Inverloch Hidden House
“The unique qualities of the site are harnessed to provide a secluded and relatively hidden street presence before the home opens to a surprisingly wider, higher and lighter rear.”
|Inverloch Hidden House
Olva + David, a retired couple relocating from a nearby farm
What they wanted
A private and robust, yet comfortable new home that could also accommodate visiting children, grandchildren and friends.
Site: 704m2 / Floor Area: 273m2
A retired couple, who are keen gardeners, were seeking a private and robust, yet comfortable new coastal home for themselves that could also accommodate visiting children, grandchildren and friends when required. The design solution creates a separate accommodation wing for the guests which could be opened up or closed down to the main house as required. This guest wing is positioned across the front of the property to provide an additional privacy buffer for the couple, who live in the main part of the house at the rear.
The site is at the end of a court and in a relatively quiet area of the town. This location, and the unique qualities of the discrete site, are harnessed to provide a secluded and relatively modest street presence before the home opens to this surprisingly wider, higher and lighter rear. These rear internal spaces all have access to northern sun and dedicated outside spaces, where the couple have been able to create and nurture their gardens.
The home provides secluded and tranquil spaces for the couple with the capacity to easily accommodate their many and varied guests when required.
As is typical with homes for retirement, this brief presented a challenge in that the house needed to be appropriately scaled for the couple, but also needed to be able to comfortably accommodate up to 10 people. The solution was to create a separate accommodation wing for the guests which could be opened up or closed down to the main house as required.
The owners were keen to create a sanctuary and had a history of previous homes where privacy was prioritised: A property with a narrow street frontage, one that was at the end of a “dead-end” street, and a farm which was only accessible at the end of a dirt road. Their newly purchased block was of the same character in that it had narrow street frontage, it was obscured from the street by natural vegetation, and it was at the bottom of a “dead-end” street. The design exploited and added to this character by positioning the guest wing and service spaces between the street and the main house. The entry was also recessed to obscure it from the street and any glazed apertures were minimised on the south facing front elevation.
The owners were keen to minimise the street impact of any new building. Much existing vegetation at the front of the property was kept. Vertical Silvertop Ash cladding was selected as it would naturally grey over time and settle in amongst the surrounding indigenous planting.
Providing opportunity for passions or hobbies is often a key requirement for homes for retirement. In this instance it was an interest in gardening. Through the positioning of window openings in each of the main spaces of the main house the initially empty rear north space was subtly subdivided to suggest separate outside areas, each with a different scale and character. The owners have since nurtured garden areas of differing purposes and character for each of these spaces.
Concrete pavers were used as a floor finish for thermal mass adjacent north facing windows to maximise benefits of winter solar gain. There is double glazing throughout with low e coating. The main house for the couple is a linear sequence of north facing spaces with carefully sized apertures protected by eave overhangs to maximise the benefits of winter solar access whilst minimising heat loss. The main house is serviced with hydronic heating whilst the guest wing is serviced with panel heating providing immediate heat which is only used when required. The guest wing is closed off when there are no visitors to remove needlessly heating spaces not being used. Openable glazing b/w the main house and guest wing enable the house to be refreshed with summer sea breezes. Coupled with insulation throughout the walls, roof and floor, this has meant the air-conditioning provided for the main house has rarely been required.
The spaces of the main house were prioritised over those of the guest wing as they are the spaces specifically designed for the owners. Accordingly the ceiling heights are higher and spaces are larger and north facing in this part of the house. This spatial differentiation also amplified the existing character of the site which became higher, wider and more open as one moved towards the northern rear of the property.