9-11 May 2023
ICC Sydney


Jul 20, 2017 Architecture

Traditional country homes often feature broad eaves, small windows and sometimes a balcony out the front. However, given our climate, these period homesteads often appear ill matched.

“When you’re surrounded by bush, why would you build walls around you?” says Nick Carr, director of Intermode and a director of Carr Design. “When you’re fortunate to have unimpeded vistas, with no neighbours in sight, why would you design a house with small windows and walls that remove you from this unique environment?” says Carr, pointing out the distant bay views from the house he designed at Red Hill, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.

The spacious Red Hill house, approximately 500 square metres in area, only features a main bedroom and a study. Designed for a couple who enjoy the generosity of the space, extended family and friends are accommodated in a period timber home on the same property. “We have over a dozen houses on the ‘books’ (Victoria, New South Wales and in South East Queensland) at present, using this streamlined approach to architecture,” says Carr, who felt there was an opening in the market for well-designed homes out of the city, be it beach or country.

Red Hill House by Intermode

Carr took the aesthetics of Carr Design, known for its clean and simple lines, to a less architectural solution for clients wanting a more economical, but still beautifully designed, house. The low-slung Red Hill house is clad in timber and stained in a dark charcoal and features extensive glazing on either side of the elongated open plan kitchen, living and dining area. Instead of one balcony or terrace, Intermode included a series of smaller terraces, each one connected to the living areas. This allows the owners to enjoy having breakfast with the morning light, or alternatively, having cocktails on another terrace at the end of the day. “Having extensive glazing either side allows you to appreciate the outlook wherever you happen to find yourself,” says Carr.

The owners of the Red Hill house also took Intermode’s design a step further by requesting more ‘luxe’ finishes offered by Carr Design’s interiors team. The kitchen joinery, for example, was customised, as were the bookshelves in the study. “The design is still based on our repetitive 1.2-metre-wide modules, but the finishes are unique to this house,” says Carr, who sees the benefit, not only in cost, but also in the time taken, to build one of his Intermode homes, (approximately 24 to 28 weeks, compared to the time generally taken to build an architect-designed house of sometimes up to two years in duration).

Kitchen of Red Hill House by Intermode

Architect Peter Woolard, director of Studio 101 Architects, also designed a country house with generous floor-to-ceiling glazing. Located at Ceres, a fifteen-minute drive from Geelong, the owners decided to move to a more rural environment (previously living in Geelong). “They wanted the sense of space and not having to deal with neighbours on their ‘doorstep’,” says Woolard.

Ceres House by Studio 101 Architects. Image Credit Peter Hyatt.

The land to build the Ceres house was carved off from one of the few period homes nearby (a couple of hundred metres away). Built in the early twentieth century, this sandstone house did provide a starting point in Woolard’s design. “I’ve used sandstone as well corrugated zincalume,” says Woolard, pointing out the zinculume roof that clads one of the walls and extends to form the roof. Chunky timber beams and trusses, evocative of a farmhouse, also feature in Woolard’s design. The fireplace in the lounge also features sandstone, strengthening the connection to the exterior materials.

The Ceres house is relatively modest in scale, with the open plan kitchen, living and dining area at ground level, with two open mezzanines on either side, overlooking the void. One mezzanine accommodates a library/retreat, while the other mezzanine includes the main bedroom suite and study nook. “Our clients wanted the spaces to be flexible, but to ensure the spaces were kept as open as possible,” says Woolard, who initially designed sliding screens for both mezzanines to allow for greater privacy. “But when you’re not surrounded by neighbours, why cut yourself off from this wonderful bush setting.” Few, if any, would disagree!

Intermode can be contacted on 03 9665 2300 or at intermode.com.au
Studio 101 Architects can be contacted on 03 5221 9131 or at studio101.com.au

About the Author: Stephen Crafti

Stephen Crafti has been writing about design and architecture since the early 1990s and is a regular contributor to 米6米乐体育. Inspired by the architecture around him in Melbourne, Australia, he was keen to share the things he saw, whether buildings, furniture, fashion or other stunning pieces of contemporary design. After many years of wri ting about his favourite things, and with numerous books and articles behind him, Crafti still delights in discovering and promoting exhilarating design. He is a regular contributor to several Australian newspapers and local and international design magazines.

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