Innovative architectural solutions were key to this inspired rural dwelling.
Only minutes away from the outskirts of suburbia is this charismatic creation. It’s nestled in a quiet rural valley and boasts dramatic views of natural surroundings.
The owners were familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of their environment, having lived onsite in a humble tin shed for some time. They knew the land well and devised a brief for Graham Jones Design that posed great potential. They were after a contemporary reinterpretation of the country vernacular, one that would ultimately engage with the landscape with dramatic views, privacy and tranquillity. To reach the home, you make your way along a sweeping driveway bordered by interesting landscape, including original existing sheds, and a view across a large dam, farmed fields and wooded hillsides. It’s a carefully choreographed entrance that takes full advantage of the surroundings and heightens a sense of privacy.
Follow the local drystone wall and you’ll reach the dwelling’s entrance. The home includes four bedrooms, with master bedroom and living area strategically positioned to run lengthwise along the construction to boast picturesque views. The building is worked in a box-like shape that has been angled, both in plan and elevation, to cradle the banks of the dam and work handin- hand with the natural slope. At the end of the home you’ll find a private zone and garage space which allow for a large courtyard to be worked into the design, along with a formal courtyard space. The kitchen is the heart of the living zone. It sits on a shared elevated point of the home with the living space, taking advantage of the northerly views and also creating the mesmerising illusion that you’re standing on the banks of the dam. It’s a breathtaking sight that’s complemented by an infinity-edge pool that exudes a sense of tranquillity and beauty just outside the kitchen space. And there’s no excuse to miss this dreamy view; Graham Jones Design ensured you can relish it even if your back is turned during food preparation, by including mirror-finished splashbacks that reflect the outdoors. Expansive glazing throughout the home also invites the natural environment in, as does an outdoor kitchen and decking area. Raw materials are the foundation of the home’s palette. This plays on the site’s drama and was a standout feature that pleased both designer and client.
Spotted gum timber has a strong presence and is suspended to create an elevated viewing platform, while the Corten steel panels and raw render volumes anchor the house to the land. The beauty of the claddings is that they are allowed to weather, and were applied in a natural and subtle manner to promote the character and charm through this process. The interior design is modern and sleek, with clean lines. It’s worked in a neutral palette that highlights the vibrancy of the outdoors and enhances the feel of openness. A closer look at the structure reveals fascinating features. It has been worked and crafted with close attention to detail, which the team at Graham Jones Design kept an eye on throughout the process.
“Particular construction methods were constantly discussed on site and the re-detailing of components, closely done together with the builder, enabled ease of fabrication,” says David Hammond from Graham Jones Design. It seems only fitting that a design that reflects the vast beauty of the outdoors includes a variety of sustainable features. These comprise passive heating and cooling methods, such as slab heating and ducted reverse-cycle electric heating and cooling and cross ventilation designed into the space, too. Rain water collection and grey water are treated on site for all domestic needs and there are double-glazed windows. The timber used in the construction originated from managed plantations.
The aim of the project was to balance the comfort and necessities of day-to-day life with the relationship with the surrounding landscape. It’s a structure that successfully marries the two worlds with a carefully considered material palette and specific architectural principles. The family home was big on ideas and modestly makes a statement that not only exceeded the client’s expectations, but also opened up a new direction for the designer.