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

A Family’s Former Beach Cabin Turned Stunning Holiday Home

Architecture

A Palm Beach site with spectacular water views deserves an equally stunning home, and Benn + Penna Architecture have created a property to behold – with a surprisingly light touch on the surrounding landscape.

This home replaces a small cabin previously on site built by the owner’s previous generation, creating what’s now a holiday house shared by multiple families on a rotating roster!

 

27th April, 2020

This house by Benn + Penna Architecture is located on a waterfront site in Sydney’s Palm Beach. Photo – Tom Ferguson

Central to the design is an existing and extended stone terrace, which effectively establishes an elevated platform for the new home. Photo – Andrew Benn

The house adopts two distinct forms across two storeys – a platform and a timber canopy – deliberately distinguished to intensify their respective functions.  Photo – Andrew Benn

The living space is contained beneath the upper element, framed by the canopy’s gently arcing underbelly.  Photo – Tom Ferguson

The clients were seeking a comfortable and relaxed experience, without conflicting with the natural beauty of the site. Photo – Katherine Lu

Large doors enable this space to be entirely open or closed as required. Photo – Katherine Lu

Stone and wood are the key materials of the project, continuing the palette of the former cabin on site. Photo – Tom Ferguson

Photo – Katherine Lu

The timber canopy is the main building mass of the house, containing four bedrooms and a ‘bunk room’. Photos – Tom Ferguson

The use of pale blue on the facade and some interior walls is a nod to the previous cabin on site. Photo – Tom Ferguson

The holiday house is now shared by multiple families on a rotating roster. Photo – Katherine Lu

Andrew Benn says this home is best understood as drawing from the landscape, enabling the occupants to immerse themselves into their surroundings. Photo – Katherine Lu

The new house makes the most of its incredible water views. Photos – Andrew Benn

As Australia’s coastlines become increasingly more developed, Benn + Penna hopes this house can act as a blueprint of appropriate design. Photo – Andrew Benn

Amelia Barnes
Monday 27th April 2020

‘The charm of this project is in its interplay between distinct roof and platform elements.’ – Andrew Benn

For decades, this site with undisrupted water views in Sydney’s Northern Beaches sat almost empty, hosting only a small, post-war beach cabin. The owners of the block had a long family history in the area (their ancestors were those who built the original cabin) and wanted to honour this heritage, but with a house that could accommodate ongoing family holidays, on a rotating roster. 

Benn + Penna Architecture were brought on to design the project, retaining and drawing on elements of the original cabin and surrounding landscape in their response. Central to the design is the existing and extended stone terrace, which effectively establishes an elevated platform for the new home, allowing it to emerge almost seamlessly from the cliff face. ‘The existing platform is built with great sensitivity to the landscape and its natural surroundings, with a strong history and presence on the site, making it a great backbone for architectural composition and concept,’ says Andrew Benn, director of Benn + Penna Architecture. 

The actual house adopts two distinct forms across two storeys – a platform and a timber canopy – deliberately distinguished to intensify their respective functions. The timber canopy is the main building mass, containing four bedrooms and a ‘bunk room’, and punctured by voids to channel light and air throughout. 

The living space is contained beneath this upper element, framed by the canopy’s gently arcing underbelly. Large doors enable this space to be entirely open or closed, allowing versatility as required. ‘To me, the charm of this project is in its interplay between distinct roof and platform elements, which frame a space between horizontally sliding planes and sculpted spaces,’ says Andrew.

The use of pale blue on the facade and some interior walls is a nod to the previous cabin on site, as is the broader materials palette, composed predominantly stone and wood. 

Andrew says this home is best understood as drawing from the landscape, enabling the occupants to immerse themselves into their surroundings. ‘The restrained architectural form and deliberately modest built imprint ensures the client’s requirements for a comfortable and relaxed holiday experience don’t conflict with the natural beauty of the site,’ he says. As Australia’s coastlines become increasingly more developed, Benn + Penna hopes this house can act as a blueprint of appropriate design.

This Week

On The Market

A Handball Court Turned Architect’s Residence Hits The Market!

An 1860s building converted into a home in the 1970s by architect John Mockridge is for sale in Carlton.

Art

TDF Collect Presents ‘Different Sorta Colour’ – An Online Exhibition

Get to know the five artists in our Indigenous group art exhibition, 'Different Sorta Colour'. Sales are open now!

Gardens

A Suburban Backyard Transformed Into A Lush Garden Retreat

Mud Office complements a modern Ivanhoe extension with this magnificent green retreat!
Sasha Gattermayr

Interiors

A Mid-Century Inspired Prefab Extension!

Modscape design a modular extension to suit a mid-century Elsternwick house.

Architecture

An Extraordinary Transformation For This Heritage Sandstone Home

A dilapidated 1870's home in Sydney's Balmain East is restored and extended, with a new concrete addition by Benn + Penna Architecture.

News

A Free Virtual Art Fair Is Coming!

