This Beach Shack Turned Serene Home Offers Complete Indoor-Outdoor Living

The creation of this home in South Gippsland, Victoria, was a labour of love for both the owner-builder Josh Fotopoulos (JGF Creative) and Atlas Architects.

What was originally a tired fibro shack on stilts, has been successfully adapted into an earthy family dream home, with no traditional corridors or grand entrances.

Instead, the under-croft has made way for a new series of rooms that open directly to the outdoors, while the upstairs living areas capture leafy treetop views!

Christina Karras

Atlas Architects have called the project The Nest for its unique indoor-outdoor floorplan.

Split pavers were used for the brickwork on the external walls.

‘In modern architecture, the kitchen is the heart of the home,’ Atlas Architect’s Ton Vu says. ‘However, in this house, the barbeque deck is the heart of the home (or homes).’

The space features an outdoor fireplace, serving as the hub that connects the two floors of the main house and the studio at the rear.

The interior palette of greens, timber, and sandy off-white hues is closely inspired by the local environment.

Windows upstairs look out to the surrounding treetops.

Minimalistic timber shelves showcase indoor plants.

An entry atrium with skylights welcome daylight in.

One of the light-filled living spaces.

A large sliding door opens to a balcony.

Light filters through from all angles.

The design also employs passive solar design principles, aiding with the home’s sustainability.

Square terrazzo and Japanese tiles bring a sense of texture to the bathroom.

The building facade offers a nod to the original elevated beach shack, even though only the floor joists and posts were able to be retained in the renovation.

A deck overlooks the front garden.

Christina Karras
22nd of January 2024
Landscape Design

Inverloch, VIC/Bunurong Country

The floorplan of this striking architectural house in Inverloch is a little bit unconventional.

That’s because it was originally a three-bedroom fibro beach shack, where JGF Creative director Josh Fotopoulos and his family had spent most of their holidays. But when they decided to make a sea change to the property — located just one street back from the surf beach — they engaged Atlas Architects for a major renovation.

‘Even though it was in a location with many outdoor benefits and luscious aspects, there were missed opportunities where the landscape could be integrated with the owner’s everyday life, such as the under-croft space and the rear yard,’ Atlas Architects director Ton Vu says.

‘Josh and his family also really loved the feel of the “old beach shack” and were keen to try and keep that intact.’

This inspired them to retain as much of the structural frame as possible, gutting out the old building fabric to reimagine the internal spaces. Upstairs, the kids’ bedrooms and living room were replaced with improved versions in similar positions, while the under-croft made way for a series of new spaces, including a main bedroom retreat, a study bunker, a yoga studio, and a workshop.

But rather than connect these areas with a traditional corridor, the rooms are linked by external walkways, decks, and gardens — all leading to the heart of the home: a much-loved outdoor deck at the rear.

‘Inverting the corridor from inside to outside is a radical design move in this project,’ Ton says, noting how the resulting home has been decentralised. ‘There is no grand entrance to this home, but rather a series of arrival points for different zones.’

There’s a sense of privacy and separation as the accomodation easily expands whenever needed for overnight guests and extended family get togethers. It also affords each room a unique view and connection to the surrounding landscape.

‘The clients loved this idea from the beginning as they love the outdoors,’ he adds. ‘It feels like you walk from one building to another when using this home, a similar experience to being in a resort.’

Josh’s master building business handled the detailed renovations. Split pavers were used for the brickwork on the external walls, complemented by the eucalyptus green awning that wraps around the building, like a ribbon that guides you from the ground to the first floor.

Similar earthy tones of olive green continue inside, alongside mid-tone timber joinery, blackbutt flooring and terrazzo tiles with brown, grey and black flecks. Ton says the true magic of the home is how everything comes together to create a peaceful atmosphere, interwoven into the coastal location.

‘The renovation has completely moulded the property into the client’s way of life,’ he adds.

‘Josh loves playing piano and surfing, dividing his time between working from home and on construction sites, so he can spend more time with the kids. His partner Cass has a passion for yoga, meditation and wellness. The family loves to be close to nature. This renovation has offered spaces for all of those passions to be nurtured and grow.’

Latest Stories

Recent Architecture