In Elizabeth Beach, Australia, architect Shane Blue of Bourne Blue Architecture designed a 2,800-square-foot house with four bedrooms and two bathrooms on a sloping site. "The home is designed to be private and sheltered from the west and south, yet open to the north and east," Blue says.
The house's location on a fire-prone site on the edge of a wooded area posed a challenge for Blue. He used a mix of steel and fire-resistant timber to construct the residence. Another challenge was to "crop out" the neighboring houses so Blue oriented the structure so that it opens to its own garden and views of the forest.
"The idea behind the building is for a grounded, timber element extending along the Western side of the block, which creates a screen for the rest of the site," Blue says. He specified farmed timber, engineered wood for framing, high levels of insulation, and an evacuated tube solar hot water system to help the house become more green. A layout that facilitates cross ventilation helps reduce the need for air conditioning in the summer.
The house was designed to be a permanent residence, though the area is popular for vacationers. Blue created open common areas—like the kitchen he dubbs the "nucleus" of the house—to accommodate extra visitors. To give the owners, a couple in the healthcare industry, privacy, Bourne placed their room on the upper level.
A bank of built-in shelves lines the hallway.
The bathroom features floor-to-ceiling glass walls and louvered windows to help the narrow space feel larger.