia Barnes

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.