Located in one of Noosa heads most sought after locations, Riverstone is the latest luxury home designed by Tim Ditchfield architects. With its strong horizontal lines and impressive façade, it blends elements of Brazilian modernist and mid-century modern architecture to create a home that is timeless in aesthetic and considered in its use of texture and materials. We recently caught up with associate architect Oskar from Tim Ditchfield Architects to learn more about their approach and why they looked to Cosh Living to furnish this stunning Queensland home.
- Could you tell us a little about yourself and the Tim Ditchfield Architects?
Tim Ditchfield Architects is Noosa based architecture studio that specialises in residential architecture. Tim Ditchfield (Director) has been practising in the Noosa Heads area for more than 30 years. Oskar Booth (project Architect for Riverstone) is an associate architect and has been working at TDA for 7 years. We are a small team that is selective with the projects we take on so that they can be carefully designed and nurtured to completion.
- First impressions of the Riverstone project, seem to have a strong mid-century modern influence. Can you tell us more about the features that give it this appearance and where do you draw your inspiration from?
All of our designs follow modern design principles, and we aspire to create timeless buildings rather than following trends, something that mid-century architecture has achieved well. Strong horizontal expressions feature across our work and Riverstone is no exception. Once the fundamental planning is resolved we treat the elevational studies like a composition. In this case, there is a repeated theme of horizontal elements across scales and materials. The Brise-Soleil was designed as a unifying façade element for both solar and privacy need, and does reference back to Brazilian modernist architecture (with which we share a similar climate, hence needing the solar control this façade provides)
- What are your favourite design features incorporated into the Riverstone project?
Some personal favourites are:
- The spatial qualities of the stair and living room void spaces, which are high volume double height spaces that form the heart of the home, with a gorgeous river frontage as a backdrop.
- The bold brise-soleil that was designed in-house and custom-fabricated locally, gives the project a strong street presence.
- The linear format travertine cladding that wraps from outside in.
- The whitewashed timber ceilings soften the interior spaces and provide texture and visual interest
- The intense landscaping including mature palms and olive trees.
- The gorgeous furniture of course!
Monsieur Tricot Lighting by Tribu
Otway Modular Sofa, Timber Dining Table & Armchairs by Kett, Velis Barstool by Potocco
Otway Modular Sofa, Coffee Table & Johanna Ottoman by Kett
- Who was your client, and why did they approach Tim Ditchfield Architects?
Our clients were a family that lives abroad and spends 4-6 months in Noosa per year. They engaged us after visiting several of our completed projects and liking our portfolio of work. A project of this type benefits from a local architect in both the design and construction stages.
- Did your client have initial expectations of what they wanted the property to look like?
The aesthetic brief allowed us a lot of freedom as designers. The existing house that we were replacing had some elements that the owners wished to keep such as VJ walls and ceilings, which lead us towards the chosen interior aesthetic that was not minimalistic, but more about surfaces, texture and materials. Concrete was discussed very early on, and was chosen for its durability, but the owners did not want too much of it internally. The internal and external palettes are quite different, with a bolder stronger aesthetic externally and a softer and calmer approach internally. There was a strong preference for local and Australian suppliers, materials, furniture etc.
Otway Timber Dining Table, Armchairs, Addis Extension Table & Forrest Armchairs by Kett, Velis Barstool by Potocco
- Did you face any challenges along the way? What are some key considerations when designing a house of this size and in Noosa heads tropical climate?
There were many challenges along the way, starting with a lengthy development approval stage made more challenging by the existing stormwater infrastructure on the property. A basement constructed below the water table, next to the river and in acid sulphate reactive soils was a huge engineering challenge. The construction phase was challenging due to the level of detail in the project; however, this was mitigated by a very involved architect–builder relationship and a very passionate team of tradespeople that were focused on quality.
Climate-responsive design in Noosa’s sub-tropical climate is a very important aspect of the design phase. Here we faced challenges that the views were largely to the south meaning that we needed a separate front courtyard to capture the northern sun (desirable in winter mostly). Good sun shading to thermal mass is very important with concrete construction, resulting in generous eaves. Cross ventilation is very abundant due to the large openings and voids within the building.
Senja Lounger, Pure Sofa & Armchair by Tribu
- What was the original property like?
The original house on this lot was designed in the late 1980s and was still in relatively good shape but looking very tired and unloved. There was never any consideration of renovation as a basement was a must-have in the design brief.
- How is the architecture changing in this area?
The calibre of the new houses in this part of Noosa is incredible, largely due to a desirable location and high land costs and allowing for high-budget houses to be built. (This area is home to some of the most expensive houses in Queensland). There is an increasing number of architect-designed houses, which is exciting to see as it brings a diverse range of aesthetics and forms. Some of the popular materials are insitu-concrete, natural stone, timber screening, timber joinery, timber ceilings and some fantastic landscape architecture as well to complement the buildings.
- What are your core design principles/ ethos when facing a project like this one?
As we largely create houses (single residential) we mostly follow a site and brief-driven design strategy meaning that we don’t have one particular style, but rather a quiver of tested details and layouts that are used and constantly evolving. You will see a common thread across our projects, but not one aesthetic. All our designs follow modern design principles, and we aspire to create timeless buildings rather than following trends. We follow a form-follows-function, planning-driven approach and then refine the aesthetics, compositions, and forms until we are happy with them.
Otway Lounge Chair by Kett
- Why did you approach Cosh Living to collaborate on this project?
Cosh living was an easy choice for this project as we had a strong desire to use Australian-made furniture where possible, and the Kett range was a perfect fit for the aesthetics of the house. The process was made even easier by a visit to the showrooms with the clients to select pieces, fabrics etc. The whole process was very enjoyable and in my opinion the icing on the cake for such a great project.
Otway Sofa & Lounge Chair by Kett
- What was your experience like working with Cosh Living?
The experience in dealing with Cosh was flawless from start to finish. We had originally intended to visit several Brisbane furniture showrooms, but in the end, 90% of the furniture was selected from Cosh as the range just worked so well together and we could use matching and complimentary pieces to suit the project needs. The guidance from Cosh felt very collaborative and the end results speak to this.
Yo Side Table by Lapalma
Pure Sofa, Lounge Chair, Senja Lounger & Monsieur Tricot Lighting by Tribu, Addis Teak Extension Table, Forrest Armchairs and Glenaire Lounge Chair by Kett
Photography by Scott Burrows