From the outside, Bass Coast Farmhouse by Wardle presents itself as simple in form — albeit magnificent in size. The inside features a composition of elements you’d expect to find in a typical farmhouse; timber walls, a large chimney, a neutral colour palette, and vaulted ceilings.
But here is where the similarities stop, for behind the unassuming walls of the farmhouse’s exterior, is a home designed to respond to and sit within the elements. It’s also, despite how it looks from the outside, two storeys.
Perching the home atop the natural rise of the land allowed the team at Wardle to create an impressive undercroft, which acts as both a bunker and a lower level for laundry, cellar and storeroom, as well as defining an area for an outdoor kitchen and dining away from the strong coastal winds.
It was also for this reason the home has been built around a large central courtyard — ‘the focal point’, explains John Wardle, founding partner of Wardle — to respond to the need for constant enclosure.
Many might’ve seen the home’s isolation and exposure as an obstacle, but for John, this presented opportunity. ‘Why not harness those resources? There’s abundant sunlight for solar energy… and rainwater is harvested and reused for the house, the pool, and for the tanks required for bushfire threats. Passive design concepts are also embedded in the home,’ he says.
For John, designing an off-grid farmhouse was an obvious choice. ‘This is a house designed to stand the test of time,’ he says. ‘And a sustainable home becomes more durable over time.’
Large windows throughout the home frame the sweeping coastal landscape. Each shutter is operated by a handheld wheel, meaning the user creates their own electricity in order to open and close them.
Sited where former single shed stood on land used to run cattle, Bass Coast Farmhouse is a reassuring nod to its past and place, while simultaneously looking to the future.