Inside Out Magazine Nov/Dev 13 - Coast to Coast

Crafted by family for family, this beach house is a modern retreat that will stand the test of time.

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Traditionally beach houses don't receive the same type of attention as an established home. It's all about function over style. This home, however, set on Victoria's Point Lonsdale, deftly dispels that idea. Created by builder David McDonald, the weekend boasts some seriously impressive architectural features while also happily catering for flexible family holiday living. David's insight into the owners' needs all came down to some inside information; the owner is his brother Peter. Putting their strong sibling bond to the test, Peter and his Danish wife Lis commissioned the holiday home hoping for an ideal family escape for themselves and their kids Johanna and Charlie. David couldn't have done a better job; delivering up some handsome natural finishes, an open floorplan and set over three levels a mere 200 metres from the ocean, this holiday home is a place of sun-filled relaxation. Incorporating a central lap pool and a curved rammed earth wall, there's a certain sophisticated edge to the seaside sanctuary. We get the inside scoop...

David, you have a penchant for unique design. How would you describe your aesthetic? I’m drawn to high quality and durable homes finished with a critical eye for detail, but at the same time keeping the design and materials simple and natural.

This home has the advantage of being set on such a large piece of land, right near the beach.  What appealed to you the most about this project? Set among the local established vegetation, the design was screaming out for a very contemporary yet earthy and natural finish to mould into the beautiful surroundings.  This was an opportunity for a strong design to hold its own years after construction had been completed – I wanted there to be a real sense of longevity about the home.

You started with the lap pool, with the remainder of the project completed around it.  What other challenges did this create for your build? We were on a timeline for the home to be completed before Christmas, as Lis’s family was arriving from Denmark to celebrate the summer holidays on the coast here. But being my sister-in-law, she was a very good client and there was no pressure from her.  We did manage to finish within the timeframe, with construction taking 11 months.  It wasn’t without its hurdles though, the curved rammed earth wall stood eight metres in height and required heavy machinery to be maneuvered around the pool, which was often an incredibly delicate job.

The curved rammed earth wall was a stroke of genius – how do you attempt to construct something that is so out of the box? The idea of a straight feature wall seemed too run of the mill, so we wanted to construct a curved wall on such a scale that it would break up the traditional straight lines of the home. I was also eager to push the envelope on this project and take it one step further, especially as our team has experience with feature rammed earth walls so we know exactly how to make it work.

The kitchen and living area is beautiful and functional.  How did you incorporate the need for modern indoor/outdoor living into this space? The kitchen and living area is the hub of the home and we wanted it to be the main focus in the design.  The kitchen bench is where the meals are prepared and shared and the day’s happenings discussed.  With this in mind, we designed this area to have direct access to the northern deck and the view of the central pool to make full use of the curved rammed earth wall.

Wording and styling by Julia Green
Photography by Armelle Habib

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