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Coastal Dreaming

Innovative concrete construction and seamless indoor-outdoor living create a minimalist beach house for a multi-generational family

18.12.2019


From its perch in a Perth northern coastal suburb, this cleverly designed and innovative five-level home makes maximum use of stunning Indian Ocean and valley vistas to accommodate a close-knit family of three generations.

Designed by Bacic Group, in consultation with Chindarsi Architects, the property was constructed using a clever alternative building method and is elegant yet relaxed with naturally lit spaces and seamless indoor-outdoor living.

Bacic Group director and builder Drago Bacic says the owners, the Macleods, wanted a minimalist beach house that was understated but with a unique edge that made the home stand out from the pack.

“We’ve developed a unique briefing process that helps reveal a client’s style and personality and tells us how adventurous we can be with the design,” he says.

“This is a house that is always full of people. The home needed an effortless connection between the indoors and outdoors for easy entertaining while also accommodating three generations.”

Drago says the block sloped more than seven metres down from the street but taming the site was made easier by using the Bacic Group’s bWall concrete walling system. It was used not only to build the house but also the extensive retaining, basement works and even the swimming pool.

“This was the first house in Australia built using bWall and the Macleods helped us pioneer this unique method of concrete construction which allowed us to achieve sleek, long spans without the clunky nature of bricks and columns,” Drago says.

“The walls were formed and the concrete poured on site, allowing us to achieve a stronger, superior finish in a fraction of the time it would have taken using traditional building methods.”

He says the result is a home, which beneath the render and stone, resembles an insulated box.

bWall is delivered flat-pack to site where it can be cut to any shape and size or pre-manufactured to shop drawings. bWall is erected one sheet at a time, making for lighter work and allowing reinforcement and services to be easily and accurately fixed without the need for chasing.

“We have built concrete homes and commercial structures for many years but with every system we tried, we found ways it could be improved,” Drago says. “A few years ago, we finally committed to developing bWall, which is our own insulated concrete walling system and is used exclusively by our building company.

“Concrete delivers lower life-cycle costs than many other materials by minimising ongoing repairs and maintenance. It lasts. This is the stuff the Romans built their empire with.

“Insulated concrete walls are also thermally and acoustically superior to brick. It’s a system that’s quickly becoming more accessible and affordable for the general public.”

Drago says the house features a minimal colour palette, allowing the art and furnishings to take centre stage.

“It’s a sophisticated beach house with a nod to international style and where comfort is key,” he says. “The home is modern but warm with a casual elegance and bright day-lit open spaces that are defined by the extensive use of white, lightly honed concrete.

“We paid special attention to seasonal variations in the quality and direction of light and the flow and integration of interior and exterior spaces.” The emphasis on outdoor living is evident in the abundance of terraces, decks, balconies and courtyards, offering a view from every room.

“The thing I love about the design is the connection between indoor and outdoor living through the use of white polished concrete that flows seamlessly from the entry bridge, through the oversized pivot door and through to the back of the home which opens on to a generous outdoor deck and lap pool,” Drago says.

The home features a number of custom details, including the staircase, the Laminex decorative screen, the 2m-wide front door, cantilevered front elevation and entry bridge and concrete letterbox.

Owner Sue Macleod says she loves her new home. “I often sit here and think how blessed we were to meet Elvira, Drago and Anthony from the Bacic Group,” she says.

“We had so many conversations with them before starting this journey. Then we moved to Darwin for work and stayed there for the duration of the build. We had so much faith in the team. They are so sophisticated and switched on. We’re down to earth and wanted a minimalist beach house that our family and friends would feel comfortable in. They’ve created that for us.

“We are now living in our fabulous beach house and it feels like we are truly home.  Friends, family and neighbours who visit all comment on the wonderful feel the house exudes – welcoming, comfortable and functional with a definite wow factor.”