Having spent their own youth in a relaxing country setting, an expat couple living a busy city lifestyle decided they wanted a similar childhood for their own kids. Bidding farewell to Hong Kong, they chose a new property on 3.2 picturesque hectares, with views of the Yallingup Hills as far as the eye can see.
Passionate about building an abode that was the epitome of country living, they called on builder Adrian Zorzi to ensure their new residence was more than just a place to live.
The relaxed sense of connection to the rural surrounds was achieved by completely opening the home onto the land, removing fencing and barriers between the native bushland and personal living spaces.
Designed by architect Theo Mathews, the home was constructed by Adrian,
and named the Elanora House by the owners, who were themselves heavily involved in the build.
“The lighting came from around the world, in particular England and Europe, so the fittings were different voltages and had to be altered to be compliant with Australian usage,” says builder Adrian Zorzi. The water jug, vases and fruit bowl are all from Empire Homewares in Dunsborough.
“The clients worked closely with us on the design, and knew exactly what
they wanted, which was a house that flowed seamlessly from indoors to out,” says Adrian, who was hands-on throughout the project, and remains close friends with the owners.
“She’s from Tamworth in country NSW, and her husband is also from the country in England, so moving here from Hong Kong they naturally wanted space and the countryside, which is exactly what they have. With the large stacking sliders open, the owners and their guests can move easily from the private front courtyard all the way through the house and onto the rear lawn. It’s over-sized, open-planned, and perfect for big, open family barbecues.”
The layout of the three-storey home sees the main living area on the ground level, and the bedrooms in a separate wing.
The parents’ retreat is on the top floor, with a private sitting area, balconies with vistas of the countryside, and an exposed feature bath that is surrounded by noce travertine tiles and sits at the end of the bed – the perfect spot to relax at the end of the day.
The kitchen island is made from one large piece of marri, and matches the dining table. The windows slide into the wall cavity to allow the alfresco barbecue area to connect with the kitchen.
“For the bath area in the master bedroom, we had to incorporate the chance of overflow and flooding, and even though we laid travertine under the actual bath, and had the correct drainage, we wanted to avoid any risk of the oak bedroom flooring getting damaged,” says Adrian.
The solution was the floor being ground into a slight bowl shape under the bath,
so when the tub sits in position there is a space that caters for the situation, should the taps be left running.
The boys’ bedrooms, rumpus area and bathrooms are located on the same level
as the front entrance and living areas, and the bottom level is dedicated to the couple’s little girl.
The three sliding doors on the adjacent side of the lounge room also open completely, removing any boundaries between indoor and outside living.
The sleeping quarters are easily closed off from the main living area, which includes a lounge, dining and kitchen area, laundry and sundeck, all with uninterrupted views. The sundeck is perched near the front entrance of the home and is minimal in design, with only eight square metres dedicated to soaking in the fresh air and country views.
“It’s such a simple space, with a dedicated focus on the surrounding views,” says Adrian. “There’s a small pocket of the ocean as well that allows the owners to sit there and watch the sun set. It can’t get any better than that.”
The warm American oak floors add texture to the minimal colour palette, and complement the striking natural limestone fireplace that creates ample heating and is a nod to the country aesthetic.
The large glass sliders open the living area right up onto the decking.
“The modern Chazelles fireplace came from France, and had to be craned into position before we could actually put the roof onto the home,” says Adrian. “We had to build around it and ensure it was in the perfect position.”
Designed to buffer prevailing winds and take full advantage of the northern sun, Elanora boasts remarkable oversized glass sliding doors that weigh 600kg each and had to be craned into the property with precise positioning.
The addition of a bath in the bedroom of the parents’ retreat is a design highlight. The tub is positioned perfectly to absorb the country views.
“That side of the house features 10 metres of glass which is made up of two five-metre glass panels. They are the biggest doors I’ve worked with, and the challenge was to ensure that they fitted in perfectly because we had to fix them into place with the masonry and timber construction, which isn’t the easiest. But they were worth it.”
The final result is spectacular, with one whole side of the house opening onto the large decking and alfresco area and the vast green property, which also has an open firepit, dam and jetty.
A hidden rooftop deck near the entrance of the home is simple and effective, with views of Yallingup and the ocean.
The scale of the property is unapparent from the front of the home, though the uninterrupted tree line can be seen clearly, a taste of what the back of the home has to offer.
“Holistically the entire property encapsulates country living,” says Adrian. “They have two fruit orchards, a chicken coop where they get fresh eggs, a small garden and the dam, which has marron and fish in it. It’s very sustainable.”
With two 250,000 litre water tanks, solar power, and the spring-fed dam
that is clean enough for the family to swim in, the property is quite self-sufficient, and offers the family an enriching country lifestyle that works as one with the natural environment.
“It really is a one-of-a-kind home and property,” says Adrian. “They often have kangaroos jumping around on the lawn. They’ve successfully created their ideal self-sustainable, country dream home, and everything from the limestone fireplace to the detailing in the ebony-stained timber cladding makes it unique.”
An outdoor firepit sits in prime position, perfect for entertaining and enjoying the full scale and design of the home.
Managing director Adrian Zorzi shares his thoughts on the home.
What is your favourite feature of the home?
The glass sliders – they are quite spectacular, and we had to have a crane come in on the clay site in the middle of the bush to position them. It was tricky, and we had to get it perfect.
Any site challenges?
A clay site is always challenging, and this area is always heavily affected by the weather. And let’s not forget about the wind, which is pretty notorious in the area.
Favourite detail of the home?
The timber cladding that is stained ebony – it’s different to have black around a building, it makes it more robust, and the end result is really spectacular.
How did you manage to add the ocean view into the equation?
Before we began the build, we took a cherry picker down to the site and positioned it where the sunset deck was designed to be. We moved the machine around until we found a small pocket of the ocean, a beautiful view, and
re-established the position of the house so the clients could watch the sunset from the deck.
Adrian Zorzi (08) 6555 3250, adrianzorzi.com.au (builder)
Theo Mathews Architect (08) 9757 2338, theomathewsarchitect.com.au (architect).