Prominent beachfront sites must be on most people’s wishlists. But even this one at Tamarama on a cliff face, has its setbacks – including the thousands of people who regularly walk past this well-trafficked coastal route, along with the battering from the winds and salt air.
However, on the plus side, the views over the Pacific Ocean were a drawcard for the owner, a single guy who was looking to build a family home, even before he had a partner or children. He was also keen to provide accommodation for his elderly parents and guests travelling from interstate or overseas. As the owner, a property developer, regularly travels to the United States, he was also keen to have a well-secured and low-maintenance home. The brief also called for a design that was timeless.
Just over 400 square metres in area, with a slope of approximately 3.5 metres towards the street, Bennett Murada Architects provided a three-level home that would take advantage of the views, but also create a level of separation and privacy from the weekend crowds.
As the house needed to be robust due to its location, the materials chosen were local sandstone, concrete, spotted gum, a fibreglass roof (not dissimilar to the material used to make surfboards) and generous glazing to frame views over the headlands. As with the fibreglass roof that speaks to the surf, the spotted gum timber, used to partially clad the exterior, has a crate-like feel, blurring the division between inside and out.
As the property abuts a large house to the north, the northern elevation features a high blade wall that frames the home’s main circulation spine. The ground level also features a podium that includes garaging for three cars, a gymnasium, a cellar and a tasting room. And rather the traditional front door, access to the home is via a timber-slatted front gate that leads to a courtyard, complete with an outdoor shower, allowing sand to be removed after returning from the beach. Enclosed with board-printed concrete walls, there’s a sense of containment and respite from the passing foot traffic. By the time one reaches the middle level, which includes the open plan kitchen, dining and living area, along with the guest suite and pool to the rear, there’s a sense of calm and tranquillity.
For Bennett Murada Architects, the challenge was to create a private oasis but one that, at the same time, responded to its magical setting. Window seats in the living area allow for the views to be enjoyed at all times of the day, with the large sliding doors further blurring the division between inside and out.
And as the views increase with every level change, so does the anticipation, with the top floor including two bedrooms and a bathroom, alongwith the main bedroom suite that features an office area. With generous floor-to-ceiling glazing, along with wrap around balconies, there’s a sense of staying at a luxurious hotel without having to leave home.