High on a hill, views and sunshine are on offer – this home really makes most, with optimised outlooks, great solar penetration and passive heating

Designed by Irene Coveney, Coveney Browne Design

From the building designer:

Owner brief

Our owner wanted a bespoke home for their growing family that would incorporate language and materials appropriate to its rural setting.

The site was at the crest of a hill with extensive views across the valley to the north.

The house was to incorporate the principles of passive solar and energy efficient design, provide protection from strong local winds and maximise views over the surrounding landscape.

High ceilings, good natural light and cross ventilation were priorities.

Coming from a farming background, our homeowners have a love of the land so a strong visual and physical connection to the outdoors was essential.

Design solution

Inspired by the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape and the local vernacular, the house sits lightly with a sense of belonging in its environment.

The colours of the land are rich and ever changing – oranges and pinks in granite outcrops, silver lichens, dark trunks of weathered trees, greens in winter, gold and reds in summer.

In response, self-weathering materials were chosen for the house: galvanised steel, timber, Zincalume and engineered stone.

These materials will develop their own patina and reflect the character of the landscape at any given time while referencing the character and context of many nearby agricultural buildings.

The house settles into the hillside, turning its back to the cold south and opening up to the north, taking advantage of views, natural light and winter sun.

An engineered masonry wall to the south protects from prevailing winds and, combined with the burnished concrete slab, provides excellent thermal mass.

An east west axis ensures all primary rooms have a north facing aspect.

By staggering the plan form we created two separate sheltered outdoor areas which provide protection from winds and privacy from neighbours.

The car port shades the house from the west and the kitchen opens onto an east-facing breakfast terrace.

Deciduous planting will cover the pergola above providing summer shade but allowing winter sun to penetrate.

Three separate skillion roofs over the living wing, the bedroom wing and the outdoor living area create a dynamic, contemporary aesthetic.

These are carefully positioned to provide protection from sun, wind, and rain.

An elevated deck runs along the front of the house allowing the natural terrain to continue below.

This casts a deep shadow, so the house appears to float above the landscape, offering an edge to sit on and appreciate the changing views throughout the seasons.

At night, the lights of Beverly town can be seen across the valley.

Traditional lightweight sheet materials are offset against the richness of natural timber and engineered masonry.

Detailing throughout is elegant and simple, using a neutral palette which does not distract from the views which are the primary focus of the house.

Large, glazed sliding doors provide a panorama of the principal view to the north – extending the indoor living spaces out and drawing the exterior in.

Other opportunities were taken to frame secondary views wherever possible.

Window seats provide picture frame views, like paintings on the wall, of granite outcrops and existing trees to the rear of the house.

Credit list

Warden Construction
Zincalume Spandeck
Window/door joinery
Commercial frame, aluminium, by Jason Windows
Painted Gyprock, typically
Wood burning stove
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Highly Commended
Niall Browne, Coveney Browne Design
Zincalume Custome Orb; cfc sheeting by James Hardie
Louvre systems
Breezeway louvres
Main flooring
Honed concrete slab typical; tiling to wet areas; carpet to bedrooms
LED downlights, typically

Designed by: Coveney Browne Design

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Heather Robbins

12 Sep, 2021

Home kitchen bathroom commercial design

We know the Specialists

Related Book


We have got all the best ideas and advice to help you with your plans and ideas. 

Read More

Similar Stories