Merricks Guest House by Studio Esteta is a residential architecture project located in the picturesque rural Victorian town of Merricks North.
Originally a rustic timber clad studio designed by Eckersley Garden Architecture, the conversion of the Merricks Guest House into a sophisticated accommodation offering, was informed as much by the existing infrastructure, as by the property’s rural location in Victoria’s stunning Mornington Peninsula.
Located in the heart of the Red Hill/ Merricks wine region, the 10 acre property comprises an existing primary residence connected through beautiful soft and hard landscaping to the, now – Guest House. The property has also become an extension of their café kitchen, where fresh produce is grown and harvested.
Notable figures in the hospitality industry, the Client’s intention was for their rural property in Merricks to be more than a family getaway. The brief was to create a high-end accommodation offering that anchored the building to its landscape, creating synergy with the property’s primary residence and maximise the connection to the natural beauty of the site’s surroundings.
Furthermore, the brief called for a compact but highly functional residential arrangement with minimal gestures to the existing façade and to retain its aged and rustic beauty with an overall minimal aesthetic. The initiative to retain the existing studio structure & cladding, and instil new life through sympathetic gestures was a sustainably conscious approach, which was another key requirement of the brief.
The conversion then provided an interior that is seamlessly bound with its surroundings and the primary residence, where the clients can entertain with family and friends in the prominent and spacious kitchen. The kitchen island bench – being a key design element – becomes the heart of the guest house, allowing for congregation, conversation and entertaining.
Nestled within the landscaping, it became apparent the need to create a visual connection with the environment. Through minimal gestures, including new openings to the façade and a palette derived from the muted tones – the assembly to the picturesque paddocks and surrounding gardens is heightened, providing a stunning backdrop to the interior spaces.
Glazed sliding doors were introduced to both the east and west facades to maximise connection to the properties surroundings and flood the interior with natural light. This influx of natural light, and the implementation of a cleverly considered layout resulted in two bedrooms, a compact bathroom, euro laundry and open plan kitchen, living and dining areas.
A full height reeded (operable) window was introduced to the shower to provide privacy and distorted views to the lush greenery beyond. It further provides for a beautiful vista from the dining room, encouraging the bathroom to be open when not in use and celebrated.
The square picture window to the kitchen is controlled in its size to resemble an art piece, capturing the rustic beauty of the gardens beyond. The openings were strategically placed to ensure all rooms had abundant access to natural light and ventilation – all being varied in scale, allowing nature to control the connection to the surrounding external environment.
A palette of smoked oak timber boards, veneers and dark bronze accents create a tangible connection to the landscape whilst the rustic quality of the materials are sensitively balanced with refined sophistication, creating clean lines and a light filled interior.
The final design solution is a testament to clever, considered and practical ideas that are sympathetic to the site context and successfully achieve the clients brief to create a simple, functional and beautiful guest house.
The Merricks Guest House by Studio Esteta has become a sanctuary where the clients can retreat to and has enabled them to now share their beloved rural property with family, friends and colleagues.
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