Style source: Mexican influence

Show off your flamboyant side with these fun Mexican-themed finds



frida_scatter_cushion_3 - Copy

A tribute to artist Frida Kahlo, the Frida cushion from Eco Chic comes with insert fill made from recycled PET drink bottles. RRP $65.


art_otomi_turquoise_hr - Copy

Based on the designs of Otomi fabrics from Mexico, the Mexican Otomi canvas art print from Urban Road is an explosion of colour, imagery and folk-style patterns that will brighten up any space. RRP $120.

C0475_013 - Copy

A celebration of the famous Mexican holiday, the Day of the Dead ceramic skull from VinylCuts will add interest to your mantlepiece. RRP $29.

Lorne Chair - Copy

Both rustic-looking and colourful, the Lorne chair from Mulbury is delightfully Mexican-esque. RRP $99.

White - Copy

Enjoy the bold, decorative look and quality craftsmanship of the Tangier floral four-drawer chest from Zanui. RRP $2999.

Mexican_Otomi - Copy

Hand-embroidered by Mexican Otomi Indians, the Otomi fabric-framed art work from Eco Chic will add a splash of colour and bohemian style to any room. RRP $395.

Bamike Table Coral - Copy

Add a colourful touch to your decor with the Bamileke coffee table in coral from Eco Chic. RRP $1695.

Edited by April Ossington

From Home Design magazine Vol. 16 No. 6

Natural attraction

With a stunning Noosa beach as its backdrop, this stylish and contemporary home is functional for a family with three teenage children, yet makes the most of its beachfront location













Edgy, minimalist design combined with nature-inspired interiors and ocean views give this home a modern vibe. You can literally step from the manicured lawn of the white-and-grey Miami-style house onto the sand of Noosa’s Sunrise Beach.

Built eight years ago, the home has withstood the test of time, remaining functional for the family as its three children grow into teenagers. Importantly, the clean and contemporary design retains a timeless style, a factor which architect Frank Macchia says was a carefully considered one for the home he created for his good friends, the Cerasani family.The house worked just as well for the family when it had three younger children as it does today, with the kids now teenagers. The house has distinct zones and is designed for separate living over each of its two storeys.

The upper level is used mainly as a family area and this is where the children’s bedrooms are each located, as well as a bathroom and the master bedroom and ensuite. There is also a kitchenette upstairs — an important element in making school-morning rushes run smoothly. The idea is that the family can remain upstairs, get ready for school and work, and have their breakfast without dashing up and down the stairs. “It’s worked really well,” says Frank.

The home’s lower level is where the creative flair really shines and has been designed for entertaining. The downstairs layout has fairly distinct zones to keep the areas separated. This zoning is created using well-lit corridors, which is an old-fashioned way of doing things, admits Frank, but is one that works particularly well for this home. After entering the residence and admiring the fish tank, you can go over a wooden bridge and lap pool, through an alcove and into the media room. The idea is that it’s separated and also “works acoustically”. The downstairs guest bedroom is separated in a similar way and is divided from the main living area. Beyond these quarters is the polished concrete lower level, with the home’s living room, dining area and kitchen all flowing to the outdoor living spaces.

The family is big on entertaining and very good at sharing their beautiful space with other family members and friends. The house has a barbecue area, spacious lawn and decking that spills from the main living room.

“What we enjoy about the house is still discovering new sitting areas after eight years, admiring the view internally as well as externally,” says owner Christina Cerasani.

Though this home fronts the beach, it is also located close to a main road. To keep out any noise or, in fact, any sense of the road even being there, it is as if the house has literally turned its back to it. A sturdy grey faceted wall, up to a metre thick on the facade, serves a dual purpose in acoustically and psychologically blocking out the road and giving a sense “that you’re enclosed in a very strong structure,” says Frank. Rising to the challenge, the architect used this necessary structural element as a reason to do something a bit special.

“It gave us a piece of sculpture. It was an excuse to exaggerate something and create something sculptural and beautiful,” he explains. “It’s timeless, has clean, strong lines and won’t date.”

