Set into a rocky spot on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, an artfully designed residence makes the most of its unique setting and manages to blur the lines between the indoors and the outdoors. This multistory home has a dramatic, geometric profile, reminiscent of a ship’s bow, with the upper levels capitalizing on the expanse of ocean laid out in front of them.
Designed by the architects at Luigi Rosselli, the house is located in Bronte, Australia, a suburb east of Sydney. Its expansive views are meant for gazing and contemplating the vast, shimmering and often-changing sea, offering a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Instead of a typical stacked construction, this design consists of offset levels that emphasize a specific geometry, echoing the irregular nature of the terrain on the site. While designed with maximizing views in mind, the was also created in a way that does not impact the views of the adjacent properties.
The top floor and its dramatic curved glass bow offers the residents views that go all the way from the beach below to Bondi. The level underneath that also features lots of glass that opens up commanding views and includes a recessed master bedroom with its own balcony. The homeowners can enjoy the peace and quiet — as well as the ocean breeze — from their own private space. The garage is located on the lowest level, leaving the higher vantage points for the living spaces.
At ground level as well as on the lowest floor, the architects used rammed earth and sandstone to anchor the house to the land on this craggy point. While the windows are still generously sized, they are more modest than those on the upper levels, consistent with the views available and the stability needed at the base, both visually and structurally.
One of the main aims of this home was to blend the outdoors with the indoors, which the large, floor-to-ceiling glass windows do extremely well. From the inside, the views are just as spectacular as they are from the deck, which also features a glass rail to preserve the sightlines. Airy, voluminous drapes can be drawn against any strong sunshine and discretely hang along the white wall when not in use. The casual yet minimalist decor heightens the Zen vibe of the residence.
Minimal ceiling lighting fixtures keep the feeling very open, and the one large fixture that was installed over the dining table is largely glass and has an ethereal look that doesn’t interfere with the view. The dining set works with the casual nature of the space and is very functional for a seated meal or as a table for a larger party.
Multistory living means there are lots of staircases, which can sometimes be challenging or difficult for older or less mobile visitors. To solve this problem and make daily life easier, the house has an elevator. Constructed with the same glass blocks as those lining the stairwells, the look is less heavy and allows for natural light to filter in. The risers of the stairs are made with a metal mesh that also allows light to flow through. The design and decor throughout the home maintain a natural, neutral look that is very relaxing.
The kitchen, which is separated from the dining and living space by a couple of steps, is also sleek and modern. Rounded corners on the island convey a softer look that goes with the overall gentle vibe. Minimal hardware is used on the white cabinetry for an uncluttered design. Low-backed barstools along the island offer in-kitchen dining eliminating the need for a separate eat-in area. And, since the living space is all in one area, even the kitchen has views of the ocean despite being set back from coastal side of the house.
Fittingly, the master bedroom on one of the higher floors is also oriented toward the ocean views. With the foot of the bed closer to the windows, the head of the bed sits against a curved half-wall element, which keeps the space feeling open and. A largely white palette is grounded with an abstract rug that mimics the mottled blues and grays of the ocean. The master bath follows the same minimalist principles and uses a soothing, light aqua tile on the walls to pull in an ocean feel. The stand-alone tub is, naturally, oriented toward the views as well.
Even with a challenging hillside location, the architects managed to craft a backyard design that includes dining and lounge areas along with a small plunge pool. The incorporation of a glass wall in the pool means that the yard area feels larger than it would if it were a concrete wall. It’s a perfect, private retreat that still enjoys the sound of the ocean.