- Article by Clémence Carayol
Located in a small coastal town on Victoria’s east coast, Marlo Summer House is a renovation by Beauty Bloody Bonza of a modest beach cottage that has stayed within the family for generations.
Abutting a coastal reserve, Marlo Summer House has uninterrupted views of the snowy river and surrounding wetlands.
In keeping with the original character, the house was to be understated, a low-maintenance space that could be enjoyed by everyone.
While the original cottage remains with updates throughout, the practice built a continuation of its story through the extension and new structure.
The structure was largely influenced by the regions’ pastoral heritage, with the form taking cues from the historic slatted barns that dot the landscape on the road into town. Raw timbers and galvanised steel add to this modest agricultural language.
“Framing expansive views of the landscape, the interiors draw moments of green and warm tonal hues from the native trees and lush surrounds,” says practice cofounder Greta Mak.
“Exposed timber ceilings bring texture to the light walls, while darker subdued tones in the wet areas create a calming contrast.
“Marmoleum flooring was used throughout for its natural sustainable qualities along with its no fuss durability.”
The region’s pastoral heritage was a key influence, with the architecture taking cues from the slatted barns that dot the landscape on the road into town.
“The original cottage was a modest summer house with a small single living space for cooking, eating, and gathering, it was this open relaxed character that was to be retained,” says cofounder Peter Scott.
“The new extension was to be understated, a low maintenance house for everyone to enjoy.
The remote location proved the largest obstacle as it was built during a time of travel restrictions.
“A close relationship with the owner and builder helped to navigate any hurdles thrown up along the way, with straight forward simple detailing mitigating issues during construction,” adds Scott.
The original cottage is dedicated to sleeping quarters with a large bunk room for the extended family’s young children.
Connected through a transitional breezeway linking old and new, the main volume reflects the simple forms of the slatted barns with charcoal cladding providing a clear distinction.
This modest agricultural language was further developed using raw timbers and galvanised steel.
Through a large sliding door, the breezeway transitions into the main entertaining area where an open kitchen and dining space spills out onto a generous timber deck and landscape beyond.
A place to be in each other’s company, sliding doors frame views of the setting sun over the estuary.
Here the galvanised plate steel canopies add a subtle shimmer to the dark façade with vertical balustrades casting striking shadows throughout the day.
The interior focuses on the expansive views of the landscape, capturing the native trees and lush surrounds.
From this, the palette reflects moments of green and warm, tonal hues.
The exposed timber ceiling brings texture to the light walls in the main living space, while the use of dark terrazzo finishes in the wet areas create a cooling calmness.
Sage accents on the joinery complement this natural warmth, with black steel shelves and light fittings providing a sharp contrast.
The kitchen incorporates custom details with recessed steel handles accented to match the sage highlights in the drinks bar cum pantry.
Grooved panelling to the door faces and island subtly reference the slatted barns that inspired the architecture.
Reflecting the relaxed character of its surrounds, the house draws on the region’s heritage to expand the family holiday home for the next generation.
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