AN ARCHITECT with a passion for horses and houses is preparing to sell his eco-friendly equestrian estate.

An hour north of Melbourne, Somerset Park at 215 Tooborac-Baynton Rd, Tooborac, was the first of its kind when it was built in 1984 by owner-architect David Maughan.

It now has price hopes of $1.7 million.

The curving earth-covered house is built into a sloping hill and below the natural contours of the ground, according to Mr Maughan.

“The only other building like this at the time was Parliament House in Canberra,” he said.

215 Tooborac Baynton Road Tooborac. Earth-covered

Spacious light-filled rooms are throughout the house.

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While he designed the house for clients, he and his wife bought it from them in 1992.

“It was a lovely area but it had very harsh weather,” he said.

“We needed to hug the house into the ground for protection so it wasn’t sticking into the ground like a sore thumb.

“So we excavated the slope and when the home was finished, we put earth over it.”

The extraordinary design of the four-bedroom house allows people to walk across its grassed roof while looking across the lawns and gardens.

The property includes four stables, a ménage, stock yards, paddocks, hay shed and a tack room as well.

215 Tooborac Baynton Road Tooborac. Earth-covered

Wake up and step right out to the gardens.

Mr Maughan has also redesigned “hundreds” of stables at Flemington Racecourse in the 1990s, building cross country and three-day event courses in Lilydale.

But Somerset Park remains his most striking creation, with the eco-friendly home never failing to stun visitors.

“Its insulation qualities are extraordinary with temperatures holding steady,” Mr Maughan said.

“Most people are amazed by it.”

Ray White Heathcote principal Brian Lawry described Somerset Park as a versatile and well set up property, which would suit city buyers or those wanting a weekend base.

“We’ve also had inquiries from racing people,” he said.

“It’s very well set out and people are intrigued by it.”

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