Kennedy Nolan covers L-shaped home in charred timber.

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Kennedy Nolan, an Australian architecture studio, has completed the construction of Somers House, a beautiful coastal home located in Somers, a small town in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. The house was specifically designed to provide a peaceful retreat for the client’s family and features rich hues and curving geometries throughout.

To achieve a weather-resistant exterior, Kennedy Nolan opted to cover the house with timber using the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique, which involves charring the wood. This created a dark, striking appearance that harmonizes with the surrounding natural environment.

The house is in the shape of an L and is centered around a curved stairwell, which is nestled into the corner of the plan. The stairwell, coated in ochre-toned render, acts as a link between the different levels of the home and is punctuated with small rectangular windows that allow natural light to filter through.

According to project architect Matilda Blazey, “A central curved mass knuckle housing circulation grounds the design in the site, with more lightweight wings spreading out into the landscape. In the tradition of the Corbusian curve, a curved form is made more potent when sitting in tension beside a straight plane.”

The two wings that extend from the sides of the stairwell are also clad in timber. One of the wings is raised on columns, creating an outdoor living area underneath. The facade of the raised wing features a sweeping semicircular opening that frames a bridge connecting the first-floor entrance to the sloping landscape.

Inside the house, Kennedy Nolan aimed to create a seamless transition between private and communal spaces while capturing views of the ocean. The studio used materials and decorations that mirror the rich tones of the exterior finishes, including cork, raw brass, and earthy tiles.

“The earthy palette is derived from the ochres of Gija woman Queenie McKenzie – a response to our clients’ love of the saturated chromatic vitality of Luis Barragán,” explained the studio. “Age will hone the aesthetic of this interior, burnishing a rich, tonal landscape, and ultimately making an unmistakably Australian coastal house.”

The first level of the house features a semi-open kitchen, living, and dining space that extends almost the entire length of the floor. The kitchen is lined with deep-toned, oiled Douglas fir, complemented by dark furnishings and black floor tiles. The warm feel of the space is enhanced by richly colored additions, such as gold lampshades and dark red chairs.

The top level of the house includes two bedrooms and a playroom, while the ground floor features a smaller living space, a bedroom, bathroom, and sauna. A roof terrace bordered by a zigzagging orange wall tops the home, offering additional outdoor spaces for relaxation and enjoyment.

Kennedy Nolan, founded in 1999 by Patrick Kennedy and Rachel Nolan, is known for its focus on residential architecture. Their previous projects include an affordable housing block made from ochre-tinted precast concrete and an Arts and Crafts-inspired home in Melbourne.

Photography for the project was done by Derek Swalwell.

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