Located in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, this interior and landscape project to a 1930s weatherboard and rock house offers a careful manipulation of dark and light to suit the particular needs of a writer with a predilection for darkness and exploit the site's broad established garden outlook. Oriented east-west along the contour of a dramatically sloping site, the existing house comprised a labyrinthine living, entry, kitchen and study with limited access to southern slope and long bedroom wings strung either side along narrow hallways. A little west of the main house, a small cottage breaks up the mass of the larger dwelling.
Our approach involved demolishing the partition walls in the living area to produce one large kitchen and dining space bisected by dark and light spaces of differing spatial character and scale.
The living area is envisaged as a dark, introspective space hunkered like a cave at the base of the slope. An existing timber ceiling chamfered at its junction with the window has been retained and is accentuated by a new timber bench seat, which floats above the floor to enhance the horizontal compression of the space. Conversely, the kitchen has been envisaged as a bright expansive centre to the house, connecting the expansive views down the northern slope with views up the southern slope through the provision of a new south facing horizontal window.
Accommodating the client’s bedroom, writing room and a series of self-sufficient guests bedrooms, each with its own ensuite, the bedroom wing adopts a pale material palette with dark stone selections to the ensuites continuing the themes of dark and light.
Photography by Jeremy Wright