It’s true that in home design, nature is often the best starting point. However nature isn’t a constant or predictable source across our country. In fact it can be quite the opposite from one part of a city to another, let alone throughout our sweeping, sunburnt land.
Australians have long gravitated to the coastline, choosing to live by the ocean in droves. Whether it be a small beachside hamlet or a large sprawling harbour city, there’s a set of uniting factors that are common to every seaside location. Whether it’s the blue of the water, the white of wave foam, sand that can be golden, white or rainbow coloured depending on where you are, trees that grow naturally like Eucalypts or those that just feel right near the beach the way palms do, there’s a fairly consistent, if not nuanced, look and feel for life by the Australian beach.
North Avoca Studio by Matt Thitchener (pictured below) is located up on a steep hill overlooking the beach. The studio was designed so that the structure extrudes out over the view but does not intrude on the landscape. This concept is further enhanced by the choice of COLORBOND® steel cladding in the colour Monument® that helps the studio to blend into the coastal cliffs and look at one with nature’s palette.
This feeling flows through to the houses that we build close to the beachside. There’s the earthy charm of natural stone, all the better if it’s sourced close to your location. The palettes that work well are cool blue-based greys, white and charcoal. Timber looks wonderful by the sea, whether that’s teak or oak or blackened or aged grey.
If you’re looking to include roofing, cladding or both in a location inspired by the sea, the COLORBOND® steel colours that often work well are Windspray®, Shale Grey™, Ironstone®, Surfmist® and Dune®. A beach shack could use the familiar undulations of corrugated steel really well, whereas a more architectural house naturally lends itself to the more contemporary standing seam style profiles.
If your tastes are tree change rather than sea change, then there are definitely easy references to pull from so that your home sits softly within the landscape. Eucalypt colours are calming and natural. There’s nothing better to slow your pace than centring yourself around the rhythm of the breeze through trees, and the right colours on your home can conjure an immediate association with this peaceful sense.
Greys, natural beiges and neutrals, dark charcoals, light off whites as well as the green-based neutral colours borne from de-saturated grey bases, all occur in our environment here in Australia and translate perfectly to a home amongst the parks and forests. COLORBOND® steel Shale Grey™ lends itself perfectly to these environments, as pictured above in Highlands Escape by Benn+Penna. The organic shape of this building helps to further blend the structure into the natural surroundings, and they have also continued the neutral pale colour palette through to the interior furnishings.
Natural timbers in your home’s selection might be darker or more aged. Ironbark, blackbutt and spotted gum all work as part of your timber palette. You may also take inspiration from stones and rocks that occur naturally in your area. There is also never any harm in providing some cut through with a sharp white or black to give a natural scheme the life it sometimes needs. Allens Rivulet House by Room 11 (pictured above) is a great example of a colour palette that cuts sharply through its natural environment. The vivid greens of the site called for a heavier hand in colour, and the almost black coloured cladding coupled with timber features delivers this contrast beautifully.
COLORBOND® steel in bush locations can look perfect in Wallaby®, Cove®, Evening Haze®, Pale Eucalypt®, Woodland Grey®, Gully®, Jasper® and Ironstone®. Outpost by Drew Heath (pictured below) is an example of how choosing the right colours and materials is integral in making your home fit life in the treetops. For this project, it was all about the view and being one with the natural surroundings, while still maintaining the practicalities of living in the bush.
From lush greens to the red earth of the heart of our country, rural homes require a different approach in colours and materials. Country doesn’t have to mean traditional, though an Aussie homestead is certainly a thing of beauty and splendour. Red brick can be a gift in any location where natural surfaces turn red when the sun settles on them, while lighter brick can also be an appropriate choice, as too can greys within the spectrum. Archterra chose a palette of light and deep greys for Wilderness House (pictured below) to connect with the surrounding vegetation while providing contrast against the red soil. The textured ground-floor cladding material provides an anchor to the environment, with the upper storey COLORBOND® steel cladding adding a modern twist.
COLORBOND® steel in a corrugated profile is an almost ubiquitous choice with period homes, but as with any location, these traditional forms can be enriched and enlivened simply by substituting with a contemporary standing seam style profile whilst leaving your other colour and material choices intact. Double Happiness by Glow Design (pictured below) is a beautiful example of a home that uses COLORBOND® steel in an elongated profile to blend perfectly into the tall gum trees that surround the home. The COLORBOND® steel Monument® Matt cladding draws from natures palette and this texture, combined with the stone feature wall allow the modern home to fit organically into the landscape.
Rural homes can also be architecturally driven and striking, especially due to the gift of space to allow a home to sit heavier on the land and create volumes of area that are as vast as the wide open lands beyond their walls. Blackwood Studios (pictured below) designed by Adam Kane Architect uses a simple palette of light and dark greys and textured materials to sit peacefully in the wide open space where vegetation is sparse and colours are pale.
Contemporary palettes look amazing in these sorts of larger reinterpretations of the traditional homestead, with blackened timbers, red brick and dark roofing and wall panelling looking as good here as it can in an industrial landscape. If you’re looking for a few safe choices to fit within a rural environment, consider the COLORBOND® steel colours Wallaby®, Cove®, Evening Haze®, Pale Eucalypt®, Woodland Grey®, Gully®, Jasper® and Ironstone®.
Playing with your palettes and working them out as part of a mood board or flat-lay is a great start. Taking that flat-lay into the location you intend to build is even better and comparing the colours and materials you’d like to use with the features that are in your view or the local setting of your home will give you the most confidence that you’re creating a cohesive effect. This mood board (pictured below) has been inspired by the lighter hues of crashing surf contrasting against the darker blues and greys of the ocean. The pink tones and light eucalypt complement the coastal colours, and connect with the surrounding native fauna.
There will always be new choices of exterior finishes, but taking the landscape as inspiration and working that into your colour scheme and materials and finish selections will make for a home that is perfectly, and naturally, inspired.
- North Avoca Studio designed by Matt Thitchener Architect features COLORBOND® Ultra steel Monument® in SPANDEK® profile by LYSAGHT. Photo by Bob Seary; Paul Bradshaw; Keith McInnes.
- Highlands Escape designed by Benn+Penna features COLORBOND® steel Shale Grey™ in LYSAGHT CUSTOM ORB® profile. Photos by Tom Ferguson.
- Allens Rivulet House designed by Room 11 features COLORBOND® steel Night Sky® in a LYSAGHT profile. Photos by Ben Hosking.
- Outpost designed by Drew Heath Architect features COLORBOND® steel Ironstone® in KLIP-LOK CLASSIC® 700 profile by LYSAGHT. Photo by Brett Boardman.
- Wilderness House designed by archterra architects features COLORBOND® steel Monument® (cladding) and COLORBOND® steel Shale Grey™ (roofing, not shown) in LYSAGHT SPANDEK® (cladding) and LYSAGHT TRIMDEK® (roofing) profiles. Photo by Douglas Mark Black.
- Macedon House ‘Double Happiness’ designed by Glow Design Group features COLORBOND® steel Monument® Matt in the profiles LYSAGHT KLIP-LOK® (roofing) and LONGLINE 305® (cladding). Photo by Jack Lovell.
- Blackwood Studios designed by Adam Kane Architect features COLORBOND® steel Monument® in LYSAGHT CUSTOM ORB® profile. Photo by Adam Kane.