The Freshwater house: designed as a weathered timber crate
This beachside home at North Freshwater, with ocean views to North Head, was designed by Brewster Hjorth Architects for a family of five who wanted a house open to the views and the weather while providing privacy and a sense of separation for the children and the bedrooms. The house was to be robust and low maintenance and able to weather the exposed location as well as accommodate the owners collection of mid 20th century furniture and art objects.
The idea of the building is of a weathered timber crate, jetsam tossed upon a rocky headland, providing cave-like shelter below a raised viewing platform. That basic idea was developed to include an excavated ground plane on the gently sloping site and a series of protective concrete walls. This created a sheltering courtyard around which the children’s bedrooms are gathered. Above this robust base, a timber box clad in recycled hardwood planking provides an elevated platform for family living, with unbroken vistas of the beach and coast. A recessed white cube tops the house with the bedroom and ensuite for the parents and an elevated deck that provides a venue for parties and entertaining. An interesting external palette of concrete, hardwood, glass and copper has been selected and left raw while inside fixed joinery supports the collected furniture items with a strong palette of contrasting timber veneers in Ebony and Oregon.
[photography by Christian Mushenko]