Washed up from the beach a robust and heavy mass sits on top of the rise, offering up an entry path through sand dunes, layered beach grass and aged timber planks. Below a heavily textured concrete rock shelf a recessive deep void invites one into a dark entry and the beginning of a sequence of silver lined spaces.

Silver Linings, by Rachcoff Vella Architecture, rests on Melbourne’s bayside beach front unashamedly asserting its presence along the promenade of fishbowls overlooking the bay. A project of exploration and experimentation, of restraint and control, a project of patience and architectural endeavor.

The brief was very particular and one that required extreme discipline and restraint, a restricted but robust and raw material palette, to be limited in complexity but defiant in individual character and charm. Challenges come in all forms and RVA took the 5 year journey head on exploring, detailing, drawing, sketching, modelling, reviewing and researching to achieve an architectural outcome that would consist of 4 to 5 materials, a range of bespoke fittings and fixtures all handmade and meticulously sourced.

The design intent was to ensure that nothing was left to chance. If it could be resolved through design and detailing, then that’s what was done. All attempts were made to make the most complex item appear invisible. What quickly became apparent was that the raw and unfinished, unpainted- untiled-skim coated surfaces meant continuous detailing and supervision until the the very end, a passionate and collaborative effort by all.

This is a family home needing to accommodate the love and punishment, trials and tribulations of family life. Materially this was taken care by the pure nature and robustness of the chosen palette. Spatially a program was devised that allowed collective family time as well as parent or individual zones for alone time. Coming together as a family is either nestled in the basement cave hidden away from the world or up in the light and airy living zones where sea breezes and an abundance of natural light are the backdrop to conversations.

The controlled material palette of grey and silver lining boards, off form concrete, brass fittings and white oak joinery reveal a surprisingly versatile outcome despite the various conditions within the building. In darker more intimate spaces, they offer warmth and protection, in light filled and open view spaces they offer the suns warmth and glow. This outcome justified the material selections and the strength in maintaining a minimalist design ethos.

The bar set high by the client become RVA’s manifesto, a design regime if you like that would drive the project from start to finish, only being fully comprehended when the final nail, screw, wipe down was complete. A meticulously crafted architecture of honesty, raw, robust natural materials with curated insertions of had crafted interiors and objects that celebrate a refined and true minimalism.

Photography : Tatjana Plitt


Anastasia is the lead author of House-diaries.com. She has studied English Literature and Psychology in the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens as well as Interior Design & Architecture in AKTO College. She works in the field of Higher Education and has a special passion for cozy interiors.

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