Perched behind the expansive dunes of Casuarina Beach, NSW, the sleek geometry of the Echo Beach House volumes sprawls across the narrow, corner site, epitomising the ease of coastal living.
Drenched in sun and enveloped in the sea spray from the adjacent beachfront, this 1950s-inspired residence is attuned to the owners’ affinity for surf culture and entertaining – aspects of their life Scott Carpenter of Create Architecture had an intimate understanding of. “We had known the owners of the Echo Beach House for over 15 years before we designed the house,” says the Director of the studio behind the project. “We travelled together and got to know them very well, which made the brief development process easy.”
With the longer side of the site facing the North and the shorter one positioned towards the West, the architect decided to define two different points of entry into the house. “We organised the planning so that the family would enter from the West side,” Scott explains. “That’s where they would park the car, offload their surfboards or bikes, hang the wetsuits and walk through the laundry into the kitchen, and then into the household.” In contrast to the everyday practicality of the Western entry, the more formal Northern side welcomes guests with a gated entry sequence resembling a tropical resort setting. “Stepping over rectangular slabs emerging out of a pond, the guests come through this concealed yet public pathway across the water,” Scott adds.
This stunning transition offers a subtle glimpse into the indoor-outdoor lifestyle the Echo Beach House embraces so intentionally. With the teenage daughters' wing privately tucked away on the first floor, and only the primary bedroom on the lower level, the home’s sizable main living space stretches across the ground floor, seamlessly connecting to the lush outdoors. “A set of glass doors separates the inside from the outside. However, when these are peeled away, and hidden out of sight on either end of the living space, there is an uninterrupted flow between both sections,” Scott explains.
Stormtech’s threshold drain was one of the pivotal products that enabled the architects to bring this open, relaxed coastal haven to life. “The product allowed us to achieve that flush, effortless transition from the inside out,” Scott points out. “Without that Stormtech drain, we just couldn’t have achieved it. You'd have between 50 and 70 mil steps which would destroy the ability to make that area feel like one cohesive space. So, the drain was critical.”
Providing a gentle visual transition between the timber floors of the indoor space and the dark grey tiles of the outdoor area, the sleek lines of Stormtech’s signature product gently mark the parameters of the two sections while enhancing the flow of the space.
This open transition between the indoor and outdoor living spaces forms an integral part of the response to the site. “The home is right on the beach, and each room is oriented towards the North,” Scott explains. “And because the dwelling is on a thinner site, it's very easy to open up the doors and windows on the North and the South and get that beautiful northeaster blowing through the house on both levels. Then the pool is in the courtyard on the northern side, so, once again, the breeze comes across the pool, cools the air, and then passes straight through the open-plan ground floor space.”
The home is also equipped with generous eaves, which protect the household from the intense summer heat and enable the indoor-outdoor connection even during seasonal downpours while allowing plenty of sun to enter the rooms throughout the year.
This connection to the home's geographical location is also reflected in the minimal yet layered palette. “The main structure of the house is concrete," Scott says, referring to the sleek, white-rendered lines that define the silhouette of the dwelling. “Then we've used stone and wood to give it a homely feel, and bring those beautiful textures and warm colours in.”
All the timber in the house is spotted gum, a tree native to southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales. “It feels right at home in this house. “ The wood is complemented by intricate stonework that frames the fireplace, and can be found alongside the stairs on the way up.
“These textures add depth. But the planning is quite simple, and the house is defined by the simplicity of lines,” Scott adds. This refined, sleek design language is carried throughout all interiors, including bathrooms. Here, Stormtech drains were also instrumental in creating a sense of uninterrupted seamlessness. “In the bathrooms, we have these beautiful large format tiles. We really didn’t want to cut them, so we used the strip drains in the showers so we could preserve those seamless lines,” Scott explains. “And where we couldn’t use these lovely large strip drains, we used the smaller tile insert drains. I don't think there is one drain in this house that isn’t Stormtech.”
A result of an intimate understanding of the owners’ lifestyle and the home's local context, the Echo Beach House embraces the organic appeal of its seaside locale in a considered and unpretentious manner emblematic of coastal ease.