Dawesville Residence

Views from three sides of this home called for a unique design that would make the most of all of them.

A comfortable, energy-efficient family home to suit coastal living was the driving desire behind the Dawesville Residence. Just south of Mandurah, this quiet coastal area was the perfect location for our clients to create their dream family home.

The layout is the reverse of your typical home, with the main living areas are on the first floor to capture ocean views.

This floor consists of an open plan kitchen with scullery, dining, and living area which opens on to a generous balcony. The master bedroom with ensuite and walk-in-robe, plus an additional bedroom/study is also situated on the first floor.

On the ground floor is a garage with a large storage area, three additional bedrooms, a bathroom, laundry and powder room, and a family room that opens onto an alfresco area.

In order to reflect their location, our clients chose a coastal aesthetic for the material selection.

The cladding is a combination of vertical fibre cement panels in monument, and horizontal panels in white, with timber-look cladding, rendered walls, and timber batten screens.

Client priorities

With ocean views to the west, bushland to the north and the Dawesville canal to the south, we were able to achieve lots of stunning views. The ocean views were the most important to our clients, and ultimately drove the orientation and layout of the whole project.

Expected to be a long-term residence for our client and their young family we had to ensure the house could evolve with them as they grew. The number of bedrooms and their locations allows for flexibility of which ones are used as bedrooms and which is the home office.


Generous yard space was included so they had to option to add vegetable gardens and/or playing spaces. And outdoor shower and laundry access has been included to reduce the amount of sand and dirt in the house, especially as they’re so close to the beach.

To prepare for the children aging and wanting more privacy, we ensured that future expansion would be possible without significant changes.


An early challenge in the design was its location in a Bushfire Prone Area. Bushland to the rear of the property meant that the desire to connect with the natural landscape of the site and maximise views to the ocean had to be compromised for the safety of the house and inhabitants.

An initial concept to integrate the backyard with the rear property had to be abandoned to get the house in a location that would achieve the desired views.


The design process occurred in 2020, and like everywhere else in the world, was heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. It changed how we interacted with our clients, with a large reliance on video conferences and working remotely.

On top of this was a deadline imposed by the State and Federal governments providing opportunities for construction grants. We had to adapt, and we had to adapt quickly. As an office, we pride ourselves on being flexible to suit what’s required to complete a project.

Sustainable features

The orientation of the house runs north to south – a consequence of the site proportions – but the layout of the areas inside has been crafted to reduce as much glazing to the east and west facades as possible. Where some large western facing glazing was unavoidable, it is heavily shaded.

Windows to the eastern and western elevations of the living space have been pushed out and oriented to face northeast and northwest. This allows for a lot of sunshine in winter but none in summer.


A concrete slab on the ground and a feature masonry spine wall through the centre of the house was introduced to include thermal mass.All living and bedrooms have multiple windows, that when open will be able to take advantage of cross flow ventilation. Ceiling fans have been located in the larger areas to keep air circulating through the house, which was designed not to have air conditioning.

The house is essentially grouped into three zones which can be closed off or opened up at certain times of day to adjust the thermal balance and reduce energy usage for heating and cooling.

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