An architecturally significant post-war home was the design inspiration and sentimental impetus behind this coastal abode
Meet & greet
Sally (town planner and project manager) and Matt McGarry (electrician and solar power installation company director), Jasper, 11, Duke, nine, Sonny, five, and samoyed retriever cross Shelby.
The options are endless when you build from scratch, but Sally McGarry had a very specific home in mind when she and husband Matt built this sprawling pavilion in a coastal hinterland. “Our main intention was to capture the essence of my grandparents’ home, the Fenner House, a mid-century home commissioned by my grandfather, Frank Fenner,” Sally says.
“As a child, I spent most afternoons there, climbing trees, picking fruit and making cubby houses in the shrubs and wisteria. The extensive use of glass, the connection to the garden and different functional zones were all memorable features to me, and we wanted to carry them through to the design of our house.”
The couple worked with good friends, architects Kirrili Zimmer and Teneil Van Dyck, to form the initial concept before inviting a local firm to collaborate on the final design. Like her grandparents’ house, this home, named Las Palmas, is divided into two wings – one for entertaining and the other for sleeping – each orientated to take full advantage of the site’s natural light, cool breezes and rolling views.
“It features the same elongated roofline, large expanse of glazing, modernist lines and passive orientation as the Fenner House,” Sally tells. However, as the homes were built 68 years apart, there are some obvious differences – namely, the roof- and ground-mounted solar energy systems installed by Matt’s solar installation company and an infinity edge swimming pool nestled into the hillside.
“It reflects the contrasting locations and lifestyles led by our family today and my grandparents in the past,” she says.
Sally went for a minimalist aesthetic so as not to detract from the clean lines of the mid-century architecture and the surrounding landscape, with the addition of different textures and vintage pieces for warmth and interest. The burnished concrete flooring throughout was chosen for its slightly patchy appearance, which feels amazing underfoot, while hardwood timber cladding in the kitchen contrasts the concrete benchtops and brushed brass hardware. Lighting is deliberately kept simple: “We wanted to see the ‘effect’ of the light without seeing the light itself,” Sally says.
The result is a laid-back home with an intimate connection to the land and the perfect blend of indoor-outdoor living. “Dinners are eaten outside taking in the views, the pool is used year round and outdoor movie nights are a regular occurrence,” Sally tells. “When we come home, we feel relaxed – like the weight of the world has been lifted.”