The solid masonry and blocky design of the exterior lends itself to a sense of protection. Having the beach at your back doorstep has its obvious bonuses, but it also means being at the mercy of windy ocean weather; the home’s south-easterly aspect in particular meant this was something that had to be considered.

“Our house is situated in a beachfront estate, with prevailing south-easterly winds. Consequently, we need protection while still having that connection with the beach,” says Christina.

Frank says this was an integral part of the Queensland home. The structure was angled and designed with this in mind so the owners could enjoy having a unique beachfront home yet be completely protected from the wind and weather. The successful design has managed to create open and flowing living areas that provide shelter, yet still embrace the sea.

The natural elements that surround the home tie in with its interior style. A clean white and neutral grey colour palette works well with the square, blocky structure and the use of glass keeps it light. Keeping it neutral and giving the owner a blank canvas to work with was important. It allows the striking beach setting to speak for itself.

The intentional white palette was like giving Christina, who has an exceptional creative flair, a gallery space to work with. Her interior style uses wooden furniture, natural fibres, splashes of orange and animal objects which, combined with the solid structural elements of the home and its oceanfront aspect, give it a modern yet organic feel. Timber floorboards and polished concrete add to this.

Admiring her sophisticated styling, Frank comments on how the home’s light spaces are used. “Windows face different surfaces; the play of light as it hits the surfaces is important and was orchestrated through the placement of windows. The owners use this with their sculptures and art and it’s almost like a gallery that Christina is curating,” says Frank.

The white masonry render of the exterior is continued on the inside of the house. The block design and use of concrete could have been overpowering and heavy, but is balanced out with the use of glass and a light colour palette such that the feel of the home remains summery and light-filled.

The strong, sculptural design is reflective of the owners themselves, says Frank, who is close friends with the family. “They are modern-thinking, contemporary and they travel a lot. The house works for them,” he says. “It had to be clean, contemporary and quite stylish. The owners have strong personalities and are quite social so the house is reflective of that as well.”

With owners that love entertaining and its direct beach access, it’s no wonder this home and its different zones is a hub of action and socialising for family members of all ages.

more info?

Words Emma Wheaton

Photography Anastasia Kariofyllidis

From Home Design magazine Vol. 16 No. 6

Compact Design: Less is more

This innovative compact design proves that a small space should never be underestimated

Modern compact design for an interior

compact design - contemporary bedroom

Barr Unit

Barr Unit

Barr Unit

Barr Unit

Barr UnitBarr Unit

We all want to maximise the space we have but the big question is, how do we do it? How can we make a small area appear bigger? Can we enhance natural light with minimal windows? Can it still be a comfortable home for a young, growing family?

These were the challenges Rod and Simone Barr, of Daarc Architecture & Interiors, faced when they renovated their own family home. Being both the clients and the architects, Rod and Simone were able to push the boundaries of design, ignore trends and focus on creating a space that showcases solutions for compact living and, more importantly, represents who they are.

“Adopting the attitude that bigger is not necessarily better, we were keen to explore the possibilities of overcoming some of the typical limitations of family life in high-density residential living,” says Simone.

A combination of reflective surfaces and mixed finishes has turned their 130m² residence into a modern home that feels spacious. Simone describes the original ‘90s-style apartment as having “lots of small, cramped spaces, a lack of cross ventilation and extensive use of mint-green laminate and beige/cream finishes”.

The couple converted the three bedrooms to two plus a home office, a move that instantly opened up the apartment. This reconfiguration has also maximised ventilation and made good use of the few existing windows, enhancing natural light and allowing the outside world to be enjoyed from almost every angle.

Rod and Simone chose a dramatic aesthetic for the interior, including a monochrome palette and sharp lines. Reflective surfaces are another key element, with each glossy facade mirroring light and scenery, a play that creates an illusion of vastness and amplifies natural light in the apartment.

“Reflection was the primary method used to make the space look bigger,” Simone says. “We’ve used it to make the best use of natural light and capture the external views from selected locations, whether from the ‘ghost’ reflections on the walls, the ceiling bulkhead or the kitchen joinery … even the fish tank that divides the kids’ rooms and the bathroom allow for natural light to pass into the bathroom, creating a positive energy in what is a very non-conformist but relaxing bathroom.”

