A Coastal Retreat – Samphire House by Doherty Building Group and King’s Landscaping
Thirteenth Beach, VIC, Australia
Nestled between the ocean and the expansive 13th Beach Golf Course, Samphire House is a meticulously crafted Palm Springs-inspired home by Doherty Building Group, with pool and coastal gardens by King’s Landscaping.
The home of builder Tyson Doherty, managing director of Doherty Building Group, and his wife Teegan, Samphire House exemplifies heightened attention to detail in its construction and a sensitive response to context in its design. The project was highly collaborative from the outset, with Tyson working closely with architect Daniel Van Den Ham and Jason King of King’s Landscaping. “I always think it’s wise to have the builder and landscape team on board early in the design process,” Tyson explains. “It just ensures there are no surprises along the way and creates a seamless result.”
This collaborative approach is seen in the highly integrated relationship between the design, construction and landscape, which is experienced from the moment one is met with the striking geometric facade, contrasting materiality of silvertop ash and charred timber cladding, and the unusual grass driveway and textural green landscaping that complements the building. While the home’s palette and clean contemporary lines set the scene for what lies beyond, there is also a sense of intrigue and subtlety that influenced the deliberate simplicity of the landscape design, says Jason King. “The grass driveway has turned into a unique feature of the front and contrasts against the charred timber, but we kept the landscape really simple with repetitive planting and not a lot of colour. This softens the house but allows it to be the hero.”
Taking inspiration from Tyson and Teegan’s appreciation for mid-century Palm Springs architecture and also from the site itself, the house is arranged around a central courtyard and pool. Stepping inside, one is greeted by a direct view through to the pool beyond, establishing the light and airy atmosphere of the home. “It’s a south facing backyard, so to incorporate the north sun, we designed the house as a C-shape with an internal landscaped courtyard,” says Tyson. “The courtyard also means every room has views of the garden and, as it can get quite windy here, it offers a protected alfresco space for us to spend time outdoors.”
Taking inspiration from Tyson and Teegan’s appreciation for mid-century Palm Springs architecture and also from the site itself, the house is arranged around a central courtyard and pool.
With the house situated adjacent the green expanses of 13th Beach Golf Course, the landscaping of the courtyard was deliberately attuned to this context, creating the impression that the site extends all the way to the established line of mature pines that tower some distance from the rear boundary. Lush green lawns and mass plantings of tussock grasses harmonise with the landscape beyond, with the pool and a single Gleditsia ‘honey locust’ tree becoming the focal point of the courtyard. “We worked quite closely with Tyson to select the right species of tree that would make a statement without growing too large and blocking the light,” Jason explains. In keeping with this simple, natural landscaping, the team collaboratively employed dark green pool tiles to create an effect closer to a natural garden pond than a bright blue resort pool.
The courtyard becomes the verdant, living heart of the home, its tranquil atmosphere pervading the interiors. The greenery is picked up in elements such as the hues of the marble that clads the kitchen island and the deeper green feature tiles in the master ensuite. The relaxed tone is also continued in the living space with the sunken lounge, which is an inviting place to both unwind and entertain. “Teegan and I wanted to take inspiration from the 60s and relay small details into the interior finishes,” Tyson says.
With the house situated adjacent the green expanses of 13th Beach Golf Course, the landscaping of the courtyard was deliberately attuned to this context, creating the impression that the site extends all the way to the established line of mature pines that tower some distance from the rear boundary.
The sunken lounge was one of many design opportunities that, as both builder and client, he was able to explore and execute to the highest standard. “Insetting it into the slab required a lot of extra work, as the sides had to be polished by hand, and it has a beautiful beveled edge and floating timber steps, but it was completely worth the extra effort – we get a lot of comments about the space now,” he says. Another example is to be found in the charred timber, which is brought in from the façade to the fireplace in the living area. “I decided that I would char it myself,” Tyson recalls. “I ended up standing in the courtyard for about two weeks trying different methods until I could perfect it. After burning it, sealing it and installing it myself, I was really happy with the outcome as it adds an element of personal touch to the home and was well worth the effort”.
From the construction to the design and the landscaping, Samphire House reaps the rewards of Doherty Building Group and King’s Landscaping’s personal commitment by to the execution of the finest details and of the collaborative approach that brought the project to fruition. Making the most of its beautiful setting on the Surf Coast, the home is an ideal coastal retreat.