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 Light-Filled Forever Home With A Uniquely Australian Outlook

Architecture

A sloping site, with two gigantic gum trees right in the centre mightn’t see like the ideal block to build on, but in the case of this home in South Australia’s McLaren Vale wine region, the dramatic appeal of those towering trees far outweighed the challenges they presented.

The ‘Sugar Gum House’ by Architects Ink is designed around the trees, offering unbelievable leafy views from every angle of the home.  The result is a stunning, yet surprisingly understated architectural home, with a distinctly Australian outlook.

18th August, 2020

The kitchen looks out onto the landscape through the wall of west-facing glass that stretches end-to-end. Photo – Sam Noonan.

A covered concrete balcony sits on the northern end of the structure, making the most of the day-long sun. Photo – Sam Noonan.

The upper level houses the communal kitchen, living and dining spaces. Photo – Sam Noonan.

The master bedroom. Photo – Sam Noonan.

The master bathroom. Photo – Sam Noonan.

A simple material palette was essential to provide a backdrop to the art and furniture collections, as well as drawing attention to the spectacular landscape views. Photo – Sam Noonan.

The study sits on the bottom floor and opens to the garden. Photo – Sam Noonan.

Owing to the sloping site the house looks humble from the streetfront. A large custom glass door revolves on a pivot. Photo – Sam Noonan.

The house sits behind two ancient sugar gum trees. Photo – Sam Noonan.

Sasha Gattermayr
Tuesday 18th August 2020

‘The aim was to build a light-filled house which integrates passive thermal principles, while capturing the magnificent view over the McLaren Vale region to the sea beyond.’ – Tony Lippis, director and architect

The Sugar Gum House by Architects Ink is located in Willunga, a South Australian town neighbouring the famed McLaren Vale wine region. As its name would suggest, the house is designed around two towering sugar gum trees, that sit in the middle of the sloping site. The clients were a semi-retired couple with a love for architectural design, who engaged Architects Ink to design an architecturally magnificent home around these trees, while maintaining a strong connection to the site.

‘The aim was to build a compact, light-filled house which integrates passive thermal principles, while capturing the magnificent view over the McLaren Vale region to the sea beyond,’ explains director and architect, Tony Lippis. With steep terrain and the enormous sugar gums dictating the scale and location of the dwelling, the rectangular brick house is built into the site rather than on top of it. 

The street-facing threshold is level with the rear of the sloping site, allowing the low-lying brick facade to appear humble from the streetfront. Upon entry through a customised glass pivot door, this illusion quickly dissolves (!) with dramatic floor-to-ceiling glazing running the length of the west-facing exterior. This spectacular end-to-end glass maximises views across the landscape, and integrates the nearby ancient gums into every angle of the communal spaces occupying this floor. This upper level houses a lounge, kitchen and dining space, while a covered concrete balcony is perched at the northern end of the structure.

The steep nature of the hillside plot pushes the second floor to follow the gradient and sit neatly below the first. Invisible from the roadside, this private level contains bedrooms, bathrooms and a study, all of which open out onto the garden. 

Alongside the ancient trees, The Sugar Gum House is a new landmark atop this hilly, picturesque  region of South Australia.

See more projects from Architects Ink here.

This Week

Studio Visit

Meet Sydney's Newest Furniture Maker, Architect-Turned-Designer Jun Kim

Jun Kim is a multidisciplinary designer making handcrafted furniture under his new brand - Oure.
Sasha Gattermayr

Food

The Ultimate Working From Home Salad

Sweet and crispy roasted Brussels sprouts, toasted hazelnuts and tart apple makes this the perfect late winter lunch!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Gardens

A Swedish-Inspired Garden In Suburban Melbourne!