Melbourne Art Fair unveils a digital program of free exhibitions, studio tours + panel events!
Sponsored

Architecture

A Small Footprint, Japanese-Inspired Home in Sydney

The architect-owner used traditional machiya architecture to enhance the efficiency of this small house!
Sasha Gattermayr

Interiors

'High-Low’ Home Styling Done Right, With Lauren Li

Our interior design columnist shows us how to pair investment pieces with simple, great value furniture options - in a way that makes the mo...
Lauren Li

Architecture

A Contemporary Farmhouse In Suburban Melbourne!

MRTN Architects design a farmhouse suitable for suburbia in Melbourne's Fairfield!

Homes

A Renovated Blue Mountains Home With Soul

A rundown fibro house in the Blue Mountains transformed into a joyful home for a family of six!

Shopping

10 Of The Best Blankets To Get You Through Winter

Feeling the cold this week? Us too. Layer up with a cosy new blanket by one of these (mostly local!) brands.
Sasha Gattermayr

Gardens

A Majestic Restoration For A Legendary Heritage Garden

This 150-year-old garden in Deepdene is listed on the National Trust and is rumoured to have been originally designed by the creator of the
Sasha Gattermayr

On The Market

An Interior Designer’s 1930s South Yarra Home Is Up For Sale!

One of South Yarra’s tightly held 1930s homes has hit the market, featuring a masterful renovation by its interior designer owner.

Shopping

Bespoke Terrazzo Furniture From Mortadello

The Melbourne-based one-man-show handmaking cold-cut terrazzo furniture in every colour.
Sasha Gattermayr

Interiors

The Best Australian Interiors Announced!

The Australian Interior Design Awards 2020 winners are revealed.
Sasha Gattermayr

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

Brazilian + Mediterranean Design Influences Combine In This Ultra Glam Sydney Home!

Two architecture practices, an interior design firm, and a landscape designer come together to update this incredible 1960s home!
Amelia Barnes

Architecture

An All-Seasons Beach House Designed For The Whole Family

Inside Whiting Architects' Dunes house – a beach house to suit up to 14 family members and all weather conditions!

Architecture

A Palm Springs-Inspired Oasis In Suburban Sydney

This renovated mid-century home in Vaucluse by Nick Bell Architects brings the WOW-factor!
Miriam McGarry

This Week

News

A Free Virtual Art Fair Is Coming!

Melbourne Art Fair unveils a digital program of free exhibitions, studio tours + panel events!
Sponsored

Interiors

'High-Low’ Home Styling Done Right, With Lauren Li

Our interior design columnist shows us how to pair investment pieces with simple, great value furniture options - in a way that makes the mo...
Lauren Li

Architecture

A Small Footprint, Japanese-Inspired Home in Sydney

The architect-owner used traditional machiya architecture to enhance the efficiency of this small house!
Sasha Gattermayr

Gardens

A Suburban Backyard Transformed Into A Lush Garden Retreat

Mud Office complements a modern Ivanhoe extension with this magnificent green retreat!
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Contemporary Farmhouse In Suburban Melbourne!

MRTN Architects design a farmhouse suitable for suburbia in Melbourne's Fairfield!

Art

TDF Collect Presents ‘Different Sorta Colour’ – An Online Exhibition

Get to know the five artists in our Indigenous group art exhibition, 'Different Sorta Colour'. Sales are open now!

Shopping

Bespoke Terrazzo Furniture From Mortadello

The Melbourne-based one-man-show handmaking cold-cut terrazzo furniture in every colour.
Sasha Gattermayr

Gardens

A Majestic Restoration For A Legendary Heritage Garden

This 150-year-old garden in Deepdene is listed on the National Trust and is rumoured to have been originally designed by the creator of the
Sasha Gattermayr

Interiors

The Best Australian Interiors Announced!

The Australian Interior Design Awards 2020 winners are revealed.
Sasha Gattermayr

Interiors

A Mid-Century Inspired Prefab Extension!

Modscape design a modular extension to suit a mid-century Elsternwick house.

Shopping

10 Of The Best Blankets To Get You Through Winter

Feeling the cold this week? Us too. Layer up with a cosy new blanket by one of these (mostly local!) brands.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

An Extraordinary Transformation For This Heritage Sandstone Home

A dilapidated 1870's home in Sydney's Balmain East is restored and extended, with a new concrete addition by Benn + Penna Architecture.

On The Market

A Handball Court Turned Architect’s Residence Hits The Market!

An 1860s building converted into a home in the 1970s by architect John Mockridge is for sale in Carlton.

Homes

A Renovated Blue Mountains Home With Soul

A rundown fibro house in the Blue Mountains transformed into a joyful home for a family of six!

On The Market

An Interior Designer’s 1930s South Yarra Home Is Up For Sale!

One of South Yarra’s tightly held 1930s homes has hit the market, featuring a masterful renovation by its interior designer owner.

Similar Stories

Architecture

Brazilian + Mediterranean Design Influences Combine In This Ultra Glam Sydney Home!

Two architecture practices, an interior design firm, and a landscape designer come together to update this incredible 1960s home!
Amelia Barnes

Architecture

An All-Seasons Beach House Designed For The Whole Family

Inside Whiting Architects' Dunes house – a beach house to suit up to 14 family members!

Architecture

A Palm Springs-Inspired Oasis In Suburban Sydney

This renovated mid-century home in Vaucluse by Nick Bell Architects brings the WOW-factor!
Miriam McGarry