Sorrento is a beautiful coastal town on Victoria’s Mornington peninsula, and I have very fond memories of seemingly endless summer days spent on the beach there. This summer house captures the vibe perfectly in its simplicity and feels just about right on these gorgeous, late September days.
Natural materials reflect the surrounding landscape with timber floorboards, in this case Fir with a white oil finish, and the woody exterior, stained black. Clean white walls reflect the coastal light, with texture provided by the timber lined ceilings, again kept white. The living spaces are open plan with the clever insertion of a log-burning stove and bank of cupboards on one side, and kitchen units on the other. The joinery is kept consistent throughout – white cabinetry and palest grey glass mosaic tiles adding texture and tone wherever a waterproof surface is required. Built-in shelves and a low ledge behind the bed are always a good idea. A second bathroom is kept simple with panels of ply and a reclaimed metal trough.
Scandinavian classics are plentiful with low-slung leather armchairs, Louis Poulsen’s PH5 light, and lots of pieces by Hay and Iittala.
One of the most important elements of good design is context – the way a building sits within its environment, or the way the setting influences the design. Just as design is a response to a set of needs or problems, context shapes the design response. Without context there is only art or decoration. This beautiful Danish summerhouse is a perfect example of context in design – the owner harvested 150 pine trees from the land, then cut them into beams to build his home.
Wood in its different guises create the horizontal planes – panels of ply on the ceiling, knotty pine floor boards. The interconnecting vertical planes are of complimentary materials – steel, glass and brick – all kept in their raw state. A towering, angled chimney made of blonde, double-long bricks sits centrally within the open-plan space, housing the fireplace and oven. A white concrete bench top wraps around the chimney from the kitchen to the living area. The house features large floor-to-ceiling windows, the glazing angling up and folding over to form the roof, creating views up and beyond the trees to the sky. Over the kitchen and dining area, a matte-black roof follows the same plane, then breaks form and folds straight outward, hovering above a patio. Adjacent to the main house is the studio, whose slanted exterior beams and horizontal knotty pine walls repeat those of the primary structure.
The exposed, galvanized-steel framing is echoed in the pendant lamps over the dining table and chair legs; the table was made from the same pine that was milled on-site.