Putting sharp aesthetics and quirky character aside, the couple also wanted to ensure the apartment would be comfortable to live in. But how do you make an almost all-black interior comfortable? While the new floorplan made the most of what the original building had to offer, the existing light fittings were replaced with LEDs and a “less is more” approach to furnishings has kept the space clutter-free. Wherever possible, they’ve used finishes and materials free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

“Blue-light LEDs have been used to mimic — as close as possible — daylight conditions,” says Simone. “Low-VOC MDF (medium density fibreboard) was used for the joinery, as well as low-VOC paint finishes and carpet tiles. These achieve the Ecospecifier Green Tag, a green-rating-level ‘A’ certification. LED lighting has also reduced the energy bill by approximately 50 per cent.”

Bigger is not necessarily better. Not only does this compact design demonstrate you can make a huge impression with a small space, it proves you can maximise your interior without the use of light and bright colours.


“Adopting the attitude that bigger is not necessarily better, we were keen to explore the possibilities of overcoming some of the typical limitations of family life in high-density residential living,” says Simone.


WORDS / Karsha Green PHOTOGRAPHY / Scott Burrows

From Grand Designs Australia magazine Vol. 2 No. 4

Luxury Willoughby home design

Luxury living was the vision for this Willoughby home – as was the desire to create separate spaces for the adults and children in the family.

Luxury home design by Sydney Select Constructions

Luxury bathroom home design by Sydney Select Constructions

The clients wanted an additional outdoor living area for entertaining guests, and as they were already near good schools, they decided to renovate and extend instead of moving.

The existing living area was extended, opening out onto a tranquil new al fresco space. The indoor living area had shadowline cornices installed for an ultra-modern look, an enclosed gas fireplace and wall-hung flat screen TV. The warm, rich chocolate and taupe tones give the room an opulent, yet intimate feel.

The small garden received an understated landscaping treatment for a serene outlook from the deck.

No detail was spared for the outdoor living area; the lined ceiling had downlights and fans installed. Speakers were mounted in the ceiling and connected to the indoor stereo so music could be played outside. Overhead gas heaters offered warmth for winter – making the space a veritable outside room all year round!


For more information


Awesome accesories: 15 Stylish stocking fillers!

Accessories can help personalise your home and add flair. Check out this fabulous range with something for every budget

Under $100 Stylish accessories which won’t break the bank

Axis Wine Rack 6 Bottle Red

$59.95 — Axis wine rack in red from Zanui.

Orbit Candelabra

$95 — Orbit candelabra by Steendyk. Available at ANONandCo.

Tempo Clock Large Navy

$59.95 — Large Tempo clock in Navy from Form.Function.Style.

Metal Art Wall Plaque

$49.95 — Metal Art wall plaque by Windsor Mail. Available at Goods Galaxy.

Turquoise Chocolate Swirl Glass Bowl

Under $500 Modern and chic, these items will add pizzazz to your home

Menu Charles Wilson Magnetic Candelabra

$385 — Menu Charles Wilson magnetic candelabra from Bristol & Brooks.

water jug

$330 — Water jug in purple matte from Fink. Available at top3 by design.

Amalfi Bull Wall Decor

$149.95 — Amalfi bull wall decor from Amalfi.

Ambiray candleholders

$270 — Ambiray candleholders, set of two, from Swarovski.

Large Table Lampzoe

$399 — Zoe large table lamp from Steal the Limelight.

Boston Wine Cooler


$220 — Boston wine cooler from Boyd Blue.

Under $2000 Spoil yourself with a more extravagant home addition

Qlocktwo Clock By Biegert & Funk

$1599 — Qlocktwo clock by Biegert & Funk, available at @Luxe by design.

Mostly Mirrors - Deknudt Designer Amoeube set of 3 shaped mirrors

$1355 — Deknudt Designer Amoeube mirror, set of three, from Mostly Mirrors.

JR at Waterford Signature Black 35cm Vase

$1199 — Signature black vase from John Rocha at Waterford.

Electriclove Wall Hanging

$594 — Electriclove wall hanging from HARKLO.

