This modern take on a classic beach house draws inspiration from architectural greats in creating a multi-generational family getaway.
Any home-lover’s eyes will light up at the mere mention of Frank Lloyd Wright; design students only have to hear the name Fallingwater and they’ll know exactly what style you’re aiming for. The homeowners of this Moffat Beach hideaway know this feeling all too well. When approaching Gold Leaf Constructions to take on this project, they were clear about what they wanted: a modern beach home that spoke the same language as Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic builds, while suiting their family-filled lifestyle.
“This family home upgrade aimed to achieve maximum functionality for three generations, while also serving as a weekend and retirement home for the owners,” explains Kyle Grabbe, director of Gold Leaf Constructions. “They also wanted to capture ocean views while maintaining privacy from the Moffat Beach picnic area.”
The location was already a selling point, which building designer Reitsma & Associates, and the Gold Leaf Constructions team used to their advantage. The home’s placement was carefully determined; 3D plots of the full parkland and beach foreshore let the team test floor heights, viewing corridors, and privacy wall locations, ensuring they could perfectly meet the homeowners’ desire for privacy while drawing the outside in.
So, how would the home be built? You’d be forgiven for assuming beach houses are always humble shacks, with sun and salt vying for prominence as paint peels from timber cladding (this writer, raised by the ocean, can think of little else). Modernism, however, takes this image and invites us to reconsider: natural elements, sure, but make them textural and new, then pair them with a dash of the industrial. It’s a stronger interpretation of the beachside retreat that’s perfectly suited to the 21st century, but with nods to the past, and it’s the direction the clients, designers, and builders chose to move in.
“The main material selections were inspired by the clients’ admiration for Frank Lloyd Wright’s design language, characterised by strong forms and large cantilevers,” says Kyle. “To achieve this, we used raw stack bond blockwork and off-form concrete.” Juxtaposed with this are elements of that traditional beachy style: lightweight timber in honeyed tones counterbalances the heavy cement blocks, while lightweight balustrades and metal accents bridge the divide between the elements. It’s a design that’s not just aesthetically inviting, it’s built to endure — functional, durable, and well-rounded. “The emphasis was on creating a visually appealing and long-lasting home,” says Kyle.
While the outside is certainly worthy of a second look, it’s wandering through the home that’s the team’s favourite part of the project. The journey up through each of the three levels offers a different glimpse of Moffat Beach (captured spectacularly on the third-storey viewing deck). And, as you explore each level of the home, you notice that every little luxury is cleverly tucked away, and the home itself almost feels hidden from the world outside. Open-plan living areas invite warm weekend gatherings with family and friends — warmer still in winter, with the inclusion of an Oblica fireplace. Hand-selected and handcrafted blackbutt veneer in the kitchen emphasises those natural tones we see in the home’s exterior, once again teamed with cement flooring for an echo of the outdoors. Outside, there’s room to socialise and room for privacy: the beach might be at your doorstep, but a solo dip in your own pool, far from the crowds, might be what the doctor ordered. Even gazing out at the views ahead is private, thanks to screens cleverly placed at possible street-level vantage points.
So, the verdict? Kyle tells us the owners’ main goal was to make a home you’d be reluctant to leave. Mission accomplished, we say.
Words: Natasha Pavez // Photography: Alyne Media