Project: Darkwood Residence
Architecture: Cumulus Studio
Team: Pippa Jensen, Todd Henderson
Builder: Darkwood Construction
Location: Sidmouth, Tamar Valley, Tasmania
Photo Credits: Anjie Blair
A family home with wilderness at heart
Step straight off the veranda and stroll amongst towering trees. Or take a window seat, and feel suspended in the Tamar Valley views. Darkwood Residence is simple for the most part, but clever when it matters. It’s not detached from its surroundings, but part of it. The house steps down the steep hill to closely match the ground line, allowing it to stay connected to nature. And what remarkable nature it is, with views over the river, through the trees, and to the beaches and bays beyond.
Clever, not posh
A small, sustainable footprint. A smart use of space. And a steep, but stunning site in rural Tasmania. We collaborated closely with client Matt, who built this three bedroom home himself.
A tin metal skin proved robust, low maintenance and cost effective. Then we timber clad accessible areas so they felt more tactile. Macrocarpa, a plantation timber, kept this sustainable as did solar, good insulation and a wetback heating system. From raw plate steel kitchen bench and splash-backs to durable flooring, nothing is too fussy.
Back to nature
Our response was relatively low tech, stripped back and simple. We prioritized the natural surrounds, natural light and hard-wearing natural materials to fit the brief. A stepped design and folded, sculptural roof lets light flood the living area.
Built-in furniture fits the small footprint, with deep windows allowing you to sit, relax and feel part of the view. We positioned Darkwood to make the most of its breathtaking surrounds. Bedrooms, dining and living rooms look out over northeasterly river views. Then the site itself is protected from the prevailing winds, with an internal courtyard offering sheltered outdoor space too. Amidst Aussie native splendor, a monolithic concrete fireplace nods to our clients’ love for Japan, poured by Matt himself.
With a steep site like this, many would be tempted to do a box cantilevered off a hill. But we’re proud of how Darkwood’s stepped design makes the most of the view, yet still feels connected to the nature around it. It brings the feeling of outdoors indoors. And there’s no balustrade blocking the view, either.