From Home Design magazine Vol. 16 No. 4




Seaside Sanctuary: A Mount Martha masterpiece

A Mount Martha masterpiece with 360-degree views

    seaside sanctuary modern

modern exteriormodern entertaining areaopen plan contemporary loungeneutal interior entertainment roomcontemporary kitchen neutral styleopen plan modern lounge 360 views   

When Harry Lambis bought a steep block of land on the south-eastern shores of Port Phillip, his first intentions were to build a simple holiday shack. He describes the original landscape as “undesirable”, far from an ideal block, with poor accessibility due to overgrown shrubs. A structural engineer by profession and director of his architectural firm, Pickles & Rouse, Harry was up for the challenge. While the original brief was to create a family holiday house, it soon became focused on capturing the amazing view from Red Hill to Portsea. “My brother Pete climbed one of the trees to get an idea of the possible views we could capture; after that, the shack idea was long gone,” Harry recalls.

As a first-time designer and owner-builder, Harry says the project was like trying to piece together a puzzle to suit the different wants. Those included capturing views from every room, maximising natural light, cross ventilation, and obtaining a feeling of space and privacy within a steep block. The expansive six-bedroom house built by Pickles & Rouse boasts a spacious kitchen, five bathrooms, two living areas, a billiard room, and study with a private terrace for each of the bedrooms. This family home is an entertainer’s dream and also features five tiered outdoor entertaining spaces, a two-car garage and four additional car spaces. To ensure ultimate convenience when entertaining, the outdoor zones are linked by external stairs.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the design are the ocean views from every room. Whether in the kitchen, dining room, or taking a dip in the pool, endless sea becomes the backdrop, while at night the twinkling of city lights dazzles. “The decision to provide main living and entertaining spaces upstairs maximised the ability to capture the westerly bay views,” Harry explains. “This led to the pool being placed on this level as well.”

This open-plan abode sympathises with the natural slope of the land by creating tiered living, entertaining and sleeping spaces.

Continuous, full-height, wrap-around glazing was an important design consideration for maximising westerly views. With the addition of slotted windows to the north and east, as well as the various voids and high ceilings, the house provides natural light in each room throughout the day. “I love sitting on the couch in the morning looking out at the bay with the morning light filtering its way through the window,” says Harry. While the design encourages light to pour into every room, appropriate westerly shade is also provided through the use of extended cantilevered eaves and blue-tinted glazing on the windows that also enhances the colour of the sea.

White is used in abundance. Teamed with beige porcelain tiles, white leather lounges and the plethora of natural light, this subtle colour scheme creates a luminous, airy feeling in the home, allowing the view to take centre stage. Against this minimalist backdrop, accessories in greys and browns add earthy tones without detracting from the view. This theme is continued outside with organically-laid limestone pavers and solid hardwood timber decking.

With sustainability at the forefront of this design, natural cross ventilation is enabled through the large bi-fold doors in the upstairs living room, allowing the space to flow out to the deck almost seamlessly. With the bottom floor of the house built underground, the bedrooms were placed downstairs to provide natural insulation and cooling during the summer months. The foundation of concrete walls and floor slabs provides great thermal insulation throughout the house as well.

Harry’s leap of faith with a difficult block paid off through his use of innovative design. “Although it was tough, we got there and have happily enjoyed the end product,” he says. Besides the natural light and 360-degree views, Harry says his favourite part of the home is the addition of the spa that flows directly into the infinity-edge pool. “I love sitting in the raised sky-spa overlooking the bay when the sun sets,” he adds.


more info?

