From Dilapidated Home to Contemporary Coastal Retreat

Dune House

Text provided by Ohlo Studio

The brief for Dune House was to create a sophisticated, contemporary, coastal, family retreat that pays tribute to the modern design era. It was to play to the strengths of the existing architectural design language and to integrate a material palette and sense of space that riffs on the expansive, sun-bleached, local Western Australian landscape.

The home was designed for a young couple with a passion for food, art, a coastal lifestyle and the preservation of design history. Ohlo Studio, Simon Pendal Architect and Steven Postmus from CAPA came together to deliver ‘Dune House’.

Dune House
Dune House

A guiding ethos for the design was better space, not more space. The challenge was to re-plan the interior of the dilapidated home within the existing building footprint that would evolve with the growth of the clients’ family.

The cramped, 4 bedroom, 1 bathroom house was converted into an airy 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home with new openings to the exterior that create a strong connection to the landscape. The focus was on creating a level of detail, quality and function that would create a life of ease without excess.

Dune House

A home grows with the layers of memories and mementos of a lifetime. As the clients are a young couple, about to embark on creating their own little family, the designers recognised the need to allow for the accumulation of many layers in future years.

The intention at Dune House was to reduce the architectural material palette to several key materials in order to provide a crisp backdrop to an evolving collection of objects.

Dune House
Dune House

The restrained interior shell was then enhanced with a nuanced, richly textured and coloured collection of art and furniture that would complement the clients existing pieces. Ohlo Studio assisted the clients in the curation of a primarily Western Australian collection of artworks. This will continue to grow over time and plinths and extensive ledges lend themselves to this.

Dune House
Dune House
Dune House

This combination of a simple, coastal palette and a richly coloured interior scheme took inspiration from a project named ‘La Ricarda’, designed by Architect Antoni Bonet i Castellana in 1963. Like ‘La Ricarda’, Dune House was designed with its natural surroundings in mind and incorporates furniture pieces designed specifically for the house.

Dune House
Dune House
Dune House

The soft, sand-yellow concrete pathway that delineates an undulating journey through the home from the front letterbox to the rotunda in the rear garden is the designs’ uniting device. The built forms to the interior and hard landscaping respond to the tones and curvaceous lines of this new architectural insertion.

Dune House
Dune House

The clients operate a vibrant and much-loved gelato business in Perth and their love of food and entertaining drove the practical aspects of the design. The kitchen has instantly become their favourite room of the house, both for its operational ease and the easy connection with the rest of the living areas. As talented cooks and devoted entertainers, this was an essential part of the brief.

Dune House

Together, the clients and design team hope that when people visit this home, or pass it when travelling through the neighbourhood, they will take pleasure from a design that respects original architecture while setting a contemporary tone.

Dune House

Photos by Benjamin Hosking