Find out why this Melbourne home’s glamorous take on beach style is turning heads

Tessa Pearson
·2-min read
Photo credit: Derek Swalwell
Photo credit: Derek Swalwell

With a sweeping outline that echoes the contours of its coastal location, this contemporary Australian home is a striking addition to the small town of Flinders on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.

Architecture firm Woods Bagot eschewed the traditional typology of the neighbouring coastal cottages and timber properties, choosing instead to design a second home for the owner that works in harmony with the landscape.

To this end, two curved limestone-clad volumes are stacked in a staggered formation, referencing the geology of the rugged cliff they sit upon. Large swathes of glass puncture the building, opening it up to the ocean, and the morning sunrises.

Photo credit: Derek Swalwell
Photo credit: Derek Swalwell

Behind the façade, the drama continues, with a dark and textural scheme that creates a sense of refuge. ‘The design is sympathetic to the house’s situation, allowing its inhabitants to feel protected by the building while experiencing the full impact of the exhilarating location,’ says Woods Bagot’s CEO Nik Karalis, who collaborated with interior design studio Hecker Guthrie and stylist Simone Haag on the interiors.

Photo credit: Derek Swalwell
Photo credit: Derek Swalwell

A cohesive palette of limestone, charcoal-stained timber and ash-grey marble runs throughout the three-storey house. The upper level is dedicated to a large main bedroom, as well as a formal dining area – complete with a south-facing deck overlooking the coast. A staircase in wood and stone descends to the ground floor, where the focal point is a streamlined open-plan kitchen and living space. Here, functional elements blend discreetly into the background.

‘The home is a play on restraint and full exposure,’ explains Hecker Guthrie. ‘The opening and closing of different spaces, combined with the considered choice of materials, helps to infuse the interior with a sense of warmth – something that can end up being overlooked in a second home.’

Photo credit: Derek Swalwell
Photo credit: Derek Swalwell

‘The moody palette also inspired the choice of soft furnishings,’ adds Simone Haag, whose careful edit of furniture and accessories was the result of numerous shopping trips with the owner. ‘She wanted the home to be the antithesis of a typical beach house, and needed modesty and display to work in harmony.’ Brass accents and carefully chosen artworks sing out against the dark backdrop, while tactile leather and velvets in rich, muted hues up the comfort factor.

Photo credit: Derek Swalwell
Photo credit: Derek Swalwell

‘The exterior of the house has a strong presence, yet it’s very different inside,’ says Simone of the home’s comforting and cocooning feel. ‘The project deals with two contrasting scales,’ Nik agrees. ‘The building is in balance with the majestic coastal surroundings, while the interior is more intimate, both enveloping its inhabitants and connecting them to nature.’ woodsbagot.com; heckerguthrie.com; simonehaag.com.au

This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration April 2021

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