Pickles & Rouse

0411 697 078


Words April Ossington

From Home Design magazine Vol. 16 No. 6




GRAND DESIGNS AUSTRALIA: Richmond inner city house

Space in the city? By compromising on street access, Darren and Ruth Rogers got the backyard, swimming pool and industrial style they dreamed of

modern contemporary living

inner city contemporary home

industrial style exterior spacious wine cellar

modern kitchen timber features

minimalist light bedroom

basement entertainment area

contemporary interior design lounge

modern pool area window seat

timber vanity unit

bright spacious bathroom

contemporary basement lounge



HOUSE Richmond Inner-city House


COST $3.3m

DATE COMPLETED February 2013


With its black furnishings, dark walls and an entrance wrapped in dark-timber cladding, the laneway home of Darren and Ruth Rogers embraces all things black and moody in a way Melburnians do best. But that’s where the clichés end. Just down the road from the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the three-storey home is a far cry from the quaint Victorian terraces that dominate the neighbourhood. For a start, residents include four chooks and a 12-year-old. There’s also a swimming pool big enough for a pool party. Add to that a backyard, a blossoming vegetable garden, water tanks, a gym, media room, lift, rooftop deck, and a cellar with storage for up to 1500 bottles of wine.

“We’ve always loved Richmond, but one thing we lamented about it is that you often don’t get any backyard space, so it was just a freakish event that we found out about this block,” says bank manager Darren. At 440m² the block is about two-and-a-half times the area’s average size, but it came with a catch: no street frontage. This turned out to be both a blessing and a curse, as the couple quickly discovered in the four years it took to have the home designed, approved and constructed.

“You can build on a difficult block like this, but everything takes a bit longer and is a bit more expensive. We weren’t prepared for that,” admits Darren, who is still reeling after a budget blowout that added six months to the construction process. Much to his wife’s dismay, Darren had insisted on a basement to house a media room and wine cellar. But with 150m² to be excavated and the only access to the home via laneways too narrow for heavy machinery, the construction team had to use bobcats — a slow and costly process.

But the great advantage of buying this block with no street access is that there were no heritage restrictions, so Darren and Ruth could think beyond the neighbourhood’s standard-issue period-style terrace. “We could really do whatever we wanted,” Darren says. “We love that dark-grey, cement-style, industrial look so we went for that.”

They’d been living about 400m down the road and Darren had had his eyes on the site for some years. It was originally part of an even larger block, which had been divided in two and the half with street frontage sold. The second block was harder to sell and Darren was still thinking about it when, in 2008, a builder purchased it and drew up plans for a client in London. Months later, while lunching with mates, Darren heard the builder was having problems with the client. He got in touch and offered to buy the site.

The sale included the laneways on either side of the home, which came with all sorts of extra taxes. But because the laneways are included as part of the property’s boundary, purchasing them meant Darren and Ruth could capitalise on almost all of the space offered by the actual block.

Not that they were after a sprawling monstrosity. “The outdoor space is just as important to us as the indoor space,” Darren says. “We tried to build on half the block and keep the other half open. All up, we have 320m² of open space.” That includes the crafty use of built space, including the rooftop, which has been developed into an outdoor entertaining area with a 10m-long vegetable garden.

The couple has capitalised on the northern sun by building the home on the south side of the block. Deep recesses in the northern facade, along with motorised louvres, control solar gain, particularly on the western side. In winter, the sun warms the home’s concrete base, providing good thermal mass to the lower levels. And with all 23m of the facade taking in sun, there’s no shortage of light in the upper two levels.

This meant Darren and Ruth could afford to install concrete flooring and dark feature walls without any risk of the home becoming cold and dingy. They’ve added portholes the size of dinner plates to the floor of the living and dining rooms, allowing light to filter from the ground floor into the basement. Alternatively, when the lights are on in the basement, the light shoots into the upstairs living spaces, giving them what Darren describes as “a space-age feel” at night.

He and Ruth were originally going to paint the media room a crisp white to compensate for the lack of natural light, but at the last minute they decided to embrace the cosy, cave-like feel of the space. “The painter called and said he was just about to get started, but at the very last minute I told him I wanted to go for grey — what he calls ‘nightclub grey’,” Darren says. “He said it would take about 10 years to paint over it if we didn’t like it, but I’m glad we did it.”

And Darren and Ruth aren’t the only ones. The home has already been booked for a couple of advertising shoots and Darren is as proud as punch. He’s also thinking about his next big project, but it’s likely to be an investment property because he and Ruth don’t plan on leaving their Richmond home anytime soon.

