designed by cumulus studio, ‘darkwood residence’ is a family home in rural tasmania that doesn’t shout from the rooftops, but instead quietly speaks a whole lot of sense. realized on a site overlooking tamar valley, the architects worked closely with the clients to create a building that is simple and unfussy yet filled with clever design strategies to optimize space and views.
images by anjie blair | @anjieblair
the brief from clients matt and eloise was ‘clever, not posh’. the couple wanted a house with a small, sustainable footprint and smart use of space. rather than cantilever darkwood residence over the sloping site, cumulus studio decided to step the building down, following the natural contours of the site. by doing this, matt and eloise are able to step outside into nature, and there’s no balustrade blocking the views either.
the house is topped with a folded, sculptural roof, which brings in sunlight, and it’s clad in a skin of tin and timber. tin was selected for its strength, low maintenance and cost-effectiveness while the timber cladding was applied to the semi-outdoor areas for a more tactile feeling, bridging the gap between the manmade space inside and wild nature outside. macrocarpa, a plantation timber, was specified with sustainability in mind. the house also features solar panels, good insulation and a wetback heating system to make it more energy efficient.
darkwood residence, which was in fact built by matt, is positioned to optimize its surroundings. bedrooms, dining and living rooms look out over northeasterly and southeasterly river views. the site itself is protected from prevailing winds, with an internal courtyard offering sheltered outdoor space too.
the interiors prioritize natural light and utilize hard-wearing natural materials to meet the brief. the kitchen features a raw plate steel kitchen bench and splashbacks while a monolithic concrete fireplace, which was poured by matt, nods to matt and eloise’s love for japan. to fit the small footprint, the interiors are populated with built-in furniture. and despite the modest space, cumulus studio has also cleverly incorporated little nooks and window seating where possible, so the family can enjoy quiet moments of rural bliss.