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This Japanese-Inspired Beach Shack Feels Like A Grown-Up Cubbyhouse!

Architecture

In contrast to the palatial, breezy renovations of some of the coastal weekenders we often feature, this beautiful beach house by Curious Practice is more like a grown-up cubby house!

Pared back to only the most essential elements, this cosy yet utilitarian home is full of surprises, such as retractable screens and sheets (!) used as room dividers in place of doors, and views of lush greenery in unexpected places.

20th April, 2020

The communal kitchen, dining and living space is the hub of the house! Photo – Katherine Lu.

Restrained decor and blond wood echoes principles of Japanese minimalism. Photo – Katherine Lu.

At times, it doesn’t even look like a beach house! Photo – Katherine Lu.

Plywood and raw finishes gives the beach house an industrial, grown-up cubby house feel. Photo – Katherine Lu.

The whole house maximises platforms and corners to  separate rooms. Photo – Katherine Lu.

The bathroom looks almost like an Aesop store, with its exposed copper piping, bench tops made from shards of finished timber and slick brushed concrete. Photo – Katherine Lu.

Atop a timber platform, a simple bedroom lies at the end of a long corridor. Photo – Katherine Lu.

No doors allowed! Sweeping curtain act as dividers instead to make the space feel open but private. Photo – Katherine Lu.

Like all good beach houses, you have to let the outside in! Photo – Katherine Lu.

Industrial-style materials wrap the exterior. Photo – Katherine Lu.

The holiday home looks like a residential masterpiece from the outside, not a beach house! Photo – Katherine Lu.

The house and garden blend into one another. Photo – Katherine Lu.

The leftover carport space has been turned into an indoor garden! Photo – Katherine Lu.

From the exterior, you can see how the communal section of the house floats above the carport! Photo – Katherine Lu.

Sasha Gattermayr
Monday 20th April 2020

The whole house is ‘open but private’ at all opportunities, using retractable screens and sheets rather than doors to divide rooms, and maximising platforms and corners for their angular properties.

Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto’s concept of the ‘primitive future’ describes the moments where, in a flash of creative certainty, we return to the most instinctual and intuitive ideas. It’s this theory that inspired architect, Warren Hasnoot, of Curious Practice when he embarked on the designs for this Newcastle beach house last year.

‘All materials we used we wanted to be raw and in their finished state,’ he explains, highlighting the blond plywood boards and compressed cement sheeting he used to transform the two-bedroom dwelling into a contemporary beach house. These materials create a warm and textured palette throughout, but also make the interior durable to all kinds of coastal wear and tear.

The bathroom looks almost like an Aesop store, with its exposed copper piping, bench tops made from shards of finished timber and slick brushed concrete. Small, perfectly fitted pennyround tiles contrast with the large, uninterrupted sheets of ply, lending a uniform detail to the washroom.

The whole house is ‘open but private’ at all opportunities, using retractable screens and sheets rather than doors to divide rooms. Views of lush greenery pop up in unexpected places throughout the house (in the carport underneath, through the slats concealing the outdoor staircase, and above the shower!) to create a crucial sense of connection with the landscape.

While taking advantage of the surrounding natural beauty, Warren and his team were also challenged by some environmental concerns – specifically, the chance of flooding in extreme weather. In response, the bedrooms were designed to sit on a raised plywood platform. As is often the way, though, this most difficult part of the build turned out to be the architect’s favourite! ‘The space under the bedrooms was almost leftover, but has become a beautiful outdoor room for the grandkids to play and connect with the garden.’

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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.

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