Six tier home with wide, open spans provides great indoor-outdoor living

Coastal home made from compressed concrete with limestone and blackbutt floors features a bowling alley, day spa, wine tasting room, and lane pool

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This expansive home is formed in compressed concrete with wide clear spans. Cantilevered concrete awnings, some with skylights cut into them, soar out above the alfresco areas. The home has three lifts, and six kitchens, with some levels operating as individual apartments. Twenty-four industrial solar cells supply hot water to the bathrooms, spas, pool, and underfloor heating.

Think of the intricate interiors of the nautilus seashell, then imagine it unfurled into long runs of sectioned elements. This unravelled seaside icon was the inspiration for one of Australia's largest and grandest contemporary homes.

Called Nautilus, the residence was constructed by Sammut Developments and designed by Innovate Architects together with major input from the owner with architect Cameron Jones at the helm.

The scale of Nautilus is impressive, says co-owner of Sammut Developments, John Sammut. With a roof area of 3950m² and sprawled over six stepped levels, the home includes seven bedrooms, parking for 20 cars, a bowling alley, a wine cellar, and a subterranean tunnel that leads to the property's newly built private beach and a restored 123-year-old, two-tier boathouse.

"The house is designed in wings, essentially four self-contained apartments," Cameron Jones says. "The owner wanted a home that felt like a resort so family and friends could come and stay."

Nautilus is designed to nestle within the site, to sit comfortably with its neighbours and not impact the foreshore. From the street, it's hardly seen, screened by extensive landscaped gardens and large trees. There are also two private car tunnels carved out of sandstone leading to the home's two underground garages, while two driveways access visitor parking and the entry.

The home spans four blocks of waterfront land and setting it partly into the hill required the excavation of 6500m³ of sandstone, the equivalent to three-and-a-half Olympic pools.

A day spa with steam room is one ceiling, floor, flooring, hardwood, interior design, laminate flooring, living room, lobby, real estate, wood flooring, white
A day spa with steam room is one of the many lavish features in this resort-style residence.

"As well as half of it being essentially underground, the home is constructed almost entirely in slabs of high-strength compressed concrete."

It is testament to the skill of Cameron Jones that the cavernous, semi-subterranean structure blossomed into an inviting, liveable home.

The close collaboration between Innovate, EB Interiors, Sammut and the engineering consultants allowed for the creation of dramatic clear span structures and cantilevers, says Jones.

"This helped break down the residence's monolithic form and allowed the interiors to flow out to the many garden and entertaining areas," the architect says. "The contemporary, linear design is enhanced by the extensive use of natural stonework and feature zinc roofs.

"The owner had many great ideas such as the use of windows looking through the excavated sandstone, which became a highlight throughout. The recurrence of roasted blackbutt timber and limestone, carried across all floors, helps create the resort feel so important to the client."

There are a number of architectural features inside the home. The spiral staircase from the entry to the children's level echoes the Nautilus seashell, with each tread more tightly curved and larger to reflect the golden spiral ratio.

Red velvet drapes add a touch of vibrancy ceiling, interior design, room
Red velvet drapes add a touch of vibrancy to this study in a luxury coastal home.

"We also designed a green wall into another staircase to boost air quality and as a feature," says Jones. "There's a wealth of intricate detailing in the custom joinery throughout the house. Our true innovation came in linking each area and level. A strong use of lineal design and materials was needed to bring a project of this scale together and make it feel like a home."

EB Interiors produced a stylistically sleek and refined look, with the choice of finishes bringing softness to the minimalist, linear forms of the architecture. This juxtaposition is taken a step further with the use of reclaimed and recycled building materials in key areas of the home.

"The owner bought hundreds of thousands of reclaimed bricks for the walls of the garage and bowling alley. These were laid with inbuilt arches to replicate an old train tunnel siding. The bricks and the recycled floorboards in the owner's personal garage add another layer of complexity and character to the home.

"As the brief was to create a resort-like destination we had to design many elements not often seen in a home such as a day spa with steam room, a wine tasting room, a hidden music cave, and a bowling alley," says Jones. "There's also a 25m-long swimming pool. And the intricacy of the design even allows the owner, who has a passion for cars, to drive right up to the kitchen."

Credit list

Cameron Jones,
Jones Nicholson
Kitchen manufacturer
UTJ Joinery
Dyna-fix Commercial
Marble Plus, Di Lorenzo Tiles
Calacatta marble
Control systems
Smart Home Solutions
Developer and builder
Interior and kitchen designers
Emma Buchan and Alex Mason, EB Interiors
Compressed concrete
Blackbutt, from Nash Timbers; limestone
Kitchen cabinets
Veneer, custom colour
Sydney Lighting Solutions

Story by: Charles Moxham

Photography by: Keith McInnes

07 Sep, 2016

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