The owners of this weekender on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula didn’t want a traditional brick suburban home. Designed by March Studio, this beach house - an hour’s drive from Melbourne - celebrates the coastal scrub rather than the suburban street. 'Our clients didn’t want to replace the 1970s brick home on the site with something in the same vein - they were after something more contemporary,' says architect Rodney Eggleston, a director of the practice.
Created for a design-savvy couple with an impressive collection of contemporary art, the brief to March Studio included sufficient wall space to display art as well as substantial glass walls and windows to appreciate the natural bush setting. 'We created a fairly neutral interior for the art,' says Eggleston, pointing out the white plaster combined with lime-washed timber walls.
Approximately 250 square metres in size, the single-storey beach house is constructed almost entirely in timber, with substantial angular glulam beams providing a sense of drama from the street. 'I wanted to reference the timber homes in the area, those built in the 1950s and 60s, in particular a timber house designed by the architect Kevin Borland,' explains Eggleston, who engaged a former shipbuilder to construct the house. 'When you’re using timber on this scale, the detail is exacting,' says Eggleston.
The Somers house is divided into two wings. There are two bedrooms and a bathroom, accessed only from the ‘boardwalk’, which remain protected from the elements but independent of the main house. The main house includes an open plan kitchen, dining and living areas, together with the main bedroom, dressing area and en-suite (the latter doubling as a guest powder room).
‘There is a sense of a motel from the 1950s, with the separate bedroom wing. But this allows the house to be energy efficient when the owners come on their own,' says Eggleston. And to ensure light and heat from the harsh Australian sun can be monitored throughout the year, automated striped awnings add an important layer to the design. ‘When you arrive, it’s not dissimilar to pitching a tent,' adds Eggleston.