‘In the design, Andrew had selected Corten cladding – a copper chromium alloy steel that has a rusty look. I think this has its place in a city or rural setting, but I didn’t think it was suitable for a beach house. When I told him I wanted to use black zinc, board-formed concrete and Australian recycled hardwoods, he said, “Steve, that’s the perfect palette”.’
While Andrew refined various details, Steve researched all the products to get the best materials. Treating the concrete to a board-form finish softens the look with natural wood-grain embossing – an old technique that Steve applied using Oregon timber.
Upon entering the dwelling, the living and dining wing hovers nine metres out over the sandstone cave, with an outdoor courtyard nestled into the cliff. The house also features separate family and bedroom wings, a granny flat on the ground floor with a deck above the garage, and an internal lift. The master bedroom is located 20 metres above street level, on the top floor, to provide sparkling ocean views.
The North Curl Curl house utilises passive solar heating and cooling, as well as cross-ventilation and hydronic heating in the concrete slab.
After working on this project for three-and-a-half years, Steve completed it in late 2018, all on time. ‘The way I build is quite intuitive,’ he explains. ‘I like building over a long period of time, and I get inspiration from Pinterest posts and online mood boards.’
That’s how he discovered talented Belgian designer Filip Janssens, whom he commissioned to produce two pieces of geometrically inclined joinery with recessed handles.
Steve believes that extra touches like this offer a solid return. ‘It’s a chance to showcase me, the company and the craftspeople I commission. I spent a lot of extra money to make it perfect, which involved no shortcuts. It was a labour of love.’