Open Invitation – Shelly Beach House by Michael Cumming Architect

Words by Bronwyn Marshall
Photography by Tom Ferguson
Build by Mark Howarth
Interior Design by Michael Cumming Architect
Shelly Beach House By Michael Cumming Architect Project Feature The Local Project Image (3)

Outwardly reaching, Shelly Beach House focuses on connection to the ocean, bringing a similar lightness to the interior of the home. Michael Cumming Architect combines a natural approach that aligns with a priority of living at one with nature, embedding the ability to open outer edges and embrace the surrounds.

Situated on the coast, Shelly Beach House is located in Manly with generous and enviable views. From its multiple levels, the home maximises its position atop a sloping site, allowing for visual access from each level visible through an expanse of glass glazing. The combination of natural materiality and a muted palette creates a home of calming proportions with an idyllic scape, perched out over the ocean below. The warmth of the interior works to ground the residence, balancing a feeling of being surrounded by sky and sea. Clad in timber and in a weatherboard arrangement reminiscent of the coastal vernacular, Michael Cummings Architect imagines the home as a series of operable spaces that embrace the location.

The warmth of the interior works to ground the residence, balancing a feeling of being surrounded by sky and sea.

Shelly Beach House By Michael Cumming Architect Project Feature The Local Project Image (1)

Shelly Beach House comes together as a series of spaces that are experienced through a journey of compression and release. As guests move through the entry and towards the central the living space, anticipation builds to a crescendo. The core inspiration for the home stems from the feeling of a balcony overlooking the beach. The home is balanced by offering more closed and passive spaces to retreat with other open and free zones. The outdoor terrace areas are intentionally designed to feel like a natural extension of the interior, allowing ease of movement between each, expanding the overall footprint of the home.

Thinly outlined glass frames the threshold between inside and out, helping to emphasise a connection to context and the surrounding location. Internally, a similar openness allows a flow of movement whilst still retaining a connection to the ocean below. Being able to control both solar gains and natural sunlight also forms an integral part of any brief of living near the ocean. By designing white timber operable screens as part of the joinery, the reference to the surrounding lightness of palette and typical coastal feel is maintained, similarly ensuring they function to cool and move air through the spaces. A layer of linen then softens the threshold, dappling and filtering light in the process.

The core inspiration for the home stems from the feeling of a balcony overlooking the beach.

Shelly Beach House sees Michael Cumming Architect further celebrate contrast by combining curved and linear elements amongst other balanced gestures, creating a feeling of composed stillness.