With a bit of convincing, Ruth agreed to a lift, which pops up in the master bedroom through a Willy Wonka-style trapdoor. It’s mostly to make sure her mum is comfortable when she comes to stay, but looking to the future, Darren reckons it might give them an extra 10 years in the home. “That’s if my son doesn’t kick me out of it,” he laughs. “With the rooftop bar and the media room, this place would make an excellent bachelor’s pad.”


WORDS / Emma Mulholland PHOTOGRAPHY / Rhiannon Slatter

From Grand Designs Australia magazine Vol. 2 No. 4



The batchelor pad: 8 Strong and slick design ideas

 A gentleman’s bedroom should reflect his temperament and character, while providing all the amenities required for rest and relaxation

modern living divani extra wall bed

1 Designed by Piero Lissoni, the Extra Wall bed is a modular production by Living Divani. Its sleek, minimal frame serves as a foundation for the bedroom with solid geometry and colour. Adaptable to suit all needs and desires. Match a dark bed base with sheets of a contrasting colour for great effect.

contemporary style modular waredrobe

2. Featuring strong German design and construction, the 40S wardrobe by Interlübke is a modular system that can be designed to hold any collection of apparel, from the bare essentials to a fully-realised wardrobe. Multiple finishes are available.

retro trunk Suitcase

3. Harking back to the golden age of travel and rugged and solid in design, these pieces reflect the classic form and style of the travel trunk. Timothy Oulton has made the Globetrekker Chest and Trunk Aero into a suitably masculine storage solution for clothes and assorted belongings.

modern style Atmosphere Globes

4. A nice touch to any gentleman’s room, the globe is the gateway to the world. Plan your moves from the comfort of you bedroom and plot your way using these sleek spheres from Atmosphere Globes.

escape Designer Rugs

5.  An eye-catching and interesting accessory which balances the darker aspects of a room with a splash of colour, the Animus rug by Designer Rugs is available in a variety of sizes and custom fits.

contemporary design full length mirror

6. By Piero Lissoni, the interestingly-designed Glas Italia Paradox full-length mirror is a practical addition to the bedroom while also creating a unique and strong visual detail.

modern storage table sculpture

7. Designed by Front for Porro, the Balancing Boxes create another interesting visual piece for the bedroom. The sculptural form allows for a variety of storage spaces and makes and interesting beside accompaniment.

Viore Design Compass lamp

8. Constructed from carbon fibre with a polished chrome base, and minimal but high tech in design, the Compass lamp from Viore Design is a simple and unobtrusive way to provide directional light.

 Edited by James Cleland

from Home Design vo1.16 no.6



Big design trends for a summer of OTT

 Oversized and over-the-top is the craze this summer, so get your hands on some of these dramatic pieces.

Eden Outdoor Rug eco chic

1.Outdoor rugs can add a touch of colour that your outdoor space desperately needs, and the Eden from ECO CHIC will also connect your space with the surrounding flora.

Large Wood Store rustic FirePit

2. A versatile feature for your backyard, this rustic wood-fire pit from AUSSIE HEATWAVE FIREPLACES will keep you warm in winter and can be converted into a pot plant for summer — genius!

Trolley Classic versatile quirky design

3. Not your typical bar trolley, the beautiful Luxembourg trolley by Fermob, available from CLASSIC WITH A TWIST, has a versatile design and is available in 23 striking finishes.

Planter contemporary

4. The colour range of the Box Planter collection from DESIGNED BY TAIT is what makes these special. Available in all different sizes, group the various pots in a forgotten corner or blank space in your garden for eye-catching appeal.

david trubridge sculpture

5. Stunning no matter which way you look at it, the shape of the Nananu by DAVID TRUBRIDGE was inspired by his windsurfing trips to the Fijian island of Nananu-i-ra.

Anduze oversized plant pot design

6. Oversized pots are a massive trend at the moment and they make a great statement piece. The Anduze Vert pot from ROCK & STONE has a gorgeous wavy texture and would look extra appealing filled with colourful flowers.

