Designing a ‘Sit-On-the-View’ Beach House

After the Qualia resort, another challenging project came along for Australian studio Pike Withers Interior Architecture. The dare came from a client that had a private residence in Palm Beach, New South Wales, Australia.

You might say the calm sea nearby was the main influence for the design, since the client requested a calm and relaxed home. Moreover, he wanted the house to emphasize the view- ‘to be able to sit on the view’ to put it in his own words. It’s easy to understand such a demand, since the surroundings are spectacular in this Northern beachside suburb of Sydney.

The designers were keen on avoiding the Bali resort style and tried to maintain the Australian atmosphere of the house as striking as possible. This required extra thinking on creating a concept house with areas flowing one into another and creating the open-space effect. The laid-back feeling the owner desired resulted in a large social space that had to be balanced with a couple of intimate spaces. The living and kitchen areas were changed and balconies were extended. Banquettes were installed all over the house to emphasize the relaxed tone of the house.

One of the most important changes the architects made was to include an automated sliding roof that created a sky-is-the-limit illusion. This open-up house was based on the principle of spaces that bring more space and this retractable roof put the principle to practice.

A refurbishment project means that some of the old elements in the house have to be kept. The architects kept that constantly in mind and this way they avoided unnecessary demolition of parts of the house. The large timber beams in the house were kept and re-used by including them into the interior design.

Another characteristic of the house improved by the project was the comfort it radiates. Some changes were necessary in ventilation and light penetration. These two were modified to create open spaces. More control over the elements of the house was created by customization. On this chapter, the architects used sliding timber and glass louvered screens. It created flexibility and reduced the need for artificial heating, cooling and light.

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