Bridgetown, Western Australia
What could replace a beloved character cottage in one of WA’s most beautiful locations? A contemporary country home with the heart of an artist and a window on the changing seasons
A family home in one of WA’s most beautiful towns, this residence was designed to make the most of its surroundings. The owners are keen gardeners with a love of the rural feel of the property, and they wanted to stay true to its history with the new design. This was to be a country escape for them and they wanted a unique, contemporary residence, in contrast to their traditional-style home in the heritage precinct of Mount Lawley.
The existing house had been designed and built by a local Bridgetown artist, a lovingly created jumble of stone, wrought iron, found timber and stained glass. We salvaged as much of this material as we could, and our design centred on keeping the old house and all of its significance at the heart of the new house. The original raw logs and tree branches still feature in the walls, and we spent days in a nearby paddock retrieving more of the local stone which anchored the building so beautifully to its surroundings. We drew from a rustic, textured palette for the remaining materials, selecting timber, plywood, corrugated metal and cement cladding with a painted weatherboard appearance.
The outside area and common deck were exceptionally important. One of the qualities which drew the owners to Bridgetown was its distinct four seasons – a rarity in WA – and their garden is an ever-changing mantle of vibrant spring bulbs, golden autumn foliage and green summer shade. The north facing windows make the most of this view, with access from all of the bedrooms to the main deck for time spent together. With older kids and a lot of visitors, privacy was another big consideration, so we separated the master bedroom from the children’s wing, and seated the shared living areas in between.