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A Compact Norwegian Boathouse – In Perth!

Architecture

When tasked with designing a ‘spacious’ home on a compact coastal site in Cottesloe, Western Australia, Lahaus chose to take inspiration from an unlikely source – Norwegian boathouses!

With the goal of creating a ‘modern home, with a sense of history’ (no mean feat!), the Lahaus team used symmetry, a gabled roofline and a palette of classic, neutral materials to create a Nordic-inspired home that sits comfortably in its coastal Australian context. 

7th October, 2022

The entrance reflects the size of a barn door, which would traditionally be used in a boathouse. Photo – Jack Lovel

The symmetry in the facade was especially important! Photo – Jack Lovel

Inside, a soft colour palette reference the outdoors. Photo – Jack Lovel

Splashback tiles from Tiles Expo. Photo – Jack Lovel

Cork floor tiles feature in the kitchen! Photo – Jack Lovel

It wouldn’t be a cabin without a log burner. Photo – Jack Lovel

Photo – Jack Lovel

Vertical white tiles add a subtle textural statement. Photo – Jack Lovel

Natural light has been maximised within the home to help create a sense of space. Photo – Jack Lovel

Wall panelling in the bedrooms helps to bring ‘a feeling of history’ into the new build. Photo – Jack Lovel

Green comes through again in the bathroom. Photo – Jack Lovel

Architectural symmetry within the build is softened by a natural colour palette. Photo – Jack Lovel

‘The statement green brings a sense of playfulness and calm to the interior and exterior and was inspired by the Norfolk pines within the neighbourhood, nestling the building within its landscape,’ says Lara. Photo – Jack Lovel

Bea Taylor
Friday 7th October 2022

The brief for this Cottesloe, Western Australia, home was somewhat contradictory. The clients wanted a ‘modern home, with a sense of history’ – a challenge for architecture and design firm Lahaus, who had a compact 244 square-metre block to work within, but also the task of creating something ‘spacious’. 

The resulting three bedroom, three bathroom, double-storey ‘Cabin Haus’ delivers on all fronts. The main inspiration for the home came from an unlikely source; Norwegian boathouses, which after study of compact, coastal dwellings, revealed itself as the most logical design for the site. 

‘We felt that this aligned with the client’s spatial requirements, and the compact nature of the block, while also respecting the home’s coastal context and the need to bring a sense of history to the modern build,’ explains Lara Staunton, creative director of Lahaus.  

The inspiration is clear from first glance, most notably through the symmetry of its gabled roof and long facade, working together with a palette of neutral materials, warm tones, textural whites and accents of charcoal that are synonymous with popular Nordic-style.

‘The soft palette of textures and colours have been used internally to soften the symmetry of the architecture,’ says Lara. ‘The cork floors in the kitchen and main living area bring earthiness and warmth to these spaces, while at the same time being a practical flooring solution.’ 

Colour is introduced through the tiled kitchen table, which is a statement sage green inspired by Norfolk pines. This hue is repeated in the bathroom, though more olive than sage, and again at the back of the house, which is also painted in the soft verdant hue. 

‘The statement green brings a sense of playfulness and calm to the interior and exterior… nestling the building within its landscape,’ Lara says. 

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