A beachside home & lifestyle

Issue 23 Words: Ben Giles Photography: Simon Whitbread
  • A north-facing courtyard on the middle level of the house creates a semi-private outdoor space, enables cross-ventilation of the surrounding living spaces and avoids any excessively deep rooms.
  • The living area extends out to a north-facing courtyard and deck to the west. The series of living spaces on the north side of the house are important, says architect Matt, as they allow the occupants to move between rooms according to the weather.
  • Timber clad joinery panels were made using the offcuts from the rest of the building and cladding work. The hardwood dining table was made on-site by the builder.
  • The three levels of this Narrabeen house step down a steep block in response to the slope of the land.
  • The brief called for tough, durable materials to create a home that would support the family’s active lifestyle. In response, architect Matt Elkan used materials as close as possible to their raw form.

From inner-west to the northern beaches, a Sydney family build a sustainable, “robust” beach home for young boys and grandparents.

After living in Petersham in Sydney’s inner-west for years, Brooke and Murray Love wanted a change. They were giving up their dark and cramped terrace house that was too hot in summer and too cold in winter. Instead they sought a new lifestyle for their family, one that was better connected to the environment. To achieve this they would build a beachside home in Narrabeen on the city’s northern beaches.

Originally a quiet retreat of holiday beach cottages on large blocks, time had seen their new neighbourhood evolve and its density increase. Large sites had been split into battle-axe blocks and new zonings meant a proliferation of medium-density housing.

The Love’s lot sat at the front, or street end, of the block with an access way along its long northern side to a neighbour’s property at the rear. Despite its elevation, the site was hemmed in and overlooked by surrounding developments that created a planning challenge for privacy.

A robust & natural beachside home for a young family

Their brief to architect Matt Elkan was to design a robust home for their family of three young boys and visiting grandparents. It called for tough, durable materials to create a house that would support the family’s active lifestyle. As Brooke explains: “We wanted something that felt like we were on holiday; something that was light and airy and open plan. And it had to be kid-proof, our boys are very active”.

Material choice also works to minimise the home’s environmental impact. “All materials used are as close as possible to their raw form. There are minimal painted surfaces,” explains Matt. Further, water-based sealers have been applied to the concrete floors and walls, and most of the lighting is LED. There is on-site water storage, low emissivity (low-e) high performance glass, and plans for a roof-mounted solar PV system.

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Cover of Issue 23
You can read more about A beachside home & lifestyle in Issue 23 of Sanctuary magazine.

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Matt Elkan Architect


Paul Gray, Graybuilt

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