This Resurrected Beach Home Near Sydney Stands on a Concrete Leg
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This Resurrected Beach Home Near Sydney Stands on a Concrete Leg

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Tama’s Tee House is a breezy, renovated beach house that takes its name from a T-shaped, concrete “unipod” that supports new additions.

In the Sydney suburb and surf refuge of Tamarama, most houses are built on the steep hillsides that surround the beach. One of these is Tama’s Tee House—a streamlined, contemporary residence built upon the solid, reusable foundations of a tired, existing property constructed sometime in the ’70s or ’80s. 

Named Tama's Tee House, 'Tama' is short for Tamarama—the Sydney beach suburb where the home is located.

Named Tama's Tee House, 'Tama' is short for Tamarama—the Sydney beach suburb where the home is located.

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About half of the original structure of the old house was used in the creation of this sleek, 3,215-square-foot family residence.  

Due to the property's seaside location, the home was designed and constructed with various weather-resistant materials, including concrete and stainless steel.

Due to the property's seaside location, the home was designed and constructed with various weather-resistant materials, including concrete and stainless steel.

Designed by Sydney studio Luigi Rosselli Architects, the house is so named because the most significant alteration is its concrete "T" structure, which was created to allow the support the weight of the new construction: all alterations and additions rest on the single point of the existing garage structure beneath it.

Along with its modern, refined appearance, the architects also relied heavily on concrete due to the material's resistance to seaside aggression—such as salt, humidity, and wind, which are unsparing agents of rapid decay. 

Along with its modern, refined appearance, the architects also relied heavily on concrete due to the material's resistance to seaside aggression—such as salt, humidity, and wind, which are unsparing agents of rapid decay. 

To the back of the site is a rear courtyard that’s surrounded on three sides by bedrooms, with the study and the TV lounge of the main living area on its fourth side.

The master bedroom is located on the fourth floor, and the rumpus room and guest rooms are located on the second level, which opens out onto a small garden with a plunge pool.  

A peek at one of the home's covered outdoor seating areas—a perfect spot for relaxing and taking in a gorgeous Australian sunset.

A peek at one of the home's covered outdoor seating areas—a perfect spot for relaxing and taking in a gorgeous Australian sunset.

Concrete is the predominant material used in the construction, but the architects gave the concrete a more weathered appearance by mixing and off-white cement into the concrete to give it a more luminous color. Colorbond Custom Blue Orb metal—a material common to Australian homes—was used for the roof.

Floor-to-ceiling glazing floods the interiors with natural light, allowing the living areas to feel bright, airy, and spacious.

Floor-to-ceiling glazing floods the interiors with natural light, allowing the living areas to feel bright, airy, and spacious.

The hillside location of the house presents breathtaking views towards the ocean, so the architects located the main living, dining, and entertaining area on the third level, and in front of the house.

The crisp white walls contrast beautifully with the warm wooden floors throughout.

The crisp white walls contrast beautifully with the warm wooden floors throughout.

The existing interior spaces were completely redesigned to make them brighter, more modern, and functional.

Grooved plywood was used for the ceilings. In the living room, dining room, and kitchen, the brilliant white wooden beams were left exposed as a reference to traditional beach and surf shacks in the area.

"All these features reference the traditional idea of a beach house, and yet at the same time provide robust, contemporary interpretations," says the studio’s founder Luigi Rosselli. 

A Roscharch Blotch fireplace is located centrally in the open-place living area. 

A Roscharch Blotch fireplace is located centrally in the open-place living area. 

The interiors were softened and warmed up with strongly grained timber formwork, and CNC-routed marine ply shutters with horizontal louvers. 

A peek at the contemporary kitchen. Here, the joinery was built by Building With Options and the laboratory grade was provided by Stone Italiana.

A peek at the contemporary kitchen. Here, the joinery was built by Building With Options and the laboratory grade was provided by Stone Italiana.

Notice the striking ceiling joists, which are supported by traditional criss-cross braces. 

Notice the striking ceiling joists, which are supported by traditional criss-cross braces. 

The dining area features an 'Oracle' pendant by Christopher Boots, as well as a painting by Joshua Yeldham.

The dining area features an 'Oracle' pendant by Christopher Boots, as well as a painting by Joshua Yeldham.

The crisp white walls contrast beautifully with the warm, timber floors, which are Sepia Grande Eterno engineered boards by Tongue N Groove.

The crisp white walls contrast beautifully with the warm, timber floors, which are Sepia Grande Eterno engineered boards by Tongue N Groove.

"The most challenging aspect of the project was working with the existing structure. In comparison with the house that was originally on the site, Tama’s Tee House looks like a completely new build, despite the fact that we retained over 50 percent of the original structures, including the street level garage, the retaining wall, and a number of internal walls in the house," says Rosselli. 

Emerald-green penny tiles line the walls in one of the sleek baths.

Emerald-green penny tiles line the walls in one of the sleek baths.

Another bathroom boasts a striking black-and-white patterned tile on the floor and is completed with gold faucets, wooden cabinetry, as well as a contemporary black sink.

Another bathroom boasts a striking black-and-white patterned tile on the floor and is completed with gold faucets, wooden cabinetry, as well as a contemporary black sink.

Due to the size constraints of the site, the connections between the indoor and outdoor spaces are particularly strong. The garden and terrace spaces are room-like in their scale, and oriented so they are protected from the elements.   

Another covered terrace. This roof and pillar is reflected in a cement-colored vitrified ceramic tile named "Memory Mood," which has been supplied by Terra Nova Ceramics.

Another covered terrace. This roof and pillar is reflected in a cement-colored vitrified ceramic tile named "Memory Mood," which has been supplied by Terra Nova Ceramics.

This living areas are connected to a sheltered terrace, where the family can enjoy sea views while remaining protected from the strong breezes.  

Thanks to the shutters that form private screens when viewed from the street, the residents can enjoy easy-breezy outdoor dining without having to worry about privacy. 

Thanks to the shutters that form private screens when viewed from the street, the residents can enjoy easy-breezy outdoor dining without having to worry about privacy. 

Project Credits: 

 Architecture and cabinetry design: Luigi Rosselli Architects / @luigirosselliarchitects

Builder: Building With Options Pty Ltd 

Structural engineering: Rooney & Bye Pty Ltd 

Interior design: Raffaello Rosselli, and the owners

Cabinetry installation: BWO Fitout and Interiors