An Incredible Off-Grid Farmhouse On The Bass Coast, Designed For The Elements

Sited atop a softly undulating hill in the middle of windswept coastal farmland is the Bass Coast Farmhouse by Wardle.

But there’s more to the seemingly simple facade than meets the eye. The farmhouse remains faithful to the building language of rural structures, yet cleverly conceals a magnificent two-storey holiday home created to tackle and harness the harsh southern Victorian coastal climate.

See more below!

Bea Taylor

Bass Coast Farmhouse by Wardle. Photo – Sharyn Cairns

The holiday home comprises all the features typical of traditional farmhouses. Photo – Trevor Mein

Perched atop a sloping hill, the house hides an impressive undercroft. Photo – Trevor Mein

The undercroft acts as both bunker and a lower level for laundry, cellar, and storeroom. Photo – Trevor Mein

The home is built around a central courtyard. Photo – Trevor Mein

The courtyard is lined with shutters that are operated by a handheld wheel. Photo – Trevor Mein

The inward-looking home was designed to be sheltered from the harsh coastal winds. Photo – Trevor Mein

The undercroft sits beneath the upstairs lounge. Photo – Trevor Mein

John Wardle, founding partner of Wardle, says the aim was to retain the open uncluttered landscape along the wild, natural coastline. Photo – Trevor Mein

Large windows throughout the house make the most of the incredible landscape. Photo – Trevor Mein

The kitchen. Photo – Trevor Mein

The interiors are lined with spotted gum. Photo – Trevor Mein

There are only three types of windows in the house — a design rule that ensures natural ventilation to all spaces, says John. Photo – Trevor Mein

Spotted gum in the bathrooms. Photo – Trevor Mein

The impressive main suite looks out to views of the countryside and the courtyard. Photo – Trevor Mein

The holiday home was designed to sleep an extended family of 16. Photo – Trevor Mein

The home champions functionality. Photo – Trevor Mein

The off-grid holiday home is a contemporary take on the farmhouse typology. Photo – Trevor Mein

Bea Taylor
15th of August 2023
Landscape designer

Jo Henry Landscape Design

Sustainability consultant

Bass Coast, VIC/Boon Wurrung Country

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.

Latest Stories

Recent Architecture