written by:
photos by:
December 24, 2013
Originally published in Prefab Now
Bring it Home
Putting her architectural training to work, a resident of Merricks, Australia, helps design a modular beachside getaway for her family.
modular beachside getaway Australia
For her family’s house near Melbourne, Anna Horne created a series of prefab wood modules using a design from the company Prebuilt. She found the old industrial letter at a factory; it stands for Somerset, the name of the house.
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modular beachside getaway Australia interior kitchen
Horne in the kitchen, where every element was part of the prebuilt package. Like elsewhere, the team placed a window over the door to bring in more light. “The kitchen design continued the ‘keep it simple’ approach,” Horne says.
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modular beachside getaway Australia in dining room
The dining room is adjacent to the open-plan living area and shares the view out over the deck and garden to bushland. Throughout the house, the floorboards are made from recycled blackbutt timber.
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modular beachside getaway Australia living room
“In the colder months we snuggle up in front of the wood stove and look out to the adjoining farms,” says Horne. As exemplified by the floor plan, the modules were designed “to keep some flexibility in how the house was used and were also a response to the site itself,” she says.
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modular beachside getaway Australia exterior patio
“The patio was always part of the original design, as we knew we would be living inside and outside during the warmer months,” says Horne. “Keeping it covered also helps keep it dry and provides a feeling of containment.” The wicker swing chairs are from eBay, and the fabrics are from Ikea.
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modular beachside getaway Australia
For her family’s house near Melbourne, Anna Horne created a series of prefab wood modules using a design from the company Prebuilt. She found the old industrial letter at a factory; it stands for Somerset, the name of the house. Image courtesy of Lisa Cohen.

After outgrowing their holiday flat above a beachside cafe on the Mornington Peninsula outside Melbourne, Australia, Anna Horne and her husband, John Willems—with their two young sons, Jude and Sam, in tow—decided to purchase land nearby and install a prefab house. At the time, Horne, having trained in architecture, was working for former colleagues who had just started their own prefab company, Prebuilt. “Up until that point, there were no kit homes available in Australia with a design focus,” says Horne. “I loved that my friends’ company was breaking new ground with logical, design-based ideas. It certainly makes building more manageable—and affordable.”

modular beachside getaway Australia in dining room
The dining room is adjacent to the open-plan living area and shares the view out over the deck and garden to bushland. Throughout the house, the floorboards are made from recycled blackbutt timber. Image courtesy of Lisa Cohen.
Horne designed the house, which consists of three modules, based on a model created by the architectural firm Pleysier Perkins for Prebuilt. Constructed in Prebuilt’s factory outside Melbourne, the house was then transported down to the sleepy seaside town of Merricks and placed within a secluded bush setting of natural grasses and tall eucalyptus trees. For the interiors, Horne found striking, red-accented Tunisian tiles and a large suzani fabric that created the foundation for her eclectic mix of color and design.

Oh! Suzani

Horne purchased the Danish rosewood dining table and the Semi Trompetpendel pendant lamp by Fog & Mørup from Angelucci. The suzani fabric stretched across the wall makes for a striking and original artwork. “I spent a long time finding the right one, as many are heavily stained because they have been used in houses and yurts before finding their way out of Uzbekistan,” says Horne. The Eames chair is from Living Edge. 

In Living Color

Horne sourced the living area’s red-and-white Tunisian tiles directly from a manufacturer online. “It was the first site I looked at, the tiles were well priced, and the company was easy to deal with,” says Horne. “When I requested this specific tile in red, it just happened to be the perfect red, so I went with my gut instinct.” Against the tile background is a freestanding heater by Nectre. Horne bought the hepsi kilim on a trip to Turkey and found the large leather ottoman at a bazaar in Istanbul. The small ottoman is from Country Road. 

Decked Out

The large outdoor deck is the main entertaining area and connects the separate kids’ wing to the rest of the house. Here is where Horne and Willems spend the most time with Jude, Sam, and the family dog, Sumo. “If the weather permits, we eat our meals out on the deck,” notes Horne. The powder-coated chairs are from Industria X. The Australian, plantation-grown silvertop ash cladding—dark-stained and installed horizontally—from Quantum Timber Finishes better allows the house to blend into the surrounding bush, while a lighter-stained Australian spotted gum, on the deck and on the overhead pergola, provides contrast.

Clean Lines

Located off the kids’ wing is the out- door shower, where the children rinse off after beach visits. To further offset the cladding, the architectural team alternated boards of various widths and set them on one module in a vertical formation. Horne asked for select doorways and window panes to be painted in vibrant red and apple green. “I love how these colors resonate within the space,” she says.

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