Owners Casey and Martin Johnston created Byron St Studio as a calming backyard escape, designed to ‘stand the test of time’, and withstand a natural disaster.
The couple previously had their family home on a vacant block on New South Wales’ North Coast and when they decided to extend their house a few years ago, they also decided to build a new studio on the same block.
‘We longed for creative space to hunker down and focus on our furniture design work [for Martin Johnston Furniture], but also wanted to have a flexible space that could accommodate an overflow of friends and family,’ Casey says.
As residents of the Byron Shire, they’d seen the devastating floods that destroyed many homes along the region and the Northern Rivers in recent years. Armed with this knowledge, they engaged the architects at Büro Two to help disaster-proof their build from suffering the same fate.
‘With our changing climate, we considered how the bushfires and floods could potentially affect our property,’ Casey adds. ‘So we purposefully raised the studio out of any threat of flood water from the nearby Brunswick River and also cladded our building in a fire resilient material.’
The exterior features hardwood that’s been charred using the Japanese shou sugi ban technique, creating a natural protective layer around the studio, while galvanised steel posts and elevate the building above the ground. Inside, they decided to use ‘very minimal materials’ in the project to keep costs down, opting to use OSB – oriented strand board, an engineered, water-resistant material that looks similar to chipboard – across the studio walls, ceiling flooring and all of Martin’s joinery.
And sure enough, when a flood hit just two months after it was built, their climate-driven approach ensured its survival. ‘Our entire yard was inundated with water yet our house and studio remained dry,’ Casey says. ‘The flood water reached the underside of our deck, and thankfully missed trickling inside the studio by a mere few centimetres!’
She adds that they also chose to use one material to make the small space feel spacious, sombre, and calm. ‘It’s fair to say that we enjoy traveling to cooler climate locations and were definitely inspired by the cabin life! We believe that you really don’t need too much to feel comfortable, so we were true to this philosophy with our layout and simplistic styling.’
The resulting studio features a blend of of grey, black and earth brown that helps it disappear into its natural surrounds. The interiors are perfectly pared-back, which is something guests have commented on since the property was opened up for short-stay accommodation bookings.
‘It’s a retreat away from the hustle and bustle of life and technology,’ Casey explains.
Book your stay at Byron St Studio here.