Ultra-modern Australian beachside villa

Sorrento House is a contemporary Palladian villa that unashamedly takes its lead from the great seaside villas but adds an ultra-modernist twist in Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia. Designed by Robert Mills Architects, its large scale, but fine detail, mimics the wild and rugged beauty of the coast itself. Sorrento showcases the core ingredients of modern design: a monochromatic palette of exposed concrete and honed basalt; a seamless marriage between its raw elements and the coastal landscape. “A beach house is a place that can offer all the sophistication and convenience of modern life but is cloaked in casual clothes,” says Mills. At Sorrento, this has been achieved by allowing the structure to become the finish. The use of raw materials – exposed concrete and hand hewn timber with their natural flaws left intact, honed basalt floors – ensures the house sits comfortably within its natural environment.

The home’s ground floor is entirely living space, with an open-plan layout and north-facing terrace providing a large entertaining area. Large sheets of glass allow natural light to flood the vast open plan living and dining area downstairs and create a seamless flow to the terrace and pool outside. The sense of space this engenders is enhanced by high ceilings and a simple palette that continues through the pale ash ceilings and dove grey carpets in the bedrooms upstairs. The lost craft of interior decoration lifts Sorrento to another level. Bold use of tribal sculptures and unique Aboriginal art contrasts with the raw finishes, adding another dimension.

Photos: Earl Carter