Balnarring Retreat

Designed by Branch Studio Architects

Located in the picturesque town of Balnarring, Victoria, Australia resides the newly developed home, Balnarring Retreat. This minimal home was designed by Branch Studio Architects. Taking the ideas and philosophy around a minimalist life, a slowed down version to our already fast-paced life, the home was designed to embrace a low-tech aesthetic. The most interesting part of this home is the materiality that the designers took to the build. Removing as much of the technological aspects of construction away, making way for a more hands-on approach. This craftsmanship can be seen within each wall that surrounds the building, designed to integrate folding components that open and close allowing the owner to morph and manipulate the space around them. The physicality of this removes the common inclusion of a button or remote control that would normally do this which removes that well needed human interaction. Bringing the owners closer to their home, their space and their environment, creating a more rounded habitat. 

From the very first discussion with the client it became apparent that this building would need to be specifically non-specific in its apparent program, a space that could be nothing one minute and everything the next, required to regularly and effortlessly switch between an empty nondescript shell of limitless possibilities to a fully functioning private residence,  - a knitting studio, a reading room, weekend drinks with the neighbours, yoga, Christmas day lunch.

Within the home, you have a series of walls that provide an array of options for the owners to indulge on. The south wall contains the fold-away bed, desk, bookshelves and general storage. The east wall containing flaps that reveal a long table and a shallow storage space. The kitchen, main workspace and a hidden door that leads to you the bathroom all reside on the west wall. This eclectic mix of storage, hidden spaces and living areas all tie within the overall design aesthetic and direction, creating a home that not only feels like it's part of the environment but enhances it. 

The home's location is as important as the home itself. Being so close to nature and the idealism within the design, are part of the home as much as the ingenious storage systems within. The sounds and views that the home provides create an environment perfected to the brief.  

Founder of John & Douglas and a passionate advocate for minimalist product, architecture, interior and furniture design.