Lone Ranger: A design equal parts beach house and bush retreat

Lone Ranger: A design equal parts beach house and bush retreat


Building a house that reflects the environment it dwells within is no easy task. But when Sydney’s Avalon Beach is the location of choice, it’s hard not to be influenced by the surf culture, down-to-earth vibes and natural beauty that’s around every corner

Award-winning architect Peter Downes was called on board to design a holiday house that’s a retreat in every sense of the word.

A home should be a private escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life but, given the dense nature of suburban living, it can be challenging to design a residence that is the ultimate cocoon. Much of the brief for this project surrounded the concept of creating a residence that embraced the elevated corner site along with the surrounding greenery and vegetation. The clients’ wish list included the integration of large indoor–outdoor entertaining areas, district views, privacy and a display of their extensive art collection.

The existing weatherboard home originally located on the site was in a dilapidated condition. With considerable finances needed to salvage it, the decision was made to start the project from scratch. The weatherboard was replaced with a dual-level home that features a large open-plan living/kitchen/dining area that’s connected to the front and rear decks. Three bedrooms, a study, ensuite, bathroom, laundry and powder room are also located on the top floor. The lower level houses a large garage and storeroom along with a secondary dwelling. “This was a fairly straightforward site with no major issues, except being surrounded by other sites,” says Peter.
A signature element of the house is the curved roof and wave on the western wall, which is a nod to the clients’ passion for surfing. “The site parameters resulted in a long wall facing the secondary road, so a wave shape was created by packing out the top half of the wall cladding by 50mm,” says Peter. “The combination of sandstone, weatherboard and corrugated steel has created an iconic Australian beach/bush house, which contrasts in an interesting and surprising way with the elegant interior.”

Designed by Edward Wong from Studio Make Made, the home’s interior was influenced by the clients’ artwork collection along with the home’s architecture. “We designed the interiors to complement yet also contrast with the architecture and curved roof design,” says Edward. “Our details channelled minimalist design with an added layer of textures from the finishes selected. The interior finishes were chosen to reflect a contemporary and classic look.”

Inside, dark timber reigns supreme. The material of choice was selected for the flooring and joinery, juxtaposing against the home’s sandstone exterior and crisp white walls that showcase an enviable art collection. Pops of colour are present in the furnishings, which add another layer to the fuss-free interior.

Not just a pretty face, the house also boasts environmental considerations and is energy and water efficient. The Weathertex cladding has a high sustainability rating and eco-friendly timber was selected for the interior. Other measures include LED and sensor-controlled lighting and materials that incorporate recycled content.

When you work with a client who appreciates innovation and good design, inspiration tends to flow. This Avalon Beach home melts into the landscape and offers the perfect hideaway, featuring just the right amount of bushland and the right amount of surf.

For more information

Peter Downes Designs

Written by Annabelle Cloros

Photography by Michael Simmons

Originally in Home Design Magazine, Volume 20 Issue 3