With a country surrounded by water, it’s no wonder that the great Australian dream of house ownership can quickly extend to thoughts of a beach house. And with endless childhood memories of summers spent by the beach – swimming, sunbaking and playing sports – many of us are prone to imagine our future weekends and holidays lazing by the beach with family and friends. But while the dream has an enduring allure, it is wise to remember that planning the perfect coastal address requires slightly different thinking than when you are planning your suburban home.
Selecting the view
Rugged coastlines, endless sky and water views are part of the great appeal of coastal living and will quite naturally form a central focus. Whether your stunning view is out to sea or over the rolling hills of the country-side, the design of your house should maximise and accentuate the available landscape. Careful consideration must therefore be given to the design and placement of windows, as well as determining sight lines through the house. If you are planning on large amounts of glass, you will also need to invest in the best glazing and energy efficient window structures – with air flow, heat conduction and protection from corrosive elements all needing to be factored into the systems you choose.
If the Australian climate can be unforgiving, the coastal environment can be unrelenting. Strong winds, salt-air, moisture and the Australian sun make the cladding of beach houses one of its most important characteristics being the first line of defence. To avoid your home aging quickly, you can choose dense materials such as concrete or off-form concrete to help your home stand the test of time or opt for lighter weight materials specially designed to be corrosive-resistant. Additionally, materials specifically designed to weather and soften such as Silvertop Ash timber are perfect for fuss-free low-maintenance. These days, many new bonding techniques have been developed to render metals both light and durable, while giving you an enormous amount of choice when experimenting with different aesthetics. When in doubt look for products that are rated ‘marine grade’.
Protected outdoor areas
While protecting your house from the elements is important, so too is protecting yourself when you want to enjoy the outdoors. Planning a protected area outside for rest or play is therefore a great way to prevent blustery winds and the beating sun from driving you inside. To begin with, you can map the wind and sun conditions for your block, and then think of protective structures that will shield you from the elements. Often a north facing deck is a great way to use the house as protection.
An outdoor shower
If you don’t fancy bringing the sand and sea in with you after a visit to the beach, an outdoor shower is a must, not to mention an attractive addition to any home. But beware, most shower fixtures are prone to rust and you must either choose a system that is easily replaceable or invest in protecting the area from the elements, while employing high grade materials.
Storage for all the toys
Surfboards, boogie-boards, wet-suits, bikes and sporting equipment can take up more space than you ever expected, but are so crucial when it comes to enjoying an active beach lifestyle. Having designated areas for each and every item is not only convenient, but keeps your home looking clutter free. If you are opting to have an outdoor shower or wet area, consider having the wet-gear nearby, that way you can wash everything down at once.
Check out Modscape’s Modular Beach House Designs for some further design inspiration. These beach homes are sure to impress.
As beach house builders in Victoria, the Modscape team are more than happy to discuss your next holiday home project so feel free to contact us on 03 9316 6000.