Home Magazine

A House That Looks as Natural as the Landscape

By Dwell @dwell
modern lakeside home in Australia with teak facade

Perched above a lake on Australia’s verdant Mornington Peninsula, James and Imogen Tutton’s teak-clad house was designed by Karen Alcock of Melbourne-based MA Architects.

Project  Tutton House Architect  MA Architects

The bucolic Mornington Peninsula, southeast of Melbourne, Australia, is a long, narrow finger of land that curves around to define the sandy shoreline of Port Phillip Bay, a bustling maritime playground and highway for every conceivable watercraft. Move inland from the suburban sprawl of coastal towns to the rolling hills of the peninsula’s interior, and the diversity of geology and landscape becomes abruptly apparent. For many, the prolific vineyards, offering acclaimed cool-climate wines, cellar-door tastings, and onsite restaurants, are reason enough to visit the area. But the peninsula also provides a unique opportunity to live in native bushland moments from secluded coves and rugged surf beaches.

After a stint living in Los Angeles and then Australia’s Byron Bay, James Tutton, a director at Neometro, a residential development company, and his wife, Imogen, a competitive equestrian, returned to Melbourne with their young children, Cassius and Harper. They acquired 16 acres on the peninsula, with a plan to build a hobby farm and visit regularly from the city. Being within commuting distance of Melbourne was key, especially to James, who, in addition to his post at Neo-metro, serves on a handful of start-up boards in the city and recently co-founded a nonprofit organization, Smiling Mind, that teaches young children meditation. 

modern lakeside home in Australia kitchen and dining area with tom dixon pendant lamps and steel and marble dining table by chris connell

Tom Dixon pendant lamps hang above a steel-and-marble dining table by Chris Connell topped by Kate Hume vases and surrounded by painted Thonet chairs. The wood-veneer cabinetry in the adjacent kitchen complements the rich Grigio Carnico marble on the island and backsplash. “The kitchen has a deliberately dark palette,” James says.

When an opportunity arose to buy the neighboring land (including a garden, lake, and vineyards) together with James’s business partner—who’s also a local wine producer—the family decided to move to the peninsula permanently. “It was an easy decision to make when factoring in access to the city and quality of life for the kids to grow and explore,” says James. And Imogen would have the room she needed to set up a well-built equine facility consisting of stables, an arena, and paddocks for her three horses. After determining that the peninsula was to become their permanent home, the couple turned to Karen Alcock of MA Architects, the Melbourne firm that Neometro uses for the majority of its projects. 

Alcock designed a simple, robust, and slightly elevated building with a modest floor plan considering the wide-open space available. The flat-roofed house appears to hover over land and water; in fact, its eastern end cantilevers over the lake. “We deliberately chose to keep the design restrained, as the natural setting here is the highlight,” says Alcock. But while the exterior of the house is discreet, its textured and detailed interior is a true contrast. Inside, the open-plan living area looks and feels exceptionally spacious, due to the slightly higher than normal ceiling and the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. “It’s my urban-rural mash-up,” says James. 

Possessing their own strong aesthetic and style, James and Imogen were very  hands-on with most of the decisions regarding the house. For help with the interiors, they called in architect and designer Maria Danos, also of MA Architects, who chose striking, black-and-gray marble for the kitchen. The same material is continued in the second bathroom, where it is offset by the light green of the cabinets. “Combining the marble with this particular hue of green is fairly avant-garde,” says Danos, “but the Tuttons knew their sense of style well and were comfortable with making these kinds of decisions.”

modern lakeside home in Australia with teak class facade and portable chicken coop

The 16-acre property includes room for the family’s horses and a portable chicken coop.

The gravel drive that meanders through landscaped gardens and rows of vines arrives at the house from the south, then curls around to form a circular drive in front. A wide concrete ramp with exposed aggregate leans toward the front door, allowing for a gradual arrival and a moment to take in the architecture and the surrounding landscape. The untreated teak cladding on the house was suggested by the Tuttons, who love the natural weathering and grayness of the timber. “The design needed to work and look good from all directions, as there are no blind spots here,” says Alcock. 

As the house was being built, Imogen was studying horticulture and was able to apply her newfound knowledge to various areas of the property. She asked for massive boulders to be relocated and placed just so at the right vantage points. She also arranged for native plantings to crawl up and under the cantilevered portion of the house, enhancing its light tread on the land.

The couple plan to add a separate structure near the house that will contain a study, guest room, and gym. “Nothing too elaborate,” says James, “but with growing children in mind, this will eventually become one of the kids’ own areas. I think it’s good for kids to have their own space.” In this part of the world, space is one thing the Tuttons have in abundance.

  • Log in or register to post comments

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Polyamory and the Friendship Litmus Test

    Lately I’ve been trying to work out my feelings about nonmonogamy and metamours–specifically, how to articulate to partners what I’d like my relationships with... Read more

    The 24 April 2018 by   Brute Reason
    SOCIETY, WOMEN'S ISSUES
  • Yorkshire Revisited

    Yorkshire Revisited

    Almost five years ago we wrote about friends garden in Yorkshire. Well last weekend we went "up North" for a visit and although the garden is only just waking u... Read more

    The 24 April 2018 by   Alternativeeden
    DESTINATIONS, GARDENING
  • Daya: A Yoga Practice of Compassion

    Daya: Yoga Practice Compassion

    by Victor DubinBlossoming Almond Branch in a Glass by Vincent van GoghI am not as compassionate as I would like to be. I am inclined to be ego driven and to... Read more

    The 24 April 2018 by   Ninazolotow
    FITNESS, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING
  • CQD.com Matter Resolved

    CQD.com Matter Resolved

    James Booth posted on Namepros that he has pushed the domain name back to the original owner Rebecca. This thread became legendary and brought together a lot... Read more

    The 24 April 2018 by   Worldwide
    BUSINESS, TECH
  • The Interactive Cafe – Zee5 Loft

    Interactive Cafe Zee5 Loft

    Zee5 Loft is an interactive café which recently opened in HSR, Bangalore. The whole idea is built on Hospi-tainment or Hospitality with Entertainment. This is... Read more

    The 24 April 2018 by   Rohit Dassani
    DINING OUT, FOOD & DRINK
  • Creation Stories: LANNDS

    Photo Credit: Carl Rosen LANNDS is the indie-electronic project of Florida-based songwriter Rania Woodard. We came across LANNDS’ latest single, “Legends,” and... Read more

    The 24 April 2018 by   Music Creates Us
    ENTERTAINMENT, MUSIC
  • Huawei P20 Pro , P20 Lite With FullView Display Launched in India

    Huawei has made a comeback in India by launching Huawei P20 Lite, P20 Pro today. These phones come with AI-powered cameras in collaboration with the optics in... Read more

    The 24 April 2018 by   Gadgetscanner
    GADGETS, TECH

Magazines