Brighton Bunker

Brighton Bunker

Private Houses
Brighton, Australia
Dean Bradley

Brighton Bunker

Dan Gayfer Design as Designers

The rear area of this residence did not meet the requirements of a highly active family. With foresight in mind, the area was reconfigured to provide amenities for four children, parents and friends. The project includes a refurbished outdoor living area, lap pool & spa, timber pool lounge, poolside ‘bunker’, powder room and recreational areas.

Questions and Answers

Q. What was the client's brief for the project?

The brief was to essentially provide a larger living area for dining and entertaining whilst ensuring enough space was retained for a spa, 12m lap pool, covered retreat (bunker), powder room, storage and lawn terraces.

Amenities were to be incorporated for both adults and children so everyone could stay in the same location for hours without having to go somewhere else for a spa, a swim, something to eat etc. Even the powder room means you don’t have to go inside the house to shower or use the toilet. Parents wanted to be able supervise the kids and their friends at all times, even during large social events.

Despite being exterior focused, the project brief and scope meant that it was in fact a significant house renovation, thus approached accordingly.

Q. What was the building / land like before the project started?

The existing outdoor area at the rear of the residence was not providing the necessary amenities for not only four young children but also their parents who frequently entertained family and friends. The outdoor living area was too small, the lawn terrace was sloped, there was dead space etc.

Ultimately there was no reason for people to occupy these spaces even in favourable weather - there was nothing to do, unsuitable levels for recreation etc. The generous space, above average for this suburb, was wasted.

Q. What was your solution to the brief and the challenges involved?

An existing outdoor living space was extended to include a honed masonry fireplace, AV hub and movable lounge. By being able to move the lounge via a set of castor wheels, the space can be reconfigured depending on the number of people occupying the space.

A timber decked lounge separates the spa and lap pool, this easily accessed from both the outdoor living area and the concrete pool terrace. A bench is provided for drinks, towels, clothes, sunscreen etc. before jumping into the pool or spa. Essentially this lounge places the spa closer to the dining room of the house not only making supervision easier but allowing you to enjoy it as a water feature from inside.

The lap pool widens at one end to provide a deeper diving area, this area also incorporated a swimout for lounging in the pool. The plywood clad bunker strongly integrates with this social area of the pool to encourage interaction between people lounging both in the pool and in the bunker.

The bunker is orientated back towards the house; custom lounges, feature planter and a recessed bar fridge all provide a pool side haven for children and adults. A powder room at the rear of the bunker and an adjacent recreation terrace further contribute to a flexible and functional project.

Q. What makes this project different?

The project is different in regards to an outdoor based project it is virtually a renovation of the existing dwelling. This strong integration with the dwelling is evident in both the proximity of the spa and pool to the dining room and the fact that the living room opens directly into the outdoor living area. Furthermore, elements such as the fireplace, fridges, cabinetry, custom lounges etc. would not look out of place in an interior therefore demonstrating this strong cross over of design disciplines within the project.

The pool bunker is strongly unique in that it is highly customised to the family's lifestyle. The covered area facilitates comfortable lounging in custom upholstered lounges; their orientation towards the pool and television only further increasing functionality. A bar fridge is recessed into the rear plywood wall of the bunker whilst cupboards are also provided for glassware. When not in use, these features are virtually invisible bringing a quirkiness to the design. Additionally, an open shelf is provided above the fridge for board games, books, magazines etc. These amenities as well as a feature planter and storage are all protected from adverse weather conditions allowing use of the bunker all year round.

Q. What were the challenging aspects of this project?

There were some existing concrete footings discovered during excavation but nothing that proved problematic as such. If anything the existing slope was a bit deceiving as once earthworks commenced to make level the new spaces an incredible amount of fill was removed. However, comfortable rear access to the property again meant this issue was not problematic as such.

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