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Summer House Expansion Creates Private Courtyard

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Dan Gayfer Field Design received a brief from his clients to create additional space within the site of their summerhouse to support the needs of a family year round. Located south west of Melbourne, Australia, the architects needed to take the climate into consideration when designing the expansion to the Wildcoast project. Sudden rainfalls, hot western sun and ocean winds are a constant concern so the architects created an expansion that could be considered both an indoor and an outdoor space. The new addition is built at right angles to the existing summerhouse and is accessed through the main kitchen. The walls facing into the courtyard are completely opened up as the bad weather does not approach from that direction.

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The courtyard wall of the addition, acts as a covered extension to the poolside terrace, and within the addition is a small kitchen, a dining area and a social zone complete with TV and fireplace.


The social zone is created with wrap around bench seating that features a Caesarstone bench top. The Caesarstone continues around and into the kitchen and both areas are tucked under a long row of windows with cedar bifolds.


The cedar bifolds on the windows can be closed up tight when the weather is less then perfect. The bifolds are custom made and are finished with a fire retardant to meet local planning conditions.


The bench seating wraps 3 sides of the social zone and comes to an end when it meets up with the fireplace. The fireplace surround is clad in an amber porcelain tile that is reminiscent of the beach houses of yesteryear but adds in the modern touch of a flat screen TV niche.


The 3 zones of the new extension feature Spotted Gum, Western Red Cedar and Russian Birch, creating a warm palette of natural woods that is balanced against the cooler tones of the white walls, polished concrete flooring and black chairs. This cozy hangout is the perfect viewing spot for adults while children play in the courtyard or swim in the pool.


The dining area within the addition is large enough to sit 10 with an 11th easily squeezed in on the bench side. The bench is back to back with the seating in the social zone and both share the same Caesarstone bench top.


The addition forms a white cube next to the original dark grey summerhouse. The swath of red cedar bifolds break up the expanse of white and when the bifolds are open they offer a peak into the courtyard beyond.


When the bifolds are all closed, the white cube has a graphic geometric presence that plays off of the natural landscape without overpowering it.


The extension is framed with a walkway that curves around the angular wall before following the line of the pool


The curved wall that separates the pool from the walkway was built to comply with local safety regulations. A tempered glass safety fence separates the pool from the inner courtyard as well.


To create a feature out of the safety wall, the architects curved it and in so doing they defined the shape of the pool itself. The curvy line of the wall combined with the cubular shape of the addition offers a mid-century aesthetic to the site.


The safety wall is clad in grey extra long porcelain finger tiles placed vertically for a contemporary juxtaposition next to the classic blue mosaics of the pool and spa.


The blue mosaic tiles of the pool sparkle brightly against the grey finger tiles and grey granite pavers.


The tempered glass safety fence is almost invisible and allows for an uninterrupted view line to and from the pool.


The choice of landscaping the courtyard with two trees, one surrounded by a patch of grass and one surrounded by gravel, is a modernist art statement that creates visual interest while keeping the courtyard open and free of clutter.


That same clean lined aesthetic is prevalent in the interior zones of the addition, but rather then having a modernist aesthetic, the interior embraces a more retro influence.


The combination of modern and retro creates a harmonious atmosphere of wide open spaces and cozy living all contained within an equal balance of warm and cool palettes that are punched up with moments of blue, green and amber.


The new addition is designed to make the most of its small footprint.


By building the addition at right angles to the original beach house and adding in the curved poolside wall, the outdoor area turned into an enclosed and private courtyard.
Dan Gayfer Field Design
Photography by Dean Bradley Photography



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