Sitting proudly atop the Byron hinterland, Coolamon House provides box office views with a thoughtfully crafted house that marries connection and separation beautifully with the use of a central courtyard. Designed by DFJ Architects, the house uses its positioning to its advantage, being mindful of the climate and sustainably preparing for it accordingly.
Despite the radiant warmth that frequents the Byron region in the summer months, strong northerly winds, namely when elevated, can render outdoor lifestyles effectively redundant during the period. To combat the climate, DFJ built the house around an oasis courtyard, with the house itself protecting the garden. The central garden provides a tranquil space that connects the main house and the guest accommodation — accessed by a path that hugs the courtyard perimeter — allows private and personal space to be respected, but for connection to be encouraged with the adoption of the central green area.
Given the illustrious position of Coolamon House, it would be a travesty not to take advantage of the view of the hinterland below. Floor-to-ceiling windows line the exterior, with a purposely minimal interior seen throughout the living spaces to ensure that nothing is taken away from what lies below.
The house is essentially a one-bedder crafted with a minimalist mindset. The pathway that leads to the guest rooms also provides access to the laundry, powder room and the pool that sits at the rear of the courtyard. The garage and office are located off the driveway, that stops well before the house in an attempt to ‘leave the outside world behind’ and tune into the serene frequencies that Coolamon and its subsequent setting provides, while ‘taking in the finely tapering slab cantilevering out into the panoramic expanse beyond’. DFJ say when the plantings below the house mature that it will appear as if it is floating, with developing patinas settling over the raw palette of concrete, blackbutt and folded brass that the structural material consists of. The interior is consistent with the raw materials used to craft the outside, with smatterings of blue seen throughout the space and a terrazzo kitchen countertop mimicking the emulsion mixture. Wooden flooring, naturally stained cladding, concrete-esque walls and a colourbond roof all combine to create an entity of raw materials carefully moulded by DFJ to create a space that ensures it is regarded, but does not take away from the view.
In terms of sustainable design features, DFJ have ensured the house is readymade for the conditions it finds itself within, without the use of artificial heating and cooling. The house is naturally ventilated and relies on daylighting to heat the house, with a thermally heated slab and underfloor heating used for winter. Summer living is comfortable, with courtyard and pool installations ensuring an easy way to cool off. The house is powered by a 21kw solar system, 5 22,500 KL water tanks that harvest rainwater, as well as preparing for bushfire season with a dedicated bushfire tank and a defendable asset protection zone.
Coolamon House is an exercise in setting a house amongst nature and allowing it to seamlessly transition amongst the trees. As its character evolves and the plants continue to grow, the house will be able to tell its own long, extensive story, through the use of it’s vegetation, materials and, of course, that view.