A Family Home That Mirrors Nature – The Design Files

Jane and Lloyd Fenn and their children Lillian, 11, Audrey, 10, and Eddie, 6, moved from Melbourne to the Mornington Peninsula with the hopes of better connecting to nature – something they’ve achieved in the design of their home. 

The house has been designed to mirror the bushland on their Red Hill block, including its naturally sloping topography and many gum trees. 

In their brief to builders and designers InForm, who worked on this project in collaboration with Pleysier Perkins architects, Jane and Lloyd were keen to create a home that would encourage exploration and engagement with the land. 

‘A conventional double-storey house was not the right approach, as this would have disconnected the spaces from direct engagement with the land and the bulk of the house would have impacted views of the surrounding tree line,’ explains Ross Berger, architect at Pleysier Perkins. ‘Instead, the house was designed as a single-storey structure around a central courtyard, which provides light and sanctuary, without detracting from the view.’

Included in the single-storey are various tiered zones, which encourage movement through the home inspired by walking in nature. ‘The idea was to move up and down with the natural sloping topography…Exploring movement in the architecture akin to a hike in the bush, weaving between trees and jumping over logs,’ Ross says.

This feeling of being in nature is enhanced via views of the surrounding land, which have been exquisitely framed throughout the interiors. 

Another element Jane and Lloyd requested in their brief was a designated room to work from home. This space has been carefully positioned by InForm in its own zone of the house, which is deliberately accessible from the outside only.

An equally considered space is the second living room, which Jane and Lloyd affectionately call ‘The Room of Requirement’ (a Harry Potter reference for those not in the know!). ‘Originally the room was designed as a quiet space for reading, but it’s also regularly used for morning yoga, kids sleepovers, as a karate dojo, and most recently for home schooling,’ they say.

It’s not only the floor plan of this house that references nature, the exterior has also been carefully considered to reflect its environment. Cladding on the facade is made from locally-sourced rough sawn timber, and the pergola incorporates reclaimed timber beams. Ross’ favourite element of the project are the exposed trusses and irregularly spaced battens on this outdoor space, which create a dynamic play of shadows over the course of the day.

Surrounded by natural elements both inside and out, this home is truly a sanctuary!


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