Collection by Erika Heet

Adventures in Oz


Having admired a project by Shane Blue of Bourne + Blue Architecture in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, James and Sue O’Sullivan asked the architect to help them create a beachside family compound in Diamond Beach, about a two-hour drive from their main house. Completed this year, the resulting structure, which comprises four main components wrapped around a central courtyard, easily accommodates the couple and their five children, ranging in age from 23 to 16, as well as extended family and friends. To keep maintenance costs down and to reduce the sizeable home’s carbon footprint, Blue used composite plywood and plantation pine throughout, as well as low-VOC paint, low-e glazing and LED lighting. He installed photovoltaic panels, a hot-water recirculating pump and two large corrugated steel bins that store 5,000 gallons of rainwater just outside the building. When the O’Sullivans aren’t using the house, which was completed in spring, they allow it to be used as a vacation rental.

At a house in New South Wales, Australia, by Shane Blue of Bourne + Blue Architecture, a huge sliding door greets...
The entrance door slides shut to protect the house from sand and wind—it is located just beyond the large sand dunes at...
The layout.
All rooms are accessible through the interior courtyard, which is raised several feet off the ground.
The same view with the exterior shutters closed.
A sliding screen shelters the barbecue deck while still allowing light in.
Taking a cue from camper pop-outs, Blue extended a portion of the living room seat outward.
“At night the house comes alive, with shadows from the garden and screens creating interesting images and an eerie...
“The house has a very particular atmosphere, as it looks in on itself to the courtyard,” says O’Sullivan.
The open kitchen and dining area.
The room extends into the main living area, illuminated by energy-saving LED lighting.
The pitched-roof main living area, with generous banquette seating continuing around the perimeter.
One of two identical parents’ bedrooms, each located in two corners of the house.
The architect continued the open-plan feeling into one of two full baths (there is another half bath); on the other...
The two corrugated-steel water cisterns create their own architectural gesture and, because they are capable of holding...
An evening view of the southwest elevation, which shows one of the parents’ corner bedrooms, a hammock deck and the...
The steel screens, with tiny circular perforations, enhance privacy and help protect the house against the elements...
“A monopitch roof wraps around the courtyard, simplifying roof drainage and providing unity,” says Blue.
The house is just beyond the dunes at Diamond Beach, yet could not be built up to capture an ocean view, prompting Blue...

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