A California-Style Summer House In A League Of Its Own

The Sorrento Beach House by Pandolfini is unlike its neighbours. For starters, it’s a single storey home in a landscape dominated by multi-storey beach houses clamouring for seaside views. Secondly, it focuses attention on an internal central garden instead of towards a traditional costal outlook.

‘Rather than competing for water views with the adjacent houses, the single level house nestles into the landscape and focuses inward,’ explains director, Dominic Pandolfini. After all, the brief was for a simple and relaxed house, suited to the holiday lifestyle of a family of five. Spectacular natural views don’t necessarily form part of that equation.

Instead, the house is organised around a central garden, which can be viewed from all angles of the residence. The final structure consists of five brick pavilions connected by glass bridges and wrapped around the central courtyard (designed by Fiona Brockhoff), an arrangement which integrates greenery throughout.

‘The pavilion model allowed us to break down the house into a series of private and communal spaces, all oriented around a central garden,’ says Dominic. ‘The forms are all relatively modest in scale, and their siting around the garden creates a sense of seclusion and protection from the coastal elements.’

A sense of restraint extends to the interior palette, which both client and architects agreed upon as key to achieving a serene ambience. Polished off-white concrete and white timber lining boards are elevated by a smattering of pale blue kitchen cabinetry and bathroom tiles. The soft, muted palette references a combination of mid-century Palm Springs classics and the relaxed village architecture of smaller, less frequented Greek Islands. This is owed largely to the architects’ concerted effort to keep appliances and gadgetry to a minimum, and conceal the few necessary additions within the interiors.

‘We wanted to create a home that echoed a traditional beach house, and explore how these forms and materials could be utilised for more contemporary ideas,’ explains Dominic. This is achieved by integrating traditional beach house vernacular, such as a pitched roof and exposed timber beams with pared-back, simple interiors. While the corrugated iron roof, bagged brickwork exteriors and timber cladding details evoke feelings of a typical Australian beach shack, the mindful interiors, spatial planning and flow between spaces makes this home undeniably contemporary.

See more from Pandolfini here.


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