Trellis complement table

7. We absolutely love the Trellis table from ABALOS and it will add a quirky, colourful element to your outdoor space. The table’s base is available in a variety of colourful finishes and the top comes in solid oak or rosewood, compact laminates and marble — stunning!

outdoor oversized sculptures

8.Sculptures will add interest to an outdoor space when the right colour and texture is chosen. A stone statue like the Siwa from ROCK & STONE, or the corten-steel Eggular sculpture from LUMP, will contrast beautifully with the leafy green surrounds, and the enormity of the structure will certainly not go unnoticed either.,

Wine cellar exterior trap door

9. For the ultimate luxe outdoor space, the Garden Cellar from SPIRAL CELLARS blends in seamlessly with your pavers or decking when closed, and acts as a “look at me” feature when open.

From Home Design magazine Vol. 16 No. 6

GRAND DESIGNS AUSTRALIA: Inverloch Sand Dune house

Inverloch Sand Dune House, which featured on the Lifestyle Channel’s Grand Designs Australia, is set in Victoria’s windswept south coast, the award-winning house is a mix of heart and hard edges inspired by the elements.

Grand Designs Australia Inverloch sand dune house

Modern Lounge Grand Designs Australia Inverloch sand dune house

Owners Grand Designs Australia Inverloch sand dune house modern exterior Grand Designs Australia Inverloch sand dune house

Inverloch sand dune house contemporary loungeInverloch sand dune house contemporary standalone bath Inverloch sand dune house contemporary swivel seats

Grand designs australia inverloch open plan living

Grand designs australia inverloch contemporary interior designGrand designs australia inverloch practical storage


HOUSE Costal View


DATE COMPLETED September 2012

When she first saw the lime-zinc roofing on her Inverloch home, Kate Morris admits to a moment of sheer panic. “I thought, I’m going to be living in a spaceship. What will people think?” she laughs. Now she loves seeing that same reaction when guests arrive at Croft House. “When they approach the home they see the industrial exterior, but they don’t realise what it’s like inside; how soft, warm, natural and earthy it is. And when they see that, they get it. They realise why it has been oriented and designed in this way — it’s all about the majestic panorama.”

Kate’s husband Glenn, a retired engineer, also loves this contrast. He describes one of his favourite moments of the 10-month construction process as being towards the end of the filming of Grand Designs Australia, when he sat on the lounge with presenter Peter Maddison and noticed how the tapered ceiling becomes part of the interior. “You look out the window and you see this sturdy, beautiful structure,” he says. “You see how it lines up with the inside of the home and how the contrasting feelings work together.”

Almost two years earlier, while in transit at Sydney airport, Glenn noticed a magazine with one of architect James Stockwell’s designs on the cover. He was looking for an architect to design a unique, sustainable home for the eight-hectare block he and Kate had bought eight years earlier. He was so impressed with James’ design that he arranged to meet the architect while he was in town. But James turned down the job, saying he’d be busy for the next six months. Glenn told him they would wait.

Six months later, James travelled to Inverloch on Victoria’s south coast and camped out for two nights to get a feel for the area’s wind patterns. The home he came up with — a low-slung, two-bedroom place that turns against the prevailing wind — makes for a unique holiday home. But, as he later discovered, it’s not a unique form in this windswept corner of Victoria.

Once James had made a physical model, he got speaking with his geologist brother and told him about the Inverloch environment. His brother said it was likely the area housed barchan dunes, a type of sand dune that forms in windy locations. When James looked at his model, he realised he’d designed a barchan dune.

“When I heard that, James struck me as someone who can understand the environment and design for it, not against it,” Glenn says. All went smoothly during the design process, which took about five months, until he and Kate started to worry there wouldn’t be enough head room in the tapered ends of the home, which house the laundry and sitting room. They decided to increase the size of the entire home by 10 per cent, bringing the floorplan to 200m² — still not huge, but bigger than they’d planned for their eco escape. “If we had our time again, we probably would have got away with it at the size it was, but now they are very comfortable spaces to be in,” Glenn says.

Another worry was finding a builder in the remote town who would be up to the task. “That was a big concern for us because we needed someone who could translate the plans with an architect who would be working from a distance,” Glenn says. “It’s a complex design and it’s never been done before, but we found David Martin, a really capable young guy who was enthusiastic and passionate about the project — and a perfectionist.”

