Blending styles. The elevated streets surrounding Coogee Beach are a hot spot for homebuyers thanks to their stunning district and ocean views. Julia and Brett Sillars love spending time at the beach so they were delighted to become the owners of a 400m2 block of land in the area, about 300m from the sand. The couple’s challenge to local architect David Barr was to blend the beach shack style of local WA homes familiar to Brett, with the elevated pole houses popular in Queensland where Julia is from. They were also looking for a floor plan to meet the needs of a growing family but didn’t want a large home that would fill the small site, leaving them no space for a garden.

“People are intrigued and amazed by our home and how different it is from other new builds in the area. It’s nice to think we’ve inspired others with the design and the materials we’ve chosen ”
Julia Sillars, Owner

Meeting challenges. A subdivision of an original larger block on Beach Road, the lot features a huge limestone ridge that would be seen by many as an inconvenience to be removed. However, with the elevated design, the limestone is on display as a key feature of the garden landscape, softened by planting. Lifting the house to take advantage of ocean views and breezes also made sense. By locating the building towards the front of the lot, David managed to minimise obstruction for homes behind. This approach also removed the need for fencing, blurring the boundary between the property and the street. “It’s a gift back to the original
streetscape of beach shacks which are fast disappearing and being replaced by quite large standard home designs” says David Barr.

“I love the window seat area. It’s been a perfect play space for our kids, and there’s nowhere better to relax and enjoy our home and the view. ”
Julia Sillars, Owner

Lightweight and lofty. Lifting the home well above street level in an area so exposed to the ”Fremantle doctor” presented some interesting challenges in choosing building materials.

Using lightweight construction methods and materials limited the amount of steel used, making the build more cost effective and streamlined. To achieve the beach shack look, Julia and Brett were originally looking at timber weatherboards, but these were ruled out because of ongoing maintenance. David suggested using Colorbond sheeting rolled into a weatherboard profile as the main cladding material. “Given the harsh coastal conditions, this material offers great longevity and minimal maintenance” says David.

Harmony and balance. According to Julia and Brett, their home design and building adventure has been a huge success, with many standout features - from the cleverly positioned extra room tucked under the house to the windows located to provide small strategic slices of the soothing views. “Some people might say we didn’t ‘maximise the block,” says Julia. “But we couldn’t be happier with the dimensions and look of our home. The use of space and context is so clever and just ideal for our family and the beachside location.”

“Our design process begins with stories of the owners’ regular routines and how their new home might shape that daily narrative in the future.”
David Barr, Architect

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