Sorrento House 1, the latest coastal project from Vibe Design Group, is the Australian Beach house reborn. The building presents a modest, yet sinuous face to passers by. A well-honed palette of materials is introduced, their application modulated masterfully and subtly; the mark of an experienced hand. Timber battening twists to become shuttering for windows behind. A cast concrete wall articulates the point of entry. A low-slung, ocean grey angular roof constructed from 18m sheets of custom Colorbond is punctuated by a cast concrete chimney; stylish protection from any seaward weather.
If the exterior is uniquely Australian in vernacular, the interior might just as easily be Northern European or Japanese. The synthesis of timber, cast concrete and steel is sensitive and assertive in equal measure. Each material is given a role, an opportunity to shine solo, and contribute in concert. Silken timber renders concrete textural, and luxurious, in return.
Extended proportions define the living spaces, from the monolithic kitchen (a sculptural assembly of intersecting rectangular forms) through to the integrated fireplace and hearth. The design language of Vibe has rarely found a clearer expression than in these spaces; expansive and spacious, yet human in scale. Bathrooms build upon the formal qualities of the materials palette. The introduction of matte black joinery and architectural vertical mirrored panels, provide practicality, but not at the expense of style.
The private, restrained entry to the building is balanced by a more expansive rear elevation, complete with deck and swimming pool. The game of geometry is played out in the roof from this aspect. It is strikingly resolved with flair and personality. This house sits naturally on Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula, but might just as easily find itself in any of Australia’s coastal regions. This house demonstrates that modesty and luxury can be reconciled simply through good design.