An inventive Tasmanian abode maximizes views of the landscape. As thrilling as travel may be, there’s nothing like returning to the familiar, private comfort of one’s own home. But what if you could enjoy the beauty of an exotic locale without ever leaving your living room? One aging husband and wife in Port Arthur, Tasmania, hold that rare privilege. Their recently constructed home, designed by Room 11 Architects, commands jaw-dropping views of rugged Tasman Island and the peaceful Southern Ocean beyond. “The clients were interested in consolidating the considerable potential of the site, specifically its spectacular scenery,” architect Nathan Crump says. The firm achieved this by installing floor-to-ceiling windows across the entire eastern length of the dwelling, offering a dreamy panorama of the Australian coast. The Lookout House, as the architect dubbed it, gives a whole new meaning to armchair travel.
Crump played with the traditional gable roof form common to Australian farmhouses and transformed it into something entirely modern. The house’s three distinct ridgelines follow each other in succession, their simple contours conjuring a cartoon lightning bolt. The wood cladding covering the exterior also lends the house an impenetrable feel, heightening the surprise visitors experience upon entering and seeing its open, seaside views.
Constructing a largely timber house in a bush fire-prone landscape wasn’t easy. “We had to negotiate with the council and building surveyor,” Crump explains. To solve the challenge, the architect designed an outer, protective skin for the home that’s clad with metal; it pushes beyond the building envelope to provide covering for outdoor living spaces. The inset walls are lined with local shiplap Celery Top Pine.
The architect incorporated a central courtyard in the house, an unusual but intelligent design response for the region with a temperate climate. “The house sets up an interesting tension between two established [courtyard and farmhouse] typologies,” Crump explains.
The home’s dramatic ceiling defines its interior, inviting a more understated approach to décor. Natural wool blend carpets help delineate boundaries in the open-plan space while softening the industrial appearance of the polished concrete floor in the kitchen, bathrooms, and entryway.
In the dining room, Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs sit snugly beneath a table custom-made of Celery Top Pine by Tasmanian furniture designer Dave McKean. The drum lighting pendants by Axiom were also made using local timber.
The dining room is delineated from the kitchen by a long kitchen island with a higher partition between the two spaces. The island provides storage along its length, with exposed shelving at the ends. The drum lighting pendants by Axiom were also made using local timber.
A Shaker-inspired rocking chair by Hans Wegner exudes country charm in the corner of the living room.
Looking into the warm, brightly lit house at night offers a different kind of view, one that charmingly recalls the cutaway dioramas in Wes Anderson’s films.