How's the serenity: The humble holiday house that's big on simplicity

Built in a regional holiday destination, the Blueys Beach House aimed for simplicity that framed the natural details of its surrounds.

It was not to be ostentatious and had to fit in well with the context, said architect Shane Blue from Newcastle-based firm Bourne Blue Architecture.

Blueys Beach is a popular holiday destination about 24 kilometres from Forster on the Mid North Coast of NSW.

The original houses in this coastal village were simple fibro or weatherboard structures. They were weather beaten and basic, yet generally offered a relaxing beach-holiday experience.

Unfortunately, when properties changed hands, original buildings were often replaced by large suburban houses, which have little recognition of place and relate poorly to the immediate context, Blue said.

This house was designed on an empty but narrow block of 12 metres by 42 metres.

Large Angophora trees grew at the front and back of the gently, rear-sloping block that overlooked grassland and forest-covered hills.

The client's brief was for a simple holiday house that retained the Angophora trees and made the most of the views to the rear, without being out of place for the area.

"There is an easy transition from the beach to the house, and with hardy surfaces throughout durability is not a concern," Blue said.

"The living spaces open easily to the deck in the sun, or the shady courtyard and the "carport" is ostensibly a roofed outdoor area for dining or a game.

"The challenge was to arrange the house for privacy, yet enable strong connections to external spaces."

The building is essentially two sections - one for sleeping, one for living. The spaces adjacent these sections form courtyards and decks for outdoor living.

The roof then zig zags over the forms to create a cohesive whole.

"The structure steps with the land, so that when viewed from the street, the bulk is minimised," Blue said.

Much of the living space on the site is actually outside the buildings, in the courtyard or on decks, enhancing the indoor-outdoor nature of visiting here.

Materials throughout relate to the context of the village, were economical and corrosion resistant. Timber was used extensively, floors are all polished concrete internally, stone externally. Eaves were fibre cement.

Sustainable features included high-performance glass to all doors and windows; correctly oriented thermal mass; heavy insulation to walls and ceilings; heat pump hot water technology; and rainwater harvesting for toilet, laundry and garden usage.

Sustainable timbers were used throughout, such as reconstituted timber concealed structure, birch-plywood linings and joinery internally and sustainably-forested cladding.

Generally using less materials and resources allowed created a minimal footprint to building Blueys Beach House.

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This story Humble holiday house big on simplicity first appeared on The Canberra Times.