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Beach shack remodel highlights incredible ocean views

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Instead of demolishing an old beach shack, the architects built an extension on top of it

Shot from inside corner of house with full expanse of windows overlooking beach and a hill of houses below. Furniture is minimalist and Scandinavian-esque.
Those views!
Photos by Peter Bennetts courtesy of Austin Maynard Architects

Instead of demolishing an old oceanside shack to make room for a bigger space, Victoria, Australia-based Austin Maynard Architects (led by Mark Austin and Andrew Maynard) built a new timber box to hover above it.

Supported by a heavy wooden structure and clad in polycarbonate siding, it contains the kitchen, dining, and living rooms.

A spiral staircase connects the new section of the home with the old shack, which was left largely unchanged except for a few cosmetic upgrades and the conversion of the old kitchen into a second bathroom and laundry room.

In the addition, expansive windows provide sweeping views of the ocean from its elevated position without overpowering the original property below. In fact, the new living space does not protrude over the ridge-line of the shack below it so that the two structures can coexist in harmony. Even its facade was designed to weather and go grey so that the home would become a part of the landscape.

Dorman House, as the project is called, fulfills an age-old wish of many Australians who aspired to own both a suburban home and a bush shack. By combining elements of an everyday residence with a weekend getaway, the architects were able to create a space that honored traditional architecture while also taking risks.

Even though the framing of ocean vistas was a significant priority for the clients, it wasn’t the only focus. The extension’s lighting scheme was designed with specificity and functionality in mind so that the artificial lights would not compromise the natural view.

The home is sustainable, too, wherever possible. Glass expanses are double-glazed for optimal thermal efficiency, while a hood shields the sun in summer while harnessing it in winter. A large water tank is used to flush toilets and water the garden. But what makes the house especially sustainable is the fact that the original shack remains in tact. Take a tour below.