A dramatic property in Hobart, Australia, made from black-stained plywood and with a dark interior that envelopes you and helps put the focus on the striking views. The property’s materials were chosen based on a selection of artefacts that were collected on the first site visit to the plot; Redgum leaves, shed bark, chunks of rock, wirey and velvety banksia pods and even a fine back-bone of a wallaby skeleton. Anchored into the bedrock of the site, the dark rectilinear pavilions recede amongst the surrounding bush, offering little indication of the treasures that lie within.
The striking house was created by photographer Lauren Bamford, her partner, musician Keith Mason, and designer Sarah Trotter from architecture practice Hearth Studio. The project marked an opportunity to explore a vision for a unique home that creates a highly curated experience of design, architecture, and setting for it’s guests. The setting shaped its design, both its geography and the position nestled between bushland and city. The black kitchen design was a collaborative effort with Fisher & Paykel.
From its vantage point on a steep outcrop, this dramatic property peeps out from among the trees down toward the city of Hobart and the River Derwent below. Surrounded by bush yet gesturing toward the city, the property sits at the intersection of urban life and rugged native bushland.
The owners wanted the building to be defined by the location and land itself, which became the starting point of this project. The site presented both opportunities and challenges, as it sits on a steep slope. Luckily, there was an existing site cut, which the architects used to avoid further excavation.
To fit within this cut in the sandstone, and to let in more natural light, architect Sarah Trotter split and offset the small home into two pavilions at different levels. As a result, the entry, kitchen and dining are separated from the lounge and bedroom.
Stepping inside, you enter a space that is dark yet vibrant, and utterly intriguing.
The property’s dark interior envelopes you, and helps focus on the striking views.
At the entrance of the kitchen space, a floor-to-ceiling widow frames the rugged bedrock, while at the other end floor-to-ceiling windows frame views over the city and valley below.
While in many ways the dramatic black-stained ply interior acts as a foil for both the views and the objects within, key architectural details complement the uncompromising vision while alluding to the natural beauty of the site.
For example, the materials were chosen based on a selection of artefacts that were collected on the first site visit to the plot; Redgum leaves, shed bark, chunks of rock, wirey and velvety banksia pods and even a fine back-bone of a wallaby skeleton.
Bluestone paving lends a subtle midcentury reference while its natural materiality provides a link to the landscape.
The black kitchen is kept low and streamlined, which was made possible by the specification of Fisher & Paykel appliances; under-counter fridge and freezer drawers are integrated seamlessly under the worktop.
The kitchen’s design was all about combining aesthetics with functionality, combining details like the Henry Wilson brass handles and stained timber surfaces across the cabinetry, with an integrated DishDrawer.
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None of the appliances are visible, resulting in a streamlined look.
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The dining table sits in a corner window, framing views in two directions; one into the rugged hill landscape, the other over the city in the valley below.
The space’s design is black from tip to toe, focussing all the attention on the views.
A compact cloakroom offers a pop of colour with coral tiles.
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The living room and bedrooms sit in another wing of the house, snd offer carpeted, cosier spaces with pops of bold colour.
But the interiors are still all about framing the views – even in the evenings when the house dissolves around you ands the lights of Hobart twinkle in the distance. Then, if you draw the curtains, you get to experience the amazing collection of art and furniture.
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Windows frame different views in all directions, including a long rectangular picture window that frames just the rugged rock against which the property is built.
A floor-to-ceiling window offers an in-detail contrast of the modern living spaces with the raw beauty of the wilderness on the other side.
Steps lead up to the bedrooms.
The master bedroom is a calming space, with minimal distractions.
The doorway to the wardrobe is soft and arched, and makes the black feel less stern. The smooth curve is complemented by a small custard-coloured rounded chair.
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The ensuite bathroom offers more intoxicating views, with a floor-to-ceiling glass window breaking down the barrier between indoors and out.
The fact that the window faces towards the bushland and not the city keeps a sense of privacy, as the bathroom can’t be viewed from other properties.
Ochre and burnt orange linen bedding add vibrancy to the dark scheme in the guest bedroom.
Photography: Lauren Bamford