Beachcomber

as featured in
Focused on the views but sheltered from the fiercest sun, this seaside home's simple form belies its strategic make-up
Exterior view of this beach house nestled amongst architecture, city, estate, home, house, landscape, neighbourhood, plant, property, real estate, residential area, sky, suburb, tree, villa, teal
Exterior view of this beach house nestled amongst coastal flora & fauna featuring extensive gazing, terraces & glass balustrades, low pitched roof

Sometimes the simplicity of a home's appearance can fail to give a true indication of the thought that went into designing it. In such cases, the true wisdom of its well-considered elements may not become apparent until the owners move in and appreciate its open views and day-to-day comfort at their leisure.

This beach house, by architect Richard Szklarz, is a strategic reaction to both its environment and the client's need for an easy family lifestyle almost coincidentally, the home has a strong sculptural appeal.

Several factors were addressed by the architect that contributed to the home's distinctive, contemporary appearance.

"With interceding dunes a potential impediment between the site and the ocean views, I designed a two-level home, with the living areas located upstairs," says Szklarz. "The home is fronted with an extended wall of glass on the ocean side, which creates one long viewing platform."

On the opposite, less scenic side of the residence, the views are effectively closed down with only small windows and a copper mesh feature screen in evidence. The screen admits natural light onto the kitchen's work surfaces inside but limits visual connection to the street.

"This low-maintenance mesh will develop a patina over time, creating its own history. In addition, ivy will grow up through the mesh, creating a leafy screen that changes with the seasons," he says.


View of the Kitchen an surrounding living areas architecture, cabinetry, countertop, floor, flooring, furniture, interior design, kitchen, product design, wood, gray, black
View of the Kitchen an surrounding living areas featuring timber veneer cabinetry, stainlesss steel kitchen appliances, tiled flooring, dining table & chairs, lounge suite

The home is built in a climate where the sun can be cruel as well as kind, so the design offers a careful response to solar gain.

"While the home faces north to the waves, the roof slopes downwards from east to west," he says. "At the higher eastern end, a mild morning sun is admitted in controlled form through horizontal slit windows both under the eaves and midway up the wall. This lower window was specifically placed to allow sunlight to glance across the dining table inside.

"The western wall, however, presents a smaller, windowless face to the harsh afternoon sun, helping to keep the house cool. On the northern, scenic side the roof overhang also provides valuable shade."

The home's interior accurately follows, or even directs, the family's lifestyle. While parents sleep upstairs, children and guests are given their own private kingdom downstairs. Thus the views are best appreciated by grownup eyes and the beach is the shortest possible scamper away for adolescent feet. Throughout the home form follows function even the external stairs providing a dusting-off for sandy feet before they ascend to the living areas.

Like the copper mesh feature, the residence is largely maintenance free. This is a god-send in a home designed for getting away from it all. The materials are uniform and durable, both inside and out, and the colour palette is equally uncomplicated another plus when the residence's main star is intended to be the scenery.

On the exterior, concrete plaster offers a neutral-look, highly durable surface, while on the interior, a glass-faced cement render finish holds sway right through the home.

Floor plan of this beachside home area, design, diagram, floor plan, line, plan, product design, schematic, text, white
Floor plan of this beachside home

"This textured finish is created from natural cement mixed with yellow sand and then applied with a steel trowel," says Szklarz. "The result is a highly polished, hard-wearing, and water-resistant surface, well suited to a seaside getaway."

Similarly, fully vitrified floor tiles are found throughout the floors of the home, even forming the floors of the shower stalls and the treads of the external stairs.

Generally, the interior lines are kept simple, as with the materials palette, in deference to the scenery. However, a wave-shaped bulkhead provides homage to the seaside location and shadowlines provide a pencil-thin negative detail.

"Introducing shadowlines allowed for the near-meeting of the ceiling plaster and glass cement, without the design clutter of connecting cornices," he says.

From its sturdy galvanised garage door on one side to the seamless glass balustrade fronting the sea on the other, this home is literally made for its surroundings.

Mar 31, 2007

Credit list

Builder
ER + LU Szklarz
Window and door hardware
Wallcoverings
Cement render, steel trowel finish
Lighting
Illumination
Furniture
Baileys
Kitchen designer
Richard Szklarz Architects
Cabinets
New Age Veneer
Sink
Oliveri
Oven, hob, microwave, refrigerator and dishwasher
Miele
Vanity cabinetry
KD Woodcraft
Basin
Vitra
Window and door joinery
Shelley Glass
Floors
Rhine tiles from Forezzi tiles
Paint
Solver
Heating
Rylex Airconditioning
Control systems
C-Bus
Kitchen manufacturers
KD Woodcraft
Benchtop and splashback
Trafficstone Arena
Taps
Grohe
Feature screen
Copper pipes
Bath
Kaldewei
Taps
Grohe
We know the specialists