a weekend retreat that's open and light and capitalises on its position
Full height doors open up to views, light and ocean breezes.
Western Australia’s Margaret River has long drawn day-trippers and holidaymakers to its pristine shores and famous vineyards. But the owners of this holiday house wanted more – a weekend retreat that felt open and light and capitalised on its position in the landscape.
"The clients wanted something that was going to blend into the bush surrounds but still take full advantage of an ocean view, which they had down through a valley," says Anton Smith, Director of Bluewater Building Company who built the home.
Privacy was essential and even though the home was built on a rural block, the neighbours were reasonably close. Bluewater’s challenge was to capture the view while creating the seclusion the couple wanted.
House design: T-shape
Smith’s answer was to build the house in the shape of a ‘T’, with a large deck on the side that faced away from the neighbours. Banks of floor to ceiling glass along the deck maximised uninhibited views from the living room, kitchen and bedroom. High windows in the living room also helped to ensure privacy,
“The T-shape of the house was designed to capture the view without being able to see the neighbours from the main bedrooms,” Smith says.
A symmetrical entry way with crisp horizontal lines using Scyon Stria™ walls is contrasted by spikey plants.
In addition to privacy requirements, the couple also wanted the home to feature as much natural light as possible. According to Smith, they wanted it to reflect the ‘Pueblo’ style of architecture, often found in the Southwest of America.
Pueblo architecture originated with the Native Americans, who inhabited the US Southwest. The first Spanish explorers to the region used the term Pueblo to describe the communities they found there. It evolved from the Latin word populus (people), meaning "town".
Early Pueblo houses often consisted of apartment-like structures made from stone, adobe mud, and other local material. They provided excellent insulation from cold in winter and heat in summer. The Pueblo style we refer to today developed at the turn of the 20th century and reached its greatest popularity in the 1920s and 1930s in places like New Mexico. Generally speaking it features a box-like base and a flat roof.
Bright blue colors accent a typical adobe dwelling in the Taos Pueblo, New Mexico. Courtesy www.ajc.com
Many Pueblo houses feature vibrant accent colours, including blues, greens and, of course, the orange that reflects the early building materials.
"That's why we used Scyon Stria™ and Scyon Matrix™ cladding. The Matrix™ cladding was accentuated with different colours to stand out, and it makes quite a difference," says Smith. "Stria™ cladding was used to cover a lot of major walls, while Matrix™ cladding was used to break up the length of the house, because it's quite a long house,” he says. “It was laid in a random pattern, while the solar panels are painted quite a deep burnt orange to give a bit more character."
Lighter weight construction
Smith’s choice of lightweight construction materials, like Matrix™ and Stria™ cladding, helped minimise the amount of concrete needed to build the house. Its wooden foundations were laid into concrete footings, but Smith says they used only 10% of the volume of concrete that would normally be used in a traditional slab-on-ground design.
The homeowners wanted as much natural ventilation as possible, to minimise air-conditioning.
"Even though the view was to the ocean, it was also facing the dominant winds from the south west. So good cross-ventilation came from windows and stacking doors that maximise the opening, and windows off the side of the house, giving a really good draw of air through the building,” says Smith.
"Because of the orientation of the home, heating and cooling happens naturally rather than relying on mechanical ventilation."
Margaret River Holiday House Fact File
Project: Sonning Loop, Yallingup
Builder: Bluewater Building
Featured material: Scyon™ Stria™, Scyon™ Matrix™
House features: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 garage spaces
Roof material: Colorbond™ Trimdek
House area: 234m2, including garage