After years of searching, a builder and his wife live out their long-term dream of raising a family in the town where they got married.
Ever since tying the knot in the small town of Flinders on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, this couple hasn’t been able to stop thinking about it. Nothing seemed to compare no matter where they parked on the pristine coastline in the years following. Then, in 2019, three years after parting with their home in the nearby town of Blairgowrie, an opportunity arose that they couldn’t miss.
Knowing they needed someone who understood and sympathised with their design aspirations, they commissioned emerging Melbourne-based architecture firm Insider Outsider to collaborate with them on the project. Matt Westle, one of the owners, also happens to be the builder. At the forefront of the design is a preference for sustainability, and for light-filled, comfortable living spaces where the family can fully immerse themselves in the laid-back lifestyle of coastal Victoria.
With a ‘rigorous focus on place-making for engaged, sustainable and practical living’, architecture firm Insider Outsiders’ passion and dedication towards this project was akin to the owners’. Of the essence was how both parties shared the same drive towards sustainable design, which is decisively demonstrated in the outcome.
Wherever possible, reclaimed materials were used, with a particular emphasis on timber. The external cladding is recycled Cypress (hence, the project name), the flooring inside is recycled Spotted Gum, and the kitchen island is made of recycled Blackwood. From this penchant for salvaged timber arose a material palette that feels warm and wittingly unrefined. The light that touches the timber creates spaces that will hold their raw beauty all year-round. “It took me a long time to research and source the right materials, but in the end, it was all worth it,” Matt says.
“With framed views of the sky and landscape throughout, there is this sense of being cocooned in your own private sanctuary,” Insider Outsider founding director Dave Brodziak says. The leaves of the trees provide shelter during the warmer months while also allowing sunlight to seep through in winter. During this time, the family can gather outside by the fireplace or enjoy relaxing in one of the built-in reading nooks inside. The kitchen forms the heart of the home regardless of the season, featuring a calming palette of reclaimed timber (three kinds in total) and stainless steel, with a spacious walk-in pantry and hidden full-height cupboards.
Insider Outsider level up to their name with this seamless integration of indoor and outdoor living in coastal Victoria. Unsurprisingly, the owners, who set their expectations high from the beginning, feel the same way.