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A Luxury Beach House Atop The Sand Dunes In Blairgowrie

Architecture

If it weren’t for the sweeping ocean views and untamed landscape visible through this house’s gargantuan glazing, you would think it was placed comfortably in an inner-city suburb. In fact, the slick modern construction hovers at a covetable point on the Mornington Peninsula, with rare views over both Bass Strait and Port Phillip Bay!

But the problem with both north and south facing aspects? The elements have no mercy. Planned Living Architects took on this sturdy, challenging build with gusto, delivering a perfectly balanced beachside sanctuary that protects its inhabitants from the wild and woolly seaside weather.

4th May, 2020

From the outside you can see the balance between the two dominant materials: glass and concrete! Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Builder – Made Build.

Nature enters at every possible vantage point. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

Columns of glass provide a telescope from end of the house to the other. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

Timber and glass balance out the density of the concrete. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

A restrained contemporary palette give this sanctuary a calming and serene ambience. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

Views over the tea tree-shrouded landscape allow the upper levels to float above the coastline. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

Those views…. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

Large-scale, extensive glazing wraps the house. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

If it wasn’t for the ocean views, you’d think this contemporary dwelling was in an inner-city suburb! Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

The interiors are spatious and serene. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

The generous kitchen and dining space. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

A butler’s pantry! Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

The open plan living spaces allow for optimum exposure to natural light. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

Functions are concealed in nooks and crannies to ensure the interiors are seamless, and easy to pack away! Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

A chair beside the hearth. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

This spot would be cosy and delightful, no matter the weather! Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

There are even large glass windows in the bathroom! Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

When you can’t see the landscape, why not let a little bit of it inside? Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

Exquisite timber cabinetry details. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

A very good-looking bath. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

Sunlight filters into the bedroom. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

A sunny view on the north-facing deck! Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Builder – Made Build.

The outdoor dining area. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Interior Design – Studio Tom. Builder – Made Build.

The glass connects the inhabitants to nature, which creeps up right to the front door. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Builder – Made Build.

Native landscaping by Acre Studio cascades down to the pool. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Builder – Made Build.

A decadent pool overlooking the ocean. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Builder – Made Build.

The Mornington Peninsula sprawls beyond the infinity pool. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Stylist – Natalie James. Builder – Made Build.

The beach-facing side of the dwelling is just as spectacular as the view to the coastline! Photo – Derek Swalwell. Builder – Made Build.

The path to the beach. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The house peeks out over the sand dunes. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Sasha Gattermayr
Monday 4th May 2020

‘First and foremost the vision was to create a sense of place, protection and relaxation.’ – Jay Earles, Director of Planned Living Architects

Balancing tranquility with stone cold functionality is a careful and precarious task. But that’s the paradox of nature too, sometimes harsh and sometimes forgiving, yet somehow always sublime. The same goes for this unyielding beach house in Blairgowrie, which braves the elements with both rigour and respect.

Planned Living Architects approached the brief by first embracing the challenging position. ‘The raw and exposed location was the catalyst for the design,’ says director, Jay Earles. The site is so exposed to the elements that something sturdy and durable was needed to withstand the weathered vantage point. ‘First and foremost the vision was to create a sense of place, protection and relaxation for the inhabitants.’ It was to be a sanctuary, not a bunker.

Despite the ruggedness of the coastline and the need for protection from the weather, both the client and architects wanted to highlight the natural beauty of tea-tree shrouded landscape and sublime ocean views. Extensive, large-scale windows enable sweeping natural views in all directions, so a seamless connection to the outdoors can be knit together with clever zoning and spatial planning.

Shielding the dwelling from the elements is a palette of robust concrete, that blankets the house both inside and out, while blond timber balances its potentially overwhelming density. The prime example of this monolithic material is the 8-metre high concrete blade wall at the entry, while required complex engineering and a lot of on-site planning between the architects and builders (Made Build) for its installation. Alongside Made Build, landscape architects ACRE Studio tamed the wild surrounds on the block and interior designers Studio Tom conceptualised the contemporary interiors.

The end result here is a home with a stoic, strong presence, that embraces its rugged surroundings with a surprising sense of serenity. As Jay describes, this is a home that offers ‘the simultaneous feeling of exposure provided by the southern aspect of Bass Strait, in contrast to the feeling of warmth and protection offered on the sunny northern decks overlooking the Peninsula and beyond.’

 

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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.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net