When an older couple approached Prahran–based Coy Yiontis Architects to design a home to age in, they asked that the new house be almost everything that their existing residence was not—contemporary, low-maintenance, and brimming with smart home technology.
At the time, the clients had been living in a grand, heritage, country homestead and wanted to downsize to a smaller home along the coast of Barwon Heads in Victoria, Australia.
"Comfort, ease of maintenance, and facilitation of established daily rituals were primary elements of the clients’ brief," explains the firm of the highly customized and "consciously contemporary" home.
Constructed in just nine months, the design of the timber-clad building—dubbed the Humble House—was informed not only by universal design principles for comfortable aging in place, but also by existing site conditions that shaped the resulting dynamic facade.
Stretched across a single story on a sloped site, the 2,206-square-foot home features a long and elevated profile along the west boundary to protect against views from its two-story neighbor.
Meanwhile, the living spaces are carefully oriented to optimize natural ventilation and lighting, a site-specific strategy that—in addition to energy-saving systems like hydronic heating and electric blinds—has helped the project earn a 6-star energy rating (BERS).
"The clients revel in the ‘touch button technology’ throughout the home," note the architects.
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"Also important are the small touches that aid day-to-day living," say the architects, "a bench seat at the front door for removing dirty boots, the outdoor shower for rinsing sandy feet after a beach visit, the secret hatch in the garage that accesses the internal kitchen pantry directly so that the heavy grocery bags don’t have to be lugged."
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