What happens when a client is not concerned about trends, when the brief breaks all the rules: heritage galvernised cladding, no gyprock, exposed steel framing, rough sawn screening, 1 bathroom for 3 bedrooms? It creates an exciting opportunity to re-think the way we use a house, while moving away from the slick, stylized aesthetic. Life is not always polished and perfect; so why should our houses be any different?

As a rider of vintage motorbikes and a collector of the discarded, bespoke pieces, the owner wanted the house style to instill a subdued playfulness, embodied in objects such as lights from the old speedway or steel chicken feeders woven into the design.

A steel portal frame was a shift away from traditional timber frame, leaving exposed steel trusses through the living areas and allowing the verandahs to be unlined, which would not have otherwise been possible in a BAL19 area. Most of the steel work has been left exposed, including the detailed junctions of nuts and bolts that tie the building together.

Orientation is perfectly adapted to the area, with lovely morning sun penetrating deep into the living area, combined with extensive glazing to the north for winter warmth. Wrap around verandahs provide the necessary shading during the summer months – as well as a great skateboard track for the family’s two young boys. A robust palette of materials was used including internal rough sawn lining boards and burnished concrete floors. Large living spaces have been left open plan, allowing the owners to rearrange their furniture to easily adapt, grow and even change use over time.

This was an exciting project to design and build, including for the tradesman who enjoyed the unique approach to finishes.


  • Material: Combined timber & steel frame
  • Project size (sq.m.): 183
  • Price range (AU$): 400K
  • Location: Cowaramup
  • Year: 2017