Working with the light in Wistow

By | September 20, 2019

A yearning for the simple life was behind the brief for this family home in the Adelaide Hills.

The young family had returned to the area after several years of living interstate and internationally, and wanted three bedrooms, separate zones for parents and children, plus a separate, self-contained studio for overseas guests.

Ease of construction and an ongoing goal of simplicity of living underlied the brief.

Architect Martin Williamson, from Mountford Williamson, said that after spending time in the UK, the clients “wanted the home to be light-filled, with a sense of openness to their beautiful Adelaide Hills property.”

Working with interior designer Fabrikate Creative Spaces, Martin came up with a design that “aimed to make a real connection with the surrounding landscape, capturing the long views to the south, the shorter views across the horse paddocks to the north, and providing an immediate indoor/outdoor connection.

Let there be light: High level glazing under the roof plane creates the illusion of a floating roof.

Let there be light: High level glazing under the roof plane creates the illusion of a floating roof.

“The creation of outdoor rooms for entertaining to both the north and south, providing a choice for use at different times of the day and year was integral to the design,” he said.

High level glazing under the roof plane creates the illusion of a floating roof, allowing glimpses of the sky and the large overhang to the north provides protection from the summer sun while allowing the winter sun to penetrate deeply into the home.

A home office doubling as guest studio with its own bathroom and kitchen is separated from the main house by a breezeway. An undercover area off the back garden provides for outdoor dining, and a front deck with pergola provides an extension to the living room. Natural light floods the living areas by oversized sliding doors to both sides.

“The house was oriented to the north for good passive design,” Martin said.

Blending in: The dark grey colour allows the home to recede into the landscape and the use of timber and stone walling in the garden adds warmth and helps tie the home to the site.

Blending in: The dark grey colour allows the home to recede into the landscape and the use of timber and stone walling in the garden adds warmth and helps tie the home to the site.

“The thermal mass provided by the tiled floor and internal brick walls moderates internal temperatures, increasing comfort and reducing energy bills. Hydronic heating in the floor slab, run by a heat pump powered by a solar array on the roof, supplements the winter solar gain to heat the home. A suspended fireplace also provides atmosphere and warmth to the living room.”

Additional sustainability strategies included minimising windows to the east and west, using high performance double glazing used throughout, and recycled bricks for internal walls.

Externally, the design was informed by the home’s location on acreage in the Adelaide Hills, surrounded by land that has been farmed for generations.

“Old farm buildings, generally clad with corrugated steel are still common in the area. The simple form and materials used reflect the homes rural context,” Martin said.

“The corrugated steel cladding is used vertically as is common on utilitarian farm buildings. The dark grey colour allows the home to recede into the landscape and the use of timber and stone walling in the garden adds warmth and helps tie the home to the site.”

The client were thrilled with the result. “Loving the house – it’s changed our lives and how we live,” they said.

The Star – The Star Life