Interview: Mark Austin and Andrew Maynard about the Dorman House remodel

27th March 2017

This week, we had a chat with Mark Austin and Andrew Maynard from Austin Maynard Architects about their recent revamp of the sustainable beach shack remodel – the Dorman House.

Remodels and extensions come with a pretty unique set of design challenges. Can you tell us about your process and how you approached the Dorman House?

The owners of Dorman House asked, “How could we add a clear and elevated view of the ocean without demolishing, damaging or dominating our beloved shack?”.

Solutions can easily become expensive and complicated. Many people choose to demolish their shack and start again. It is an economic decision that many shack owners make at the expense of local and family heritage. 

We refused to sacrifice this Great Ocean Road shack for yet another beach-side McMansion. Becoming a part of the slow erosion of the Great Ocean Road’s collective cultural memory wasn’t a choice for us – and our clients couldn’t agree more!

How did you come to choose Brightgreen LEDs?

We really like the design, quality and fabrication of Brightgreen LED lights. And, we love that they are locally designed!

Can you tell us about the lighting design?

We were very careful not to over-light the space or have the fittings work against the timber cladding or the framing portals. It was important that the lighting configuration suit the activity of the room and we managed to do this by choosing the right lights for the project.

The D900 SHX Curve, which was used in the Dorman House, is surface-mounted to increase home thermal efficiency. What other sustainable products or techniques were used to make the home more energy efficient?

Thanks for noticing!

Sustainability is at the core of all our projects. For the Dorman House, it was a challenge to maximise glass and ocean views while simultaneously achieving thermal efficiency. We worked hard to create a design that would maintain the stunning views without compromising performance. 

Most of the glass windows face North and are double glazed with thermally separated frames. We have included a hood above the northern windows to shield the sun in the summer but allows for optimal passive solar gain in the winter. 

In addition to actively managing the shade and passive ventilation, the demands on mechanical heating and cooling have been drastically reduced. The old timber decking was recycled and used internally for the remodel.

What are you favourite details about the design?

We love the silver-top, ash-lined kitchen and dining space, the Oblica hanging fireplace and the blurred distinctions between indoors and outdoors in the downstairs area!

What else is coming up for you this year? Any projects we should keep an eye out for?

We have recently completed the Charles House, My House (the mental health house) and May Street project. Currently, we’re working on a space located in North Fitzroy that also features an abundance of Brightgreen fittings.

Do you have any advice for anyone who is working on a remodel or extension?

Employ an architect!

Check out the amazing Dorman House design here.

You can follow Austin Maynard Architects on Twitter here to keep an eye out for more of their work.