Pared-back perfection in Lorne
Among the famous hills of Lorne’s township stands a refined yet bold single storey home created with escapism and the natural environment in mind.
Two Sheds is a testament to just how clever home design can be and is the result of a successful collaboration between NH Architecture managing director Roger Nelson, his wife Jane, and ethical architecture practice DREAMER.
Its personal and intimate design complements its picturesque bushland surroundings and is already winning high praise, having received a high commendation in the residential section at the 2020 Victorian Architecture Awards.
Two Sheds is named after its two obliquely mirrored gable roofed timber lined forms – the western section which accommodates communal living and the eastern for sleeping quarters.
But it is the more subtle features of the home that are the bigger considerations at play here, namely how it responds to the views afforded by the site and the stringent bushfire overlay requirements that have been handled in such a way they do not impede on the beauty of the design.
Roger and Jane bought the 25-acre block in 2010 after their daughter saw the land for sale and the design was completed in 2017 – a time consuming and difficult process due to bushfire management overlays and meeting BAL requirements. The build was completed in late 2019.
DREAMER was seen as the right fit for their project as an award-winning young firm pushing the industry towards positive impact architecture and driven by a desire to achieve more with less.
DREAMER founder and leading architect, Ben Shields, met with Roger and Jane multiple times to understand the needs, requirements and desires of the home.
The brief was to design a space for cherished family experiences which allowed its occupants to disconnect and escape the urban lifestyle, as well as being a place of renewal and regeneration as Roger and Jane undertake a 30-year project to rehabilitate the surrounding bushland and focus on re-establishing native and Indigenous plants.
The home’s simple yet well thought-out architectural language draws on agricultural and Australian vernacular, while incorporating elements of buildings which hold significance to the couple’s lives, including the Louisiana gallery in Denmark – the rhythm of building’s mullions, a focus on the view and its quiet placement among the landscape.
While the roof is gutter-less to reduce fire danger, it also adds a quality of contemporary sharpness which belies the verandah’s ordered rhythm and blackened cladding – which subtly reinforces the colours in the natural vegetation – and affords the building to sit easily within the magical backdrop of the surrounding bush and hills.
With a floor area of 220 sqm, the western ‘living’ shed houses the communal kitchen, meals area and living area and, although connected in one space, a dark box which houses a laundry and powder room features in the centre of the space and creates distinctive volumes. A concrete wall in the living area was necessary for bracing and stands alone as a feature while providing the ideal space for a long shelf seat and a wood heater.
Minimal materials are used throughout the home. While charred iron bark timber clads the exterior, its raw form features within allowing the personality of the timber to engulf you with a sense of warmth, while complementing the kitchen’s brass in patinating over time.
Connected by a glazed link, the eastern sleeping quarters includes three ensuited bedrooms all with panoramic ocean views. Enter into the any one of the home’s three internalised ensuites, and you’ll get a sense of wonder. Grey polished plaster features throughout and, as you take in their pared back design and superb brass fittings, a natural light source invites you to look a little closer – skylights illuminating the space to create an enticing beauty allowing light to flicker off the plaster’s uneven surface.
“It is also a homage to the craftsmanship and passion for the true values of making buildings,” Roger says.
“The intentions of the design were truly realised by exceptional skills and perception of key people and, indeed, craftsmen in the builder’s team that really loved the building into existence.
“Much is owed to this commitment to making great things.”
Local trades were used throughout with Two Sheds built by Lorne’s George Dragovitch, lead carpenters were Nathan Lewis and Mark Jolley from Birregurra, electrical work completed by Lorne Electrics and Daniel Lewis Plumbing among others.
A true feeling of love and consideration are what you experience throughout this home. Although simplistic in its design, Two Sheds doesn’t give away all of its secrets at first glance.
Instead it is a home to explore and marvel at – one that will change and transform over time as it provides Roger, Jane and their loved ones a place for connection to the landscape, relaxation and treasured experiences.