Melbourne-based firm Carr design an expressive pavilion-style home to sit gently among the dunes on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.

With its striking exterior, Peninsula House is a formidable presence along the rugged coastline on which it stands. Appearing almost civic in scale, it takes the form of a breathtaking pavilion, transitioning seamlessly into its equally breathtaking surroundings. For the conceptual framework of the house, Carr sought to incorporate a series of perspectives and engagements that would evoke a sense of journeying; through the home and the landscape. 

One of the driving forces behind the planning and placement of the house was creating suspense and mystery. The path leading down from the front gate is configured to obscure and then reveal views of the landscape at key vantage points, as though you are being urged to discover what lies beyond the house. As Carr director Chris McCue says, “we wanted to create a journey that would meander through the landscape, providing an opportunity for art like installations to form from the landscape itself.”

The suspense is lifted once inside the home as you traverse along its front facade and enjoy uninterrupted ocean views. Moving into the centre of the home is a walkway that serves as both an art gallery and an organisational spine – a passage of sorts, between each space. “It’s a really logical and rational way to arrange the house on the edge of the landscape,” Chris says. Not only does it house the client’s extensive and precious art collection, but it also reinforces the notion of journeying through the home. The large window at the end of the walkway marks the end of this journey and returning to nature.

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Large windows turn the landscape itself into an ever-changing work of art.

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An ink painting by Mike Parr and Caleb Shea sculpture

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While the landscape did give impetus to the project, it was also the greatest test. The site came with its own unique set of challenges that the design team had to navigate. Set on the coast, the home had to take into account both wind and sun direction, as well as extreme weather conditions; icy winters and stifling summers. “We nestled the home into the landscape,” Carr associate Lucy Cuthbertson says, “keeping the private areas sheltered and protected against the elements.”

The brief finally called for a home that felt monolithic and spacious, yet intimate and sequestered; as it was to be used by just one couple, they did not want it to feel overwhelming. The interiors, for this reason, are separated into two key zones, with one side dedicated solely to the couple and their private life and the other to entertaining family and friends. Through such thoughtful planning, tactful furniture, and material selection, Carr have accomplished a cosy rural retreat. 

A pavilion-meets-farmhouse overlooking the ocean, Peninsula House is one to remember; a journey in and of itself, standing unapologetically in its surroundings. 

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The curved, zinc-lined roof serves more than just an aesthetic purpose; it also serves as a protectant against strong winds and sun.