When Tom, an Australian chef who co-owns a taqueria in Sydney, inherited a 5,400-square-foot plot of land in Byron Shire on the eastern coast where he’d grown up, he seized the opportunity to lay down roots and build a home for a future family.
Faced with a "heavily restricted" budget, Tom enlisted the help of his friend and designer Scott Jackson, of Studio Jackson Scott, to create a sustainably minded family home that embraces outdoor living.
"We were constantly testing our ideas against a driving design principle: the celebration of the efficient," explains Jackson of the project, titled OCM House. "In a country where building costs are among the highest in the world, efficiency of construction can substantially reduce the cost of a build. We had to think carefully about how to construct this building to ensure that design intent remained strong while construction details and methods remained simple."
Crafted with simplicity in mind, the compact, three-bedroom home features a bold facade that belies its modest, 1,044-square-foot size. The patterned facade was created from fiber-cement panels—chosen for their lightweight properties, low cost, and ease of installation—and timber battens fitted between panels to protect the joints.
"Decisions such as the building height, length, and width were all dimensioned to suit a standard fiber-cement sheet, reducing unusable off-cuts and minimizing waste," adds Jackson.
The simple material palette continues inside, where unpainted plywood lines the walls and provides a gentle contrast to the black facade.
For a seamless transition from indoors to out, large sliding pocket doors open to connect the open-plan living areas to a sheltered, north-facing terrace built from locally sourced Australian Blackbutt timber.
A hallway leads to three bedrooms with a shared full bathroom and a powder room/laundry room on the east side of the house.
"A rigorous design process paved the way for a dwelling pure in form, economical in cost, and true to its intentions," explains Jackson. "Through its geometry, minimal material palette, and humble construction methods, OCM House embodies the power of simplicity."