The Villa Barwon Heads

Barwon Heads, Victoria

A bold external form inspired by surrounding built character is translated internally to capture natural light and links to water and landscape.

Our clients Mark and Amanda are active and social. They love golf, fishing, swimming in the sea and the Barwon River, spending time together, with family and friends. They also love to cook and to relax in the sun with a book, or by the fire with a glass of red in winter. They had spent many years holidaying in Barwon Heads and decided to build a new house as they approached retirement as their ‘forever house’.  

Mark and Amanda wanted their house to feel breezy, spacious and capture a spirit of “barefoot luxury”. It was to be a house created specially for them and their guests (and not their kids!). It was to be single storey and would be accessible to allow them to easily age in place. They had a corner block in Barwon Heads and they were looking to create privacy. 

It wasn’t until this house was built (by Bower) that I realised how important good design is to your sense of wellbeing… Sometimes I nearly burst into tears with the sense of happiness and peace as we arrive.

Amanda, Client, The Villa at Barwon Heads

Careful internal planning generated a journey through three zones within the house: the entry and living areas facing north, the guest and study zone at the corner, and the master bedroom wing further north. A covered walkway gently screen the master bedroom from the garden, creating a private edge to the dramatic lap pool. The walkway begins one of a series of parallel long viewlines through the house. 

The Villa at Barwon Heads includes an outdoor shower accessed by a secret gate for rinsing of after a swim and a mud room for removing sandy shoes on the way in from a walk. The garage provides storage for all of the golf  clubs and a workbench. The whole house is on one level and circulation, bathrooms and appliance heights have been designed for accessibility and graceful aging in place. The main living and dining spaces are perfect for entertaining and an acoustic ceiling softens the noise. Beautiful, high quality but robust materials have been chosen throughout to create that sense of ‘barefoot luxury”, while a stainless steel kitchen bench allows for managing a freshly caught squid. 

The house has been carefully planned for optimal thermal performance, utilising thermal mass internally, through an insulated slab. Additionally, solar power meets the needs of a typical day’s electrical demands, requiring zero contribution from the mains. This has been achieved though the design incorporating solar panels located on the garage roof and concealed from view. Power is stored with an inverter and battery system. 

Mark and Amanda love their house and are barefoot every day! 

The morning light playfully reflects on the bedroom ceiling creating a different picture every day.

Amanda, Client, The Villa at Barwon Heads

Project Info
Traditional People and Custodians

Waddawurrung Balug Clan of the Wathaurong people

Architecture and Interior Design

Bower Architecture & Interiors

Builder

Project Group

Photography
Shannon McGrath
Landscape

Michael Pithie

Video

Alexandre Lourie, AL Film Australia

Awards
2017

Australian Interior Design Awards – Residential Design – Shortlisted

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