There are places for which the only suitable description is “a place to breathe.” Over the years, we have featured quite a few of these for the obvious reason that we absolutely love the kind of tranquility that is evident in them.
They are not all the same, but there is a clear lack of visual noise and an intangible sense of balance in all of them.
The multiple-award-winning Bermagui Beach House designed by Melbourne-based Winter Architecture is an absolutely perfect example of just such a space. The house is an embrace and a sanctuary while also being sublimely beautiful and seriously functional.
In this house, the subtle transformation of outdoors into indoors and back creates a feeling of unhindered freedom and flexibility.
The owners were already familiar with the area and its landscape and wanted their beach house to respect both in a timeless manner.
The architects designed the outer skin of the house out of raw timber and glass giving sun, sand and wind the opportunity to acclimatize the house to the location, and weather and camouflage it better and better each year.
The subtly greying wood and the large glass openings create a sense of lightness that helps the structure appear minimally intrusive and smaller less solid than it actually is.
The house consists of three key pavilions — for living, sleeping and guests — that spread over multiple levels. On each level, windows, doors and slats can be opened and closed to maximise the benefit of natural light and ventilation.
The colour scheme of the house exterior and of the plants in the garden is echoed throughout the interior as well. Subtle, light, soft and natural hues of brown, grey, sand and whites dominate each space. Every surface is also considered for its texture and tactile pleasure and durable function.
There are no fences within or around the property, or strict barriers between indoors and outdoors. Landscape architect Kelly Royle www.kellyroulela.com.au created subtle planted indications of where the edges of the property are without creating obvious boundaries.
Winter Architecture has offices in Fitzroy, an inner suburb of Melbourne, and in Torquay, a seaside resort about 80 kilometres southwest of Melbourne.
Bermagui Beach is a seaside town on the Sapphire Coast of New South Wales. It is about five hours’ drive from Sydney and 3.5 hours’ drive from Canberra. Its Blue Pool is considered to be one of the most beautiful of the more than 100 ocean-fed rock pools on this coast. Tuija Seipell
Images by Jack Mounsey.