chris clout design

A Coastal Fortress Designed by Chris Clout


Just a stone’s throw from the ocean, this coastal fortress stands strong against the elements.

When looking for a house by the water, you expect it to have a spectacular view and this stunning shore-front mansion is no exception. With each room gifted an uninterrupted ocean outlook, the home’s design was sure to please its Queensland owners.

In their brief to building designer Chris Clout from Chris Clout Design, the homeowners wanted a light, beachy home they could retire to, one that was protected from strong winds and would stand the test of time on a sand dune.

“This is one of the best blocks of land in Queensland,” says Chris. “It needed an equally good design to take advantage of this. When you’re in the house you’ll know why; it’s all about the view and that ocean connection from every room.”

Chris and the builders from Damien Davidson Building set out to achieve the homeowners’ brief by creating a four-bedroom, three-storey residence with a lift and a direct view to the ocean from every room. As the owners had two older sons who visit, the home needed to also accommodate them when they came to stay.

“The house that stood previously on the block was quite old and outdated. We looked at renovating the existing house but what the clients wanted would not work,” explains Chris. “The land had an uninterrupted view of the beach on a very sought-after block.”

Using a mixture of off-form concrete and concrete blocks, the design of the home is surprisingly far from cold as it was cleverly softened by Chris and his team using driftwood and washed-out oak detailing throughout. “The clients wanted a very raw, weathered look to everything. Concrete was ideal for this so we left a lot of it exposed,” says Chris Clout. “Driftwood and washed-out oak created a really soft, lived-in look, like it was part of the beach landscape, weathering over time.”

The home’s entrance exudes a natural, coastal vibe with the walls painted a fitting Resene Sea Fog hue. The long hallway takes you to the middle level of the three-storey home, which features a family room, garage, lift entrance and master suite with walk-in robe and ensuite. Venturing down the stunning oak staircase, the home opens up to a vast open-plan kitchen, pantry, dining and second living space, featuring a wine cellar and views to the outdoor bar and pool area.

Raw concrete is masterfully used here as a feature, both for the walls and the flooring, softened by the rattan pendant lighting and eye-catching driftwood wall sculpture. A warm, washed-out oak ceiling in the kitchen balances the strong concrete benchtops, and Blanco tapware in anthracite introduces an industrial feel to the room.

Outside, stained western red cedar decking is introduced to continue the home’s weathered look, while the external concrete render is awash with Resene Black Haze to blend with the surrounding environment.

To provide some privacy for the couple’s older sons, the top level of the home features three large bedrooms, each with their own bathrooms and terraces. Each bathroom is fitted with a sleek concrete vanity and Arq by Rogerseller tapware in graphite.

Creating this solid, off-form concrete home had its design challenges. As it was built right on a sand dune, the choice of materials was limited, as was the type of construction used. Chris and his team had their work cut out for them when battling the beachfront elements.

“The pool was at risk of falling down the hill when the rest of the house was demolished due to the house being on a sand dune,” recalls Chris. The team also found it difficult to both find a correct location of the lift to service all three levels and to also locate the right spot for the entrance so the view was visible from the doorway, without letting the house structure get in the way.

Both obstacles were skillfully mastered by Chris and his team, creating a home that not only took advantage of the ocean view, but also became part of the beachfront landscape.

“My favourite part of the home was seeing someone catch a wave, even from the front gate right through the home,” says Chris Clout. “Another great feature is seeing the pool window from the beach.”

Whether this home is used as a family holiday house or a retirement escape, these lucky homeowners can rest assured this grand beachfront mansion will withstand the salty elements for years to come.