Barwon Heads House pool

This project is a coastal home for a retired couple, designed to weather the elements and function with very little energy from the grid. 

The new home replaces a dilapidated cedar cabin on hardwood stilts that the family had owned for a number of years.

Barwon Heads House exterior


The clients were seeking a new home that could serve as their primary residence, as well as a holiday home for their grown children and other family. As the site is amongst dense coastal bushland and just 100m from a beach, it was also important to design a home that could weather the elements. 

Design solutions

interior ventilation

The home responds to its environment in a number of ways. First of all, its large roof and hard outer shell provide shelter from the wind, while materials have been chosen for their robustness and low maintenance qualities. 

To provide protection from prevailing south westerly weather systems, the building mass was staggered diagonally across the site. This helps to protect views while also creating shelter for the living spaces and drawing in natural light. 

Externally, the house is clad in dark grey corrugated aluminium, which acts as a backdrop to the vivid greens of the Moonah, Boobialla and dune scrub plants. Inside, the home is predominantly wrapped in timber. Internal blockwork walls have also been used to help stabilise internal environmental temperatures. 

Barwon Heads House kitchen

To preserve coastal views, view and ventilation have been separated. Solid ventilation panels have been positioned throughout the dwelling to enable cross flow ventilation, leaving view and aspect free of obstruction. 

Sustainability features

  • The home's oversized roof enables the catchment of water used for irrigation, pool and house.
  • A grey water septic system is used to reticulate lawn and drought intolerant vegetation. 
  • The home has photovoltaic PV, a ground source heat pump and a solar hot water system (requiring very little energy from the grid). The system has also been designed to incorporate electrical battery storage in the future.
  • New landscape works restore native vegetation. More Boobialla and Moonah plants have been added to blend the edge of the building with the rest of the site vegetation.