The result is a gorgeous home that not only embraces the spectacular view of the sea and nearby duck pond, but has minimal impact on them and their residents. So far, the couple has had visits from curious koalas, kangaroos and a stray sheep from the neighbouring farm, and they want to encourage this interaction. “You’re a part of the environment rather than being in a house,” Kate says.

To lessen the home’s visual impact, they’ve opted for minimal lighting — just a few lights above the dining table and a couple of LEDs in the kitchen area. As time goes on, they may add standing lamps to provide ambient lighting, but Kate says she’s mindful of having too much furniture in the home.

“I want people to look straight outside — I don’t want to distract from that,” Kate says. The home’s few furnishings are mostly built in, such as the seat by the entrance where guests can sit down and take their shoes off. They’ve also had a cupboard and desk built into the study nook and a bedhead and bedside tables added to the master bedroom. Even in the living room the furnishings have been kept to a minimum, which means Kate and Glenn can re-orient the entire room, choosing either a view of the pond or the sea, just by moving the lounge suite. Kate says she may add a few large artworks, but at the moment she’s happy gazing at the pond and its busy birdlife.

If there’s one thing that almost rivals the view, it’s the stunning ceiling made of Victorian ash. It wasn’t cheap, but Kate insisted on using the native wood — a stance that has paid great dividends, with the ceiling setting a sophisticated, earthy tone and injecting the space with just the right amount of pattern and colour to prevent it from feeling all too sparse.

Kate was just as firm when it came to selecting the roofing material, which was originally going to be zinc aluminium. “I really pushed for lime zinc,” she says. “It’s 99 per cent pure zinc and we had to get it brought over from Europe, but because we are so near the sea I really wanted something that wouldn’t rust — that would look awful. When James realised we were happy to pay for it, he was delighted.”

Kate and Glenn have avoided any product that requires regular painting and they’ve tried to stick with natural surfaces throughout the home. This includes the interior’s dividing and feature walls, which are made of rammed earth. The concrete pad the house is built on is larger than the home, offering plenty of patio space, but also absorbing sun and warming the residence throughout winter, when temperatures in Inverloch drop down to the single digits.

Kate and Glenn have installed coils for underfloor heating, but at the moment they’re still tossing up whether they’ll have it connected. For now, a fireplace does the trick and, having planted 150 native trees (each one 6cm high), they expect to have plenty of firewood in five years’ time.

“For us, it is about more than just having solar panels — we have them — but it’s about letting nature do the work,” Glenn says. The home collects its own water, has its own worm farm and has plenty of eco cred, a fact acknowledged by the Australian Institute of Architects, which awarded Croft House this year’s Allan and Beth Coldicutt award for sustainable residential architecture. The prize was awarded to James, but for Kate and Glenn it’s an acknowledgement that they’ve achieved everything they set out to do. “What we have is not just a statement house, it’s not just an architectural fancy,” Glenn says. “It’s a beacon of sustainable residential design and a statement about what you can do if you push the boundaries.”





James Stockwell (


Martin Builders (


Meinhardt Australia (


TJ Building Consultants (



Curved glulam timber beams VicBeam (

Roof trusses Capeview Building Products (

Concrete/burnished slab Lou Zanella Concreting (0408 136 418)

Site works Chapman Contractors (03 5657 4339)


Rammed earth StabilEarth (  

Double glazed windows Viewtech (,

Glassworks (

Rheinzink roof & cladding Craftmetals (

Joinery & cabinets Award Cabinets (

Plumbing fixtures Reece (

Lighting Lightproject (

Fireplace Wignells (

Electrical appliances E&S Trading (

Sashless window units Aneeta (

Door hardware Knobs & Brass (03 9796 3111)


Electrician Houston Electrical (0409 568 377)
Plumber Jamar Plumbing (
Waste Treatment A&A Wormfarm Waste Systems (
Tiling Dumbalk Tiles & Stone (0418 129 981)



 WORDS / Emma Mulholland  PHOTOGRAPHY / Rhiannon Slatter

From Grand Designs Australia magazine Vol. 2 No. 4