On the shoreline of Clareville Beach, Sydney, a robust family home seamlessly integrates into its verdant surroundings.
In conceptualising a family home in the Northern Beaches of Sydney, local firm Rama Architects gave precedence to seclusion and restfulness. Their core objective was to employ materials and planting techniques to craft a home that receded into the landscape, offering a calming, nature-infused sanctuary for a busy family of four.
In a recent interview with est, Eckersley Garden Architecture co-director Scottie Leung said “We can use greenery to soften architecture…We look at gardens as a counterpoint to heavy architecture.” M House is a pertinent example of how greenery can soften “heavy architecture” and ultimately consolidate it within its surroundings.
The home is made up of robust concrete, tallowwood timber panelling, stone cladding and steel-framed windows, with deep draw-out eaves, open-plan spaces and extensive glazing – an architectural approach inspired by Brazilian Modernism. “The feeling of being outside yet still sheltered by a formative structure was key,” Rama Architects director Thomas Martin says, “and this is where we played with the idea of soft and hard.” Hard is represented in the home’s materiality, while soft is expressed in the abundance of light, voids, glass and, most importantly, greenery.
In the kitchen, dark timber joinery contrasts with the warm timber ceiling. The space features vintage Borge Møgensen BM62 armchairs and an assortment of ceramics, vases and bowls.
The sunken living room embodies a cosy feel, with a mix of new and vintage pieces occupying the space.
Rama Architects employed planting techniques to ‘green’ the building – cascading from the rooftop – as well as planting from the ground up. “Allowing nature to envelop the structure, blurring the lines between outside and in, provides the privacy and tranquillity the client desired,” Thomas says. “There was a real desire to have a deep connection to the landscape and to honour the existing bangalay trees that have stood proudly on the land for generations,” he adds.
An active family of four, the clients requested an open-plan layout, emphasising a strong connection between the communal spaces. At the same time, they underscored the importance of privacy, requesting a dedicated ‘parents’ retreat’ separate from the kids’ area. The family has the option to come together or enjoy their own privacy, all the while being embraced by nature.
The dining space features vintage Niels Møller Model 71 chairs.
Plants cascade from the rooftop, as well grow from the ground up, enveloping the building in greenery. Rama Architects specified Vitrocsa steel-framed windows for the project.
The parents’ retreat overlooks the bay, reinforcing the feeling of sanctuary. The space features a vintage Lean Gillon leather occasional chair. On the balcony are pieces from the HAY Palissade collection.
The parents’ bathroom features a vintage Poul Kjaerholm PK1 occasional chair.
M House’s architecture is characterised by robust concrete, tallowwood timber panelling, stone cladding and steel-framed windows, with deep draw-out eaves, open-plan spaces and extensive glazing. On the front veranda are pieces from the HAY Palissade collection.