This Beach House on Stilts was completed by Luigi Rosselli Architects in Collaroy Beach, Warringah Council, Australia. High above the ground this cottage by the beach is secure from any rise in sea level and is now the restful retreat of a cultured couple. Above the existing bungalow a new first floor was added with the owners study and bedroom, and a captain’s deck aimed at the beach breakers view. The first floor additions are discrete and set back to maintain the street cottage character. The existing front veranda now extends with a wider side covered terrace, linked to the central kitchen and dining room. Behind the white picket fence on the front street, a circular stair leads to a relaxed timber veranda, ultramarine weatherboards and the original white timber windows make for a breezy, summery house.
Bleached interiors reverberate with crisp and clear classical violin practices and hold a myriad of books encased in every wall stud and recess. The sea breeze naturally cools the easily opened rooms. At the back of the house, facing into a small tropical garden dense with palms and ferns, there is a garden room with a massive sliding shutter that can be secured, and protects the fully furnished room when no one is at home. The stair takes position centre stage in the house, supported by a solid stud wall filled with bookshelves and bathed in natural light. The additions are weaved through the old home with playfulness and sympathy towards the retained old timber work and the relaxed atmosphere of the stilted beach bungalow.
Sitting on top of stilts, this beach house cottage blends the old and the new seamlessley. Contrasting ultramarine weatherboards, picket fence and balustrades, in painted stainless steel (due to the proximity to the ocean), wrap the exterior, respectfully addressing the street. Beneath the stilts that elevate the the building above the ground, a brass porthole window is installed in the garage door, an ode to the ships sailing the ocean nearby.
Traditional and modern elements complement each other through the layered verandas, the captains deck peeks out from just above with unobscured ocean views. The verandah was extended to the side of the original ground floor living room, shading the occupants from the heat internally and externally.
The elliptical steel entry steps spiral through the palms, light stained timber decking line the stair treads and the balustrade reflects the front white picket fence. A large solar panel array is hidden on top of the low pitched roof.
Landscaping by Chris Hunt of Landskill Pty Ltd and the balustrade enclose an elevated verandah retreat, a place for the owners to relax while occasionally scanning the ocean for migrating whales.
This beach house changes as the massive timber and aluminium louvres and shutters by JWI are adjusted and slid to open the building to light and natural cross ventilation, dramatically changing the spaces and keeping the building cool and air-conditioning free. CNC routed shutters to the bedroom level control light, ventilation and privacy of the occupants.
A private garden room retreat that connects the indoors with the rear outdoor tropical garden and entertaining area. The western red cedar shutters by JWI protect the furnished retreat, and open up the house to the back yard.
Limed timber stair treads on the staircase, and matching limed original timber floorboards weave together consistently through the spaces as if they had always been there. A book filled bookshelf is nestled between the studs of a wall supporting the staircase, and supposed by a delicately detailed balustrade over to allow the light through.
A large timber truss, the main support for the first floor additions and roof, spans the edge of the light drenched stair void. A large skylight to the center of the building floods the interior with natural light.
Timber panelling and bookshelves line the hallway as the stair treads lightly cantilever out from above. The bookcase is recessed from the edge of the stair, widening the hallway and allows the light to flood through the open stair treads from the skylight above.
Original lining boards panelled raked ceilings and timber flooring were retained to maintain some of the original character of the building. New bookshelves over the windows, cover the existing walls, and add some insulation to the open living space.
New custom black steel “Real Flame” gas fireplace with ceramic pebbles. Stonewood Construction Pty Ltd skillfully built these alterations and additions including this fireplace.
The center point of the kitchen is the freestanding kitchen bench, framed in nickel plated brass structure, american oak infill and Carrara marble bench top by Sydney Joinery. Aged woven brass mesh panels hide the range hood over the stove.
Hanging above the island bench are a set of custom finish Louis Poulsen lights. Steel and timber windows with broadline glass line the pantry and storage above the timber panneled kitchen joinery.
Light filled and open, the dining area is accented by Kyris, a paper feature light by Paris Au Mois D’Aout.
Steel bath on Escher inspired tile pattern supplied by Bisanna tiles. Nickel plated brass mirror frame and vanity structure infilled with timber paneling reflecting elements throughout the house, topped with a light Carrara marble top and splash-back.
The music practice nook, fill the bleached interiors with the breathy, crisp sounds of the violin.
Ocean views from the master bedroom through the floor to ceiling doors and over the painted stainless steel balustrade and vegetation. A Haiku fan silently keeps the occupants cool along with ocean breezes flowing through the rooms, large eaves, considered orientation of the spaces, air-conditioning is not required in this home.
Natural American oak bedhead encloses the bedside tables, holds reading lights to while away the evenings in comfort. Text by Luigi Rosselli Architects
Project: Beach House on Stilts
Location: Collaroy, NSW – Warringah Council
Design Architect: Luigi Rosselli, Edward Birch
Project Architect: Edward Birch, Irene Brugueras (Joinery)
Interior Designer: Luigi Rosselli, Edward Birch
Builder: Stonewood Construction Pty Ltd
Structural Consultant: Rooney & Bye (Australia) Pty Ltd
Joiner: Sydney Joinery
Louvres and Shutters: JWI
Landscaper: Chris Hunt of Landskill Pty Ltd
Photography: Justin Alexander, Edward Birch
Thank you for reading this article!