In the historic town of Beechworth, found in the Australian state of Victoria, Doherty Design Studio masterfully subverts expectations in this two-story stone farmhouse. It's a holiday home that looks as if it has belonged to its rural surroundings for centuries, while cocooning a surprising jewel box of contemporary design inside.
Newly built from locally quarried, solid granite to match the rural vernacular, the country retreat was created for a Melbourne family who had lived many years in Japan and wanted their second home to reflect their love of Japanese culture.
"The exterior sits comfortably in its rural landscape, while the interior floor plan and joinery references the owners respect for the Japanese philosophy of simple, efficient living and clever use of small, well-ordered spaces," explain the designers, who collaborated with local building designer EDM Group.
"The resulting look and feel provides a relaxed environment that works to engage the senses. Overall, the refined-meets-rustic aesthetic meets the brief to provide the family with the thoroughly modern, light-filled retreat they sought from their country escape."
Although the clients had originally envisioned a much larger home as typical of Australian country retreats, the family’s desire for a feeling of intimacy inspired a more modestly scaled design of a little less than 2,000 square feet.
The minimalist interior exudes warmth thanks to a carefully curated collection of textures and colors that tap into the clients’ memories of Japan.
"A palette of grey, navy, white, and mustard pays homage to Japan," note the designers. "Blue and grey contrast with the natural materials, while mustard connects to the yellow tones in the granite.
"The repetition of colors and surfaces define the different zones while providing continuity. Timber paneling, bespoke joinery, concrete bench tops, terrazzo floors, hand-glazed tiles, glass mosaics, and bronze fixtures come together in quiet harmony."
Large windows and skylights flood the interior with natural light to highlight the home’s many details and finishes, while simultaneously creating a connection to the outdoors and a greater sense of spaciousness. Informed by passive solar principles, the glazed openings help maximize solar efficiency and wind flow to reduce the home’s energy footprint.
"Our approach was to create an interior that is restrained and pared back, yet layered. Custom joinery throughout is crucial; it ensures organization, functionality and a place for everything."
Architect of Record: EDM Group
Builder/ General Contractor: D&A Leary Building Contracts
Cabinetry Design/ Installation: Borleis Kitchens