For the owners of this newly built farmhouse, sustainability was ‘set’ in their brief from the very beginning.
Retirees Liz and John Matthews came to the Mornington Peninsula looking for a site where they could build their dream home for the next chapter of their life and found it in a 20-acre farm in Shoreham — an area offering the ‘ideal combination of rural properties and views but also close proximity to the beach.
They engaged architect Adrian Bonomi and master builder Bernie Everett Building to create something that was ‘modest in size’, but still spectacular in scale. The main building only had to be big enough for the two of them, with the opportunity to still host friends and family in a two-bedroom guest wing. And this limited footprint helped reduce the use of materials, which were also carefully considered.
Rammed earth was at the core of the design, chosen for its impressive sustainable attributes. In the main buildings, walls up to a metre thick offer thermal insulation in winter and help stop heat from penetrating through in summer, eliminating the need for air-conditioning. Instead, John says they decided to ‘use cross-ventilation and take advantage of local sea breezes.’
The living spaces area connected to the bedroom wing by a dramatic glass hallway, made up of sliding doors. ‘When it’s warm, we keep the home open, so it is very much an inside-outside living environment,’ Liz adds. Plus, in the living area, two 3.6-metre-glass panels slide away to further embrace the elements and the stunning views!
Other sustainable elements include solar panels and a fully off-grid water supply using captured rainwater. Meanwhile all the timber features and even the furniture – including the dining, outdoor and coffee tables – are made from recycled ironbark, repurposed from old power poles and a wool shed, adding to the warm and earthy feel of the interiors.
While the couple were initially planning to remain in Melbourne while the home was built, lockdown meant they moved to Shoreham full-time and watched the build unfold day-by-day.
Now, the couple say the home is a pleasure to live in. ‘With significant glazed areas, the views are everywhere but framed beautifully,’ John says.
‘The initial concept of a home just right for two, but scalable for our family and guests has been achieved, so it is an easy home to live, work and entertain in.’