Two Barn-Like Volumes Make Up This Low-Maintenance Australian Home
For their home in Byron Bay, Australia, architect and builder Tim Sharpe of Sharpe Design Construct and his wife Rani Blancpain combined the Australian wool shed, European mansard, and steep-pitched gabled roofs to create a home that would become better with age. "So we can focus on living in it and enjoying it, rather than maintaining it," explains Sharpe.
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Sharpe and Blancpain designed Twin Barns to be not only low-maintenance and durable, but also comfortable and thermally efficient. They used hardy materials, as in the galvanized-steel flat pan roof and Australian spotted gum VJ board, which would both age well and develop a gray patina over time.
The residence is set on a tiered site with large amounts of uncovered floating basalt rock, which was use extensively in the landscaping. The plot provided two level building sites on an otherwise sloping block, enabling access to the garden for all living areas.
A spangled, galvanized mansard roof cladding was used for low maintenance and longevity. Over time, this galvanized cladding will develop a handsome gray patina that will stand in pleasing contrast to the spotted gum wood.
Underfloor hydronic heating and cooling were installed underneath the polished concrete floors to cost-effectively maintain comfortable indoor temperatures all year round.
In the main house, the steep-pitched gable ceiling gives the interiors a voluminous, lofty feel. The two-degree pitched roof of the bedroom wing defines the private areas of the home.
The smaller house follows the form of the larger house, and also has a spangled, galvanized mansard roof. This volume was designed with a mezzanine over the bedroom that defines its private spaces.
The building was oriented to draw as much natural light from both the north and east into the living areas and bedrooms. "This results in minimal need for summer cooling and winter heating, and assures a pleasant, light-filled, comfortable space," says Sharpe.
A simple, neutral color scheme and natural materials result in minimalist and timeless interiors.
"We aimed to create a house that is grand and majestic in its demeanor, while still remaining inviting, warm, cozy, and family friendly," says Sharpe.
Structural engineering: Phili Wallace Consulting Engineers
Civil engineering: N.A Mathie Steel Fabrication
Landscape design: Rani Blancpain
Cabinetry: Stuart Lochhead Custom Joinery Specialist
Photography: Andy Macpherson
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