Architect Stephen Hoffman

A group of friends commissioned perth architect stephen hoffman to design the perfect antidote to hectic city living. The result is a series of linked pavilions that meander among the treetops taking in glorious coastal views. It’s a tonic for body and soul.
AS A SITE FOR A COUNTRY RETREAT it had all the essential elements: a canopy of banksia and peppermint trees, a sweeping 270 degree view of the coast, proximity to Perth, and all the seclusion a laded city dweller could desire.
The clients, a trio of executives looking for a place to share, asked architect Stephen Hoffman for a dwelling that would sit lightly on the natural terrain and relate sensitively with the surrounding vegetation, while making the most of the north easterly views. They required separate sleeping quarters and an accommodating, flexible living space where they could socialise.
Stephen has arranged the house as a series of three separate pavilions, or “pods”, linked via elevated bridges and walkways. “These open bridges, stairs and walkways are to give the owners a chance to interact with the natural bushland, feel the breezes, and occasionally get wet!” says Stephen. “It is good for the soul, an opportunity to break from the artificial environment of the city.”
The curved driveway leads directly to the middle pavilion, comprising the garage with shared living/dining and kitchen space upstairs. Out from the living area, a curved balcony hovers out among the tree canopy and enjoys views of the coast. Off to one side, a walkway rakes one for an amble among the treetops to one of the sleeping pods – two bedrooms (one up, one down) and a store underneath. From the garage, a walkway leads to the other sleeping pod, where two bedrooms (both with sitting areas) are linked via a deck and shared bathroom.
Externally, random rubble limestone walls with timber cladding and Colorbond roofing are the perfect combination for a project that needed to be sensitively related to its environment. The construction method — a steel frame connected to limestone walls and brickwork boxes — enabled Stephen to get the best of the views, and to ensure that the tall, narrow pods were braced against windloads. Tiny windows facing west give the stone exterior an impressive fortress or lighthouse quality, while banks of sun-protected louvres to the east and north provide cross ventilation.
The views are the main visual element in each room, switching focus from distant ocean vistas to close-up bushland scenes as one moves up and down stairs through the three pavilions. Generous room dimensions, especially in the bedrooms, combine with lofty raked or curved ceilings to create a soothingly spacious mood throughout.
In the sleeping quarters the colours are subtle and neutral, the furnishings are contemporary, and accessories are minimal. Tones are bolder and earthier in the living areas, where the dramatic corrugated ceiling, vibrant feature walls and paprika scatter cushions lend a sense of fun to this shared zone.
Affectionately known as the Tree House, this secluded abode has broken away from the restrictive parameters of the suburbs. Here adventurous journeys link a series of individual spaces.

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