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Slow House: A Serene Cabin in the Woods in Australia


Slow House: A Serene Cabin in the Woods in Australia

September 21, 2018

Australian architects O’Connor & Houle, seeking a simpler life, created a simple house on the ocean side of Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula with the intention of teaching their children how to live slowly with an appreciation for nature. Intrigued? So were we.

Melbourne-based architects Stephen O’Connor and Annick Houle begin every project from an experiential premise. Homes designed around the changing play of light on surfaces, moving breezes, the particular feels and smells of materials; the sounds of spaces are bound to yield different results from houses that are designed around programmatic requirements alone.

Add an unreasonable (architects’ own admission) obsession with great craftsmanship coupled with an embrace of Japanese utilitarian aesthetic and the result is a house for life, where memories are made and stored with each and every slow, deep breath. A possible blueprint for future living? We’d like to think so.

Photography by Earl Carter.

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Above: Ross O’Brien, a craftsman carpenter, built the predominately timber house over two years resulting in a house whose great craftsmanship the architects can cherish for years to come. A long, ribbed wall in the living area was designed as a structural element to hold up the clerestory glazing and roof above.
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Above: White tiles and kitchen cabinets add a subtle contrast to the wood walls and floors.
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Above: The Japanese utilitarian aesthetic finds its truest expression in the kitchen; simple, functional, and ordered.
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Above: Wooden kitchen utensils that are well used and well loved.
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Above: A collection of blue and white Japanese ceramics adds a decorative note to the open shelves.
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Above: The architects use small injections of bright colors throughout the house.
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Above L: The ribs in the structural wall have become inadvertent shelves for the display of artwork and found objects from the beach. Above R: Round peg hooks in wood and the organic curves of a bentwood Thonet chair add another dimension in wood.
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Above: A cantilevered wood bench offers a resting spot in the entryway.
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Above: Textiles in shades of blue cover the beds and wall in one of the bedrooms.
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Above: The floor-to-ceiling opening in the master bath and shower has the liberating effect of an outdoor room.
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Above: The master bathroom is lined in wood with a floor-to-ceiling view of the trees beyond.
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Above: An outdoor seating area is like the wood-lined interior of the house but without a ceiling.

N.B.: This post is an update of a favorite project from our archives.

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