Landscape designer Penny Starr creates a garden for all seasons, for a young family in Rosanna, Victoria.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Concrete Blanketed Sanctuary In Melbourne's East

We take you inside the already iconic, award-winning Hawthorn House by Edition Office.
Elle Murrell

Architecture

An Ocean-Side Sanctuary Designed To Age Gracefully

This awe-inspiring Ocean Grove house by Auhaus Architecture is a warm but robust home, designed to withstand ferocious weather conditions.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Mindful, Minimal Take On Modernist Design

Studiofour design a thoughtful, contemporary family residence, amongst Beaumaris' iconic mid-century homes.

This Week

Art

The Secret Mystical Paintings of International Art Sensation, Hilma af Klint

The visionary Swedish artist’s enormous colourful artworks were hidden from the world for decades. Now, they are on show at Art Gallery of...

Shopping

The Aboriginal-Owned Homewares Brand Bringing First Nations Art To Homes + Classrooms Across Australia!

Bundjalung/Minjungbal woman Emma Rolls of Emro Designs shares her collection of rugs, cushions and soon-to-be-released picnic mats featuring...
2.02

Art en Route

A Visit to the Blue Mountains with Jono Fleming, and Ford Puma

Sydney stylist Jono Fleming is our tour guide for a dreamy day trip to the Blue Mountains, in the new Ford Puma!
Lucy Feagins
  10 hours ago

Gardens

A Vacant Cow Paddock Turned Relaxed Australian Country Garden

Weeds and camphor are replaced by lush natives, a veggie garden and a hilltop plunge pool in this country garden by Fig Landscapes.

Gardens

Three Trees + A Pool - The Love Story Of A Wild-Looking, Natural Garden

Mcnuttndorff Landscapes tamed this rambling Fairfield garden around a new pool and three majestic eucalypts!

Architecture

A Bushy Family Home That Brings The Outdoors In

You'd never know that this clever home by Anthrosite Architects shields its occupants from a busy motorway on one side of the house.

Interiors

Everything You Need To Know About Working With An Interior Designer

What does an interior designer do, and how much does a residential project cost? Here's everything you need to know, with info from leading

Interiors

A Peaceful, Pastel Transformation Of A Petite Art Deco Apartment

Rosanna Ceravolo creates a new, sympathetic interior personality for a two-bedroom flat in the leafy suburb of South Yarra.

Creative People

Andalusian-Inspired Lampshades, Handwoven In Sydney

Lana Launay makes her textured light covers from natural materials such as coffee-stained raffia, coconut shell rope and bamboo yarn.

News

Cute Handmade Aprons For Tiny Chefs!

Little Linens sell patterned aprons designed, printed and hand-sewn from a kitchen table in Melbourne!
Sasha Aarons

Architecture

An Architect’s Reworking Of Sir Roy Grounds’ Former Balmain Home

A heritage 1970s house in Balmain once owned by Sir Roy Grounds has been its re-engineered by its present owner, architect Conrad Johnston o...

Shopping

Seven Local Kids Design Brands We Can’t Get Enough Of!

Seven of our favourite local kids brands, and where to find them!
Amelia Barnes
  2 hours ago

Homes

An Interior Designer’s Mini Converted Warehouse That Feels Like Home

In past lives, this little converted warehouse in Fitzroy has been a secret bar and a photographic studio. Now, it’s the charming rental h...

News

Laminex Extend Their Epic Colour Collection With These On-Trend Hues

The heritage Australian company adds seventeen new ‘decors’ to its offering, including warm earthy shades, stone-look textures + woodgra...
Sponsored

Architecture

An Architecture Power Couple’s Extraordinary Concrete Home

Inside 'La Scala’ – the contemporary, concrete Brisbane home of architects Ingrid Richards and Adrian Spence, co-founders of Richards an...

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Concrete Blanketed Sanctuary In Melbourne's East

We take you inside the already iconic, award-winning Hawthorn House by Edition Office.
Elle Murrell

Architecture

An Ocean-Side Sanctuary Designed To Age Gracefully

This awe-inspiring Ocean Grove house by Auhaus Architecture is a warm but robust home.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Mindful, Minimal Take On Modernist Design

Studiofour design a thoughtful, contemporary family residence, amongst Beaumaris' iconic mid-century homes.

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.