The Gruyere Farmhouse by Rachcoff Vella Architects stands at the pinnacle of a scenic hill in Victoria's Yarra Valley, about an hour's drive from Melbourne. The Rachcoff Vella team looked to Kett Furniture to furnish the home, to further the project's dialogue with its natural context. The Gruyere project showcases the seamless coexistence of design and nature, paving the way for a uniquely Australian design aesthetic.
The Gruyere Farmhouse project emerged from a comprehensive brief presented by the clients who were familiar with the site due to their time spent holidaying in a self-contained cabin on the property. With the location as an inspiration point, it was integral for the design to reflect this in the architecture, with a strong preference for various views of the landscape throughout the home.
Drawing inspiration from the surrounding land, the design emphasised a strong connection to the ubiquitous Yarra Ranges. The undulating and dancing pitched roof forms, directly inspired by the silhouette of the mountain range to the North, established a meaningful dialogue with the natural context on both a micro and macro scale.
Above: Forrest Lounge Chair, Coffee Table & Sofa by Kett
The three main views from the home’s interior are breathtaking, presenting one capturing Melbourne's skyline to the West, another showcasing the Yarra Ranges to the north from the living room, and a morning panorama over the Warramate Ranges from the master bedroom. The large floor-to-ceiling windows act as a frame to the external environment, enhancing that connection to the land which only made sense that the home’s interior elements embraced natural materials and raw finishes to pay homage to these awe-inspiring surroundings.
The rhythmic board was chosen to form the kitchen which serves as a modern farmhouse-like, backdrop to the large living space. The same large timber panels flow through the flooring, extending this natural element throughout the home. Exposed bricks are used to construct a fireplace and entertainment structure, adding another layer of linear texture. Black cladding and fixings throughout the home tie these materials together, extending that relationship to the matt black exterior creating a uniquely modern Australian aesthetic.
The intentional connection of the Gruyere farmhouse to the landscape provided an ideal opportunity to integrate furniture that embodied the same narrative. Furniture collections from Cosh Living by the Australian brand Kett utilise the act of drawing upon place to inform their collections. This shared interest in finding inspiration in the nature around us allowed the furniture to seamlessly permeate the home, bringing refined elegance and a sense of timelessness to the welcoming atmosphere of the farmhouse.
Kett's locally crafted furniture complemented the quality materials in the interior. Careful consideration of material colours, finishes, and textures was chosen to seamlessly integrate with the surrounding features of the home and the immediate landscape. This thoughtful approach created a seamless flow throughout the home, establishing a profound sense of place.
In the kitchen, the soft curvature of the Arc Dining table and dark smoked oak finish offer a contrast to the honey oak finish of the rhythmic board. The Johanna high-back chairs bring a subtle soft fabric and leather touch, enhancing the overall natural aesthetic and comfort of the dining space.
The furniture in the living space almost acts as a reflection of the picturesque view behind them. The soft curved shapes of the Glenaire swivel chairs mimic the hills, the Portland coffee tables playfully echo natural earthy tones, and the Feathertop sofa provides a soft, cloud-like seating experience.
The bedroom, which mirrors the wood panelling in the kitchen, provided an ideal backdrop for the Erskine bed. The bedroom which leads onto a brick patio features the Forrest lounge chairs and coffee table in a soft pink tone and light timber, creating a harmonious setting contrasting the matte black exterior.
The private courtyard which features a pool and open fireplace offered an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of outdoor furniture and its capacity to bring all the comforts we find in indoor furniture to an outdoor setting.
In the courtyard which is located in the centre of the home, the Addis and Aireys lounge collection curates an intimate lounging experience around the open fireplace, while the Addis table and Nelson chairs offer a comfortable outdoor dining area. Once again, the collections were personalised to reflect tones in the surrounding architecture, revealing the capabilities and thoughtfulness of Kett's upholstery and finishes available in their collections. This personalised touch established a serene and unified atmosphere further enhancing the narrative between design and nature.
With larger open spaces that surround the property, The Apollo's robust and durable structure demonstrated the perfect setting standing up to strong winds and direct sunlight.
The Gruyere Farmhouse by Rachcoff Vella Architects serves as a genuine example of harmonious coexistence between architecture and nature, showcasing the possibilities when design integrates with its surroundings. Through the incorporation of Kett's furniture collections, characterised by timeless elegance and an inherent sense of place, the Gruyere Farmhouse transformed into a captivating and striking illustration of a distinctly modern Australian home.
Photography by Tatjana Plitt