written by:
photos by:
December 6, 2010

Having admired a project by Shane Blue of Bourne + Blue Architecture in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, James and Sue O’Sullivan asked the architect to help them create a beachside family compound in Diamond Beach, about a two-hour drive from their main house. Completed this year, the resulting structure, which comprises four main components wrapped around a central courtyard, easily accommodates the couple and their five children, ranging in age from 23 to 16, as well as extended family and friends. To keep maintenance costs down and to reduce the sizeable home’s carbon footprint, Blue used composite plywood and plantation pine throughout, as well as low-VOC paint, low-e glazing and LED lighting. He installed photovoltaic panels, a hot-water recirculating pump and two large corrugated steel bins that store 5,000 gallons of rainwater just outside the building. When the O’Sullivans aren’t using the house, which was completed in spring, they allow it to be used as a vacation rental.

At a house in New South Wales, Australia, by Shane Blue of Bourne + Blue Architecture, a huge sliding door greets visitors and keeps things out of the way. Photo by Simon Whitbread. 

Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
1 / 19
The entrance door slides shut to protect the house from sand and wind—it is located just beyond the large sand dunes at Diamond Beach. Bedrooms and bunkrooms flank the entrance.
The entrance door slides shut to protect the house from sand and wind—it is located just beyond the large sand dunes at Diamond Beach. Bedrooms and bunkrooms flank the entrance.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
2 / 19
The layout.
The layout.
Photo by 
3 / 19
All rooms are accessible through the interior courtyard, which is raised several feet off the ground. Large sliders open to the living and dining areas; at right is one of two private hammock decks.
All rooms are accessible through the interior courtyard, which is raised several feet off the ground. Large sliders open to the living and dining areas; at right is one of two private hammock decks.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
4 / 19
The same view with the exterior shutters closed. “The informality and openness of the building means that you can transition from the beach to a hammock with little fuss and without seeing another soul,” says James O’Sullivan.
The same view with the exterior shutters closed. “The informality and openness of the building means that you can transition from the beach to a hammock with little fuss and without seeing another soul,” says James O’Sullivan.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
5 / 19
A sliding screen shelters the barbecue deck while still allowing light in.
A sliding screen shelters the barbecue deck while still allowing light in.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
6 / 19
Taking a cue from camper pop-outs, Blue extended a portion of the living room seat outward. “The one variation to the architectural pattern is the living room bay window, which pops out of the main wall line to create a sunny seat,” he says.
Taking a cue from camper pop-outs, Blue extended a portion of the living room seat outward. “The one variation to the architectural pattern is the living room bay window, which pops out of the main wall line to create a sunny seat,” he says.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
7 / 19
“At night the house comes alive, with shadows from the garden and screens creating interesting images and an eerie sensation of nature coming into the building,” says O’Sullivan. The room beyond is the kids’ bunkroom and TV/hangout area; the small door le
“At night the house comes alive, with shadows from the garden and screens creating interesting images and an eerie sensation of nature coming into the building,” says O’Sullivan. The room beyond is the kids’ bunkroom and TV/hangout area; the small door leads to surfboard storage. At right is one of the hammock decks.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
8 / 19
“The house has a very particular atmosphere, as it looks in on itself to the courtyard,” says O’Sullivan.
“The house has a very particular atmosphere, as it looks in on itself to the courtyard,” says O’Sullivan.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
9 / 19
The open kitchen and dining area.
The open kitchen and dining area.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
10 / 19
The room extends into the main living area, illuminated by energy-saving LED lighting. At right is the “popout” bay window, filled with banquette seating.
The room extends into the main living area, illuminated by energy-saving LED lighting. At right is the “popout” bay window, filled with banquette seating.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
11 / 19
The pitched-roof main living area, with generous banquette seating continuing around the perimeter. “My 23-year-old daughter has taken groups of university friends up for relaxing weekends,” says O’Sullivan. “And during school holidays I took my son Henry
The pitched-roof main living area, with generous banquette seating continuing around the perimeter. “My 23-year-old daughter has taken groups of university friends up for relaxing weekends,” says O’Sullivan. “And during school holidays I took my son Henry and five of his 16-year-old friends for a week of surfing, fishing, card games and mischief.”
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
12 / 19
One of two identical parents’ bedrooms, each located in two corners of the house. “Sue and I have on occasion spent some quiet weekends alone in the house doing odd jobs,” notes O’Sullivan.
One of two identical parents’ bedrooms, each located in two corners of the house. “Sue and I have on occasion spent some quiet weekends alone in the house doing odd jobs,” notes O’Sullivan.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
13 / 19
The architect continued the open-plan feeling into one of two full baths (there is another half bath); on the other side of the shower wall is the courtyard’s outdoor shower.
The architect continued the open-plan feeling into one of two full baths (there is another half bath); on the other side of the shower wall is the courtyard’s outdoor shower.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
14 / 19
The two corrugated-steel water cisterns create their own architectural gesture and, because they are capable of holding a total of 5,000 gallons of water, could prove useful in the bushfire-prone area. Blue points out that the building had to be designed
The two corrugated-steel water cisterns create their own architectural gesture and, because they are capable of holding a total of 5,000 gallons of water, could prove useful in the bushfire-prone area. Blue points out that the building had to be designed to bushfire standards, which excludes certain materials and requires a large clearance around the structure. The sliding screen shields one of the hammock decks.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
15 / 19
An evening view of the southwest elevation, which shows one of the parents’ corner bedrooms, a hammock deck and the extended barbecue deck. The two small windows at right are part of the large kids’ bunkroom.
An evening view of the southwest elevation, which shows one of the parents’ corner bedrooms, a hammock deck and the extended barbecue deck. The two small windows at right are part of the large kids’ bunkroom.
Photo by 
16 / 19
The steel screens, with tiny circular perforations, enhance privacy and help protect the house against the elements during periods when not in use.
The steel screens, with tiny circular perforations, enhance privacy and help protect the house against the elements during periods when not in use.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
17 / 19
“A monopitch roof wraps around the courtyard, simplifying roof drainage and providing unity,” says Blue.
“A monopitch roof wraps around the courtyard, simplifying roof drainage and providing unity,” says Blue.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
18 / 19
The house is just beyond the dunes at Diamond Beach, yet could not be built up to capture an ocean view, prompting Blue to shift the focus to interior views and privacy. Near the house is a corral with the family’s horses, which they sometimes ride to the
The house is just beyond the dunes at Diamond Beach, yet could not be built up to capture an ocean view, prompting Blue to shift the focus to interior views and privacy. Near the house is a corral with the family’s horses, which they sometimes ride to the beach.
Photo by 
Courtesy of 
Copyright Simon Whitbread
19 / 19
DIAMOND BEACH 101

At a house in New South Wales, Australia, by Shane Blue of Bourne + Blue Architecture, a huge sliding door greets visitors and keeps things out of the way. Photo by Simon Whitbread. 

Image courtesy of Copyright Simon Whitbread.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016