Home of the Hill - Thornton Residence by Doherty Design Studio and Detail 9 Architects

Words by Sophie Sisko
Photography by Derek Swalwell
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“No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other,” – these words by Frank Lloyd Wright are recalled in Thornton Residence, a country escape by Doherty Design Studio, Detail 9 Architects and Plant Agent Landscape Architecture.

When the design team met atop the hillside in the rural Victorian suburb of Thornton, they decided together that the “gentle yet strong” local landscape would be the key informant of their shared narrative. Rolling hills carve the landscape that is nourished by the flowing Goulburn River tucked between them. There is a rhythm to the setting that defines the interior order of the project. The colour palette of the home, both inside and out, bares a wonderful and unmistakable reminiscence of the native snow gum eucalypts strewn across the surrounding site.

The home, situated within a private golf course, is designed for Melbourne-based clients as a “lock and leave” country escape. The couple expressed their desire for a cosy getaway for two that could also accommodate larger groups of visiting friends and family. The solution to divide the floorplate into three separate pavilions connected by glass walkways allows the house to be used and closed off as required, whilst the central living pavilion remains connected and intimate. Sleeping spaces branch east and west from the central pavilion, additionally bridged by a rounded terrace encompassing views southward to the Cathedral Ranges.

During the warmer months the full-height glazing is completely pulled back to expand the living spaces to the natural views beyond. The relationship between the interior and outdoors is balanced and in harmony. Each element exists in its own right and in symbiosis with the other. This is achieved through activating complementary connections and exploring a subtle avenue of biophilia to replicate natural patterns and methodology within an interior. The result is a calming and easy environment to inhabit.

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Dusty blue of the Cathedral Range in the distance.

Thornton Residence acts as the viewing point for its natural setting and takes cues from the scenes of which it frames. The refined colour palette is accentuated by a hue of blue that could have been plucked directly from the bordering mountain ridge. An organic collage of layered textures that play in both scale and finish create visual interest down to the finest detail.

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Clean lines of the pitched ceiling frame outward views of the Cathedral Ranges from the central living pavilion of Thornton Residence.

Just as nature’s grand beauty is content to exist as the humble backdrop for our daily lives, Thornton Residence provides the foundation for retreat without ostentation. An uncluttered environment that provides space to absorb the calm of nature and reset from the bustle of city life, through this interior, Doherty Design Studio express the art of ‘less is more’ to achieve clarity of mind and design.

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Soft replicated curves of the terrace wrap up the bathroom with handmade ceramic tiles.