“We set out to create an escape, a complete contrast to our home in the city on the other side of the world. Whilst we harboured ambitions to explore fundamental design issues such as the relationships between context, experience and function we also had a much simpler goal: to make something beautiful, somewhere beautiful”.
As the project progressed so the brief evolved from family home to ‘micro-hotel’. We are delighted that this is now available for exclusive fully serviced private stays. For details of availability and prices see reservations.
Best described as a ‘bush’ plot on a steep hillside with views to the Indian Ocean across vineyards and dense vegetation in Australia’s South-West. The plot is approximately five acres of ancient Jarrah, Red gum, grass trees, peppermint trees and a lot of ‘wild –bush’. It sits on the edge of a national park and is in close proximity to world-class surf beaches and award winning wineries.
The climate is a mild Mediterranean climate where, in the dry summer, temperatures rarely rise above 32 degrees centigrade and although wetter, winter and springtime enjoy mild temperatures that average around 16 to 18 degrees during the day and 9 to 11 degrees at night. Most rainfall (66%) occurs between the months of April and October with an annual average rainfall of 982mm. Temperatures generally never drop below 7 degrees in the winter (July /August) and only occasionally exceed 40 degrees in the summer (December/January). The average humidity in South Western Australia is around 60% and wind directions and speeds are variable, however the prevailing wind is South-West (the sea breeze) and East.
The building is a simple rectilinear ‘bridge’ form with the structure grounded at each end. The first floor creates a 9m clear span beneath which the glass walls can slide effortlessly into the structure to create a wall-less room with panoramic views and a seamless connection with the outside.
The best views are to the North and every room benefits from the outlook and view. The deep reveals and balconies to each of the bedrooms help to control the solar gain.
All bedrooms have en-suite wet rooms and external terraces, boutique 5* quality, but retaining the feel of a contemporary country house. Environmentally sustainable functionality is an important consideration; therefore both passive and active systems to create a virtually stand-alone, off-grid project are included: Photovoltaic Array, Rainwater harvesting, Air source heat pump.
The long drive from the entrance of the site creates an opportunity for multiple and varying views of Villa Gris. On arrival it is seen in the context of the bush, the raw grey concrete contrasting with the lush surroundings of the natural environment.
At one end of the 26m long ground floor the kitchen forms a proscenium where our chef creates a variety of menus from light lunches to an 8 course degustation experience with locally paired wines.
Feature lights salvaged from the decommissioned Concorde hangar at Heathrow in London are suspended over the island unit. All the kitchen joinery is bespoke and finished in a deep black ‘grand-piano’ gloss. It is balanced at the opposite end of the main space by a dual aspect open log fire. The fireplace acts as a separator from, and transition to, the snug beyond. The snug has two antique leather Robin Day sofas, a 1953 Riley’s Bar Billiards table, a super flat (20mm) 75” TV, a wireless AV surround system and locally sourced vintage furniture. Finally the AV/communications room, laundry and cloakroom complete the internal ground floor plan.
The stair linking the ground and first floor is designed as a suspended object composed of multiple vertical strands. 72 steel hangers support 18 Marri timber treads. Obliquely viewed the stair has a solidity and presence that disappears as one moves around to face the stairs side on.
Upstairs, the master suite has a bespoke super-king size bed which hovers above the floor, the black lacquer surround and inlay leather headboard echo the finishes used throughout the house. The master suite also boasts a 55” flat screen TV with blu-ray player and writing desk. Behind the bed are two walk-in wardrobes and beyond this the master en-suite with its feature shower that opens up to the bush beyond.
Bedrooms two and three feature en-suite wet rooms inspired by a 1950’s New York hotel aesthetic. Bedroom four is a large dual aspect family suite featuring a bespoke super-king sized bed, 55” flat screen TV with blu-ray player, built-in wardrobes, and a linear shower room, which can be opened up to the outside.
All bedrooms feature a large terrace balcony providing private outdoor space for each room.
The facades running East-West are either timber or glass floor to ceiling height panels in equal measure, giving a balanced composition. The North elevation, facing both the sea view and the sun, has a very deep reveal to protect against high solar gain in summer, yet allows the winter sun in. These reveals form the balcony terraces at first floor level.
This is an area with something for everyone: Wine tasting tours, Surfing, Paddle-boarding, Sailing, Whale and Dolphin watching, Fishing, Cycling, Yoga, Walking or even Flying in a 1942 Tiger moth along the coast. Our Concierge will be more than happy to assist with any arrangements and will be on hand throughout your stay. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.