Bass Coast Farmhouse, Victoria, Australia

The form is indisputably farm-like. So, do we care that the house is not on a farm, neither are the owners farmers? No we don’t, as the Bass Coast Farmhouse, designed by Melbourne-based John Wardle Architects, is just too beautiful to ignore.

The architects write that the shape and the name relate to a traditional Australian farmhouse, but it has a definite generic farmhouse sensibility to which we can all relate.

Located on a 66-hectare wild and bare beach plot on the Bass Coast, that is part of the Gippsland region of southeastern Victoria, the 374.5 square-metre (4,031 sq.ft) house is a recreational property enjoyed by multiple generations of one family.

As much as we love the basic minimalist form – wood-clad exterior, uniform flat mansard roof covering the entire compound, one massive exposed chimney – we especially like the low profile that respects the bleak landscape. The structure sits low in the slightly elevated terrain and shelters everything from the strong winds that batter this area.

Inside the structure, living spaces surround an inner courtyard. What appears to be a one-storey house from the outside, ends up being on two levels. The undercroft serves as the cellar, laundry and storage, and the lower level includes also an outdoor kitchen and dining area.

The main living areas are on the upper level including bedrooms and an open kitchen, dining and living areas. From this level, large windows open up to striking views of the surrounding nature. The house is also completely off-grid and self-sufficient in terms of energy.

In this house, a dorm-like casualness combines beautifully with understated luxury. The entire compound is relaxed and sparse but no comforts have been overlooked. It is open, inviting and free-flowing, yet it also has an aura of cozy protection and sheltering.

When the house is unoccupied, exterior shutters cover the windows and the now entirely wooden box is ready to take on any weather the harsh nature throws at it. Tuija Seipell

Photographer: Trevor Mein

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