A Hardworking Home Puts a Modern Twist on the Farmhouse
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A Hardworking Home Puts a Modern Twist on the Farmhouse

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By Lucy Wang
Clad in blackened timber, Red Hill Farm House is a family home near Melbourne that offers a minimalist take on the local vernacular.

For equine veterinarian Kylie and her husband Sam, life at the Red Hill Farm House often comes with an audience—the four-legged kind, anyway. The rural abode’s walls of glass are perfect for the couple’s inquisitive horses and cattle to peer in, and are among the many ways the house shows off its close ties with the outdoors.

The young and busy family (the couple have twin teenage girls and a toddler) also runs their equine business from the property’s stables.

The young and busy family (the couple have twin teenage girls and a toddler) also runs their equine business from the property’s stables.

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Embedded into the landscape of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, the Red Hill Farm House is perched on a small rise overlooking views of sweeping paddocks and distant glimpses of the horseshoe-shaped coastline. Its sleek and minimalist appearance—a modern take on the surrounding rural vernacular—is the work of Melbourne–based Carr and is based on a concept created by Jackson Clements Burrows Architects.

From a distance, the home's three timber pavilions appear as a unified mass.

From a distance, the home's three timber pavilions appear as a unified mass.

"The brief was the creation of a home celebrating the surrounding architectural vernacular but with a modern, contemporary interpretation," Carr explains of the property. "The response to the brief proposed a discreet yet volumetric built mass of elongated and staggered structures informed by the natural typography of the land and informing the internal plan and section."

Built with a low profile to match the regional farm vernacular, the Red Hill Farm House stands out from its more rudimentary neighbors with an angular roofline that mimics mountainous terrain.

Built with a low profile to match the regional farm vernacular, the Red Hill Farm House stands out from its more rudimentary neighbors with an angular roofline that mimics mountainous terrain.

Organized around an outdoor courtyard, the 7,000-square-foot home comprises three blackened timber pavilions arranged in a U shape.

"Three elongated blackened timber pavilions form a U shape, encompassing the external courtyard and identifying strongly with the site narrative and notions of a working yard or arena," the architects explain.

"Three elongated blackened timber pavilions form a U shape, encompassing the external courtyard and identifying strongly with the site narrative and notions of a working yard or arena," the architects explain.

The private quarters are housed within the two elongated pavilions that flank the central living volume. The north private wing contains a spacious master suite with a study that connects to a guest bedroom and garage. To the south is the children’s wing with three bedrooms and a playroom. 

Polished concrete floors emphasize the home's utilitarian nature, while the soft oak ceiling lends warmth.

Polished concrete floors emphasize the home's utilitarian nature, while the soft oak ceiling lends warmth.

Clutter is skillfully hidden away thanks to the abundance of joinery and storage.

Clutter is skillfully hidden away thanks to the abundance of joinery and storage.

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The minimalist approach is carried throughout the home, from the material palette to the streamlined fixtures.

The minimalist approach is carried throughout the home, from the material palette to the streamlined fixtures.

The hub of the house sits in the middle and comprises an open-plan dining, lounge, and kitchen area that open up to the intimate courtyard on one side and the pool with lush valley views on the other. 

Walls of glass frame views of the lush valley from the kitchen.

Walls of glass frame views of the lush valley from the kitchen.

The kitchen is the heart of the home and features a nearly 20-foot-long Tasmanian Oak workbench.

The kitchen is the heart of the home and features a nearly 20-foot-long Tasmanian Oak workbench.

The firm notes, "Details allude to century-old barns with a palette of soft grey and anthracite tempered by the surrounding green character of the trees, shrubs, and paddocks."

The firm notes, "Details allude to century-old barns with a palette of soft grey and anthracite tempered by the surrounding green character of the trees, shrubs, and paddocks."

The open-plan living area and dining space is flanked by the outdoor pool on one side and an outdoor courtyard with a fire pit on the other.

The open-plan living area and dining space is flanked by the outdoor pool on one side and an outdoor courtyard with a fire pit on the other.

"The design intentionally omits ornamentation seeking to minimize the palette of materials," the firm notes. "The predominance of the vertical blackened timber cladding defines the facade materiality and, when glimpsed from within, acts to constantly remind occupants of the rural narrative."

Corridors run the length of the pavilions and are bookended with full-height glazed openings overlooking views of farm life.

Corridors run the length of the pavilions and are bookended with full-height glazed openings overlooking views of farm life.

Moreover, the rough-sawn, black-stained timber has the added benefit of durability, one of the home’s several sustainable features. A lower energy footprint is achieved with the full-height glass openings that let in natural light and effective cross ventilation, while deep verandas protect against unwanted solar heat gain.

"A colonnade of columns provide symmetrical support to the deep eaves, wrapping the residence in a sense of order to juxtapose the playfulness of the angled roof line," the architects explain.

"A colonnade of columns provide symmetrical support to the deep eaves, wrapping the residence in a sense of order to juxtapose the playfulness of the angled roof line," the architects explain.

The house has also been equipped with a solar-heated swimming pool, gas-boosted solar hydronic heating, and 40,000-liter underground water tanks that supply water to the bathrooms and garden irrigation.

The house faces west for views of the fields and valley beyond.

The house faces west for views of the fields and valley beyond.

"The true innovation of this home lies in its connectivity to the local vernacular and the equine business that operates from its stables."

–Carr 

Red Hill Farm House ground floor plan

Red Hill Farm House ground floor plan

Related Reading: Celebrated Polo Player Nacho Figueras Commissions a Low-Slung, Concrete Stable

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Carr in collaboration with Jackson Clements Burrows Architects / @jcbarchitects

Interior Design: Carr  / @carrdesigngroup

Builder/ General Contractor: VCON

Structural Engineer: C.I.R

Landscape Designer: Paul Bangay