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Dorman House

Austin Maynard Architects

Shared By

Symone Garvett

Project Name

Dorman House

Project Status


Year Completed



2,411 sq. feet


  • Andrew Maynard
  • Mark Austin
  • Natalie Miles


  • General Contractor: Spence Construction
  • Structural Engineer: Robin Bliem & Associates

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Project Description


Clients Kate and Grant had a beach house in Lorne, Victoria, which they loved and valued greatly. They asked ‘how could we add a clear and elevated view of the ocean without demolishing, damaging or dominating our beloved shack?’

Dorman House is a finely crafted timber box, independently constructed to hover over the existing beach house. In contrast to the neighbours, it has been designed to weather, to go grey and age, and sink back into the landscape, back into the bush.

The elevated box extension sits on top of a structure of industrial-looking posts and beams and comprises of a kitchen, dining and living room, accessed via a spiral staircase. Though the client’s asked to “save our shack but give us the view” they also wanted to create a space that was not solely focused on the vista. What could easily have been a white plasterboard box filled with downlights is, instead, detailed and well considered, radiating warmth and calm. Internally lined with Silvertop Ash, it’s a place that exudes character and responds to the seasonal changes and hours of the day.

The new living space does not protrude forward over the ridge-line of the old house and avoids dominating the original shack unnecessarily.

The undercroft of the new living space is a simple infill of the heavy timber structure, to create a useable space without adding mass that would dominate the original property. We have lined the space with polycarbonate, to allow an abundance of filtered light to fill the room. Though the old kitchen was transformed into a second bathroom and laundry, the original beach house remains mostly unchanged. It was tidied up and repainted so that the charm and character of the post war shack was retained.
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