• Garden View Beach House by Craig Steere Architects located in Dunborough, Western Australia
Clients / Dunsborough, Western Australia

…Our clients desired a cost effective custom home design that provided strong connections to the existing lush gardens

  • INFO

    Located in Dunsborough, about 50km from Margaret River, our clients approached us for a custom home design that leveraged the existing site landscape. The site features a lush, colourful Queensland inspired garden established by the previous owner who was a landscaper from the region. Taking cues from the garden design and proximity to the coast, the architecture of the home takes the form of the Queensland beach cottage whilst referencing the beach cottage history of the precinct. The home nestles gently within the garden to provide ample moments for interacting visually and physically with the landscape. As the garden was critical to the brief, the demolition and new construction took into account a build that minimised impact to the site. As a result, the house takes on a simple box form that perches elegantly on slender steel columns. Within the raised portions of the home, generous verandahs provide the home occupants with the ability to connect back with nature, elevating one within the tree canopies. Our clients have always enjoyed the ability to read outside on the verandah while nearby trees and plants rustle softly in the wind. Having the house raised above the sloping site also provided our clients with fantastic ocean views beyond. The large verandahs also function in bringing quality north light deep into the interior of the home. In one portion, the verandah narrows to become an access deck, functioning as a safe platform for our clients to maintain the exterior of their home. To be able to maximise the outlook and working to a sloping site, the design of the home uses a flat pitch roof to work within the height restrictions of the site.

    The home features passive solar design, with apertures to the western sun minimised where possible. One exception to this design intent is the slot window to the hallway. Here, the window acts as a picture frame, giving occupants a view out into the rear garden. Towards the south side, highlight windows continue to let natural light into the home, while maintaining privacy from the adjoining properties.

    Thematically, the design concept maintains consistency with many of the home designs within the Margaret River region that opt for beachside style living. The scale of the home reflects our client’s brief for an architect designed holiday home that was low maintenance whilst being adequate for our clients to accommodate their children and grandchildren who come to visit. Spatial planning takes into consideration the separation of spaces, with the retreat spaces for the grandparents, children and grandchildren respectively. This was generally spread across the three levels of the home, including the undercroft as a means for providing spaces where the family can easily come together to spend quality time with each other, and at other times providing quiet spaces for respite. Our clients would typically occupy the upper level for general day to day living. The massing of the home is controlled for simplicity in budget, but more importantly, for a minimal footprint on site. Having the home set back generously from the street helps to give it a friendly street presence. This also sets the approach for the home; driving down an avenue of trees to arrive at the house, one gets a sense that this is a home that is garden first.

    The material selection for the interior design is disciplined, opting for materials readily available from the locality, or being low-maintenance to tie in with the beachside styling of the home’s exterior. Jarrah salvaged from the existing dwelling provided timber utilized throughout the house, cabinetry and loose furniture items such as dining tables and bench seats. Decking timber is intended to weather naturally to enhance the beachside design concept. Existing timber window and doors have been saved to be utilised for a future greenhouse structure. Weatherboard CFC paneling clad the exterior of the home, to be painted in colour tones that references the garden. Polycarbonate cladding, a translucent material, is also used to emphasise a lightweight structure and avoid visually anchoring the home to the ground.