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Leader Reef, Bright, Victoria, Australia by Britt White Studio

Project name:
Leader Reef
Architecture firm:
Britt White Studio
Bright, Victoria, Australia
Devlin Azzie of Threefold Studio
Principal architect:
Design team:
Britt Howard - Creative Principal at Britt White Studio
Custom cabinetry: Ovens Valley Cabinets. Modular 8mber solu8ons: Screen Wood
Interior design:
Britt White Studio
Built area:
2000 m²
Site area:
Design year:
2022 redesign of a 2010 residence
Completion year:
Civil engineer:
Structural engineer:
Environmental & MEP:
Britt White Studio
Britt White Studio
Tools used:
Beatson Builders
Stone, Metal, Wood, Glass
Residential › House


Greige and dated. This single level house in Bright, Victoria, was a product of its time. Built in 2010 for a retired couple with a love of country style, Leader Reef failed to capitalise on its location and surroundings. Purchased by a couple in their 30s, able to see the potential of strong foundational elements, Britt White Studio was engaged to drive a complete renovation of the property, modernising the aesthetic of the home to their own style and taste. Drawing inspiration from the mountainous surroundings, the result is an open plan home in a Scandinavian alpine style - a moody second home that is perfect for winter snow getaways and entertaining.

The clients, an entrepreneurial couple from Melbourne with the pressures of running a national business, purchased this property as their winter house - a place for them to explore the mountains and their beloved ski resorts that surround Bright. Travellers at heart, they had fallen in love with the character and charm of Canadian and Japanese mountain culture and were inspired to bring a touch of that closer to home. 

The existing house, set on a sunny north facing hillside block, consisted of a series of rooms facing in on themselves rather than towards the spectacular mountains beyond. The first priority was to reconfigure the architecture of the main living spaces to facilitate open-plan living and entertaining whilst opening up these areas with expansive new floor to ceiling glazing, to reveal an amazing panoramic view of the surrounding mountain tops. 

The style might be best described as ‘Scandinavian Alpine’, with a neutral colour palette of black, white and grey, which was softened with warm oak timbers and textured soft furnishing. Accents of black timber round out the palette for a moody vibe - a safe place to enjoy, looking out onto the winter cold beyond - and a significant departure from the ‘greige’ of before. The use of modular square edge batton profile timber across walls, draws, cabinet fronts and doors - albeit softened with some curved surfaces - resonated strongly with the clients’ love of straight geometry, producing a contemporary and cosy atmosphere. 

The design provides a place of rest and sanctuary away from their hectic city lives. But that is not to say that it is all play, with the creation of a new secret office in addition to redesigning the kitchen, two bathrooms, plus dining and living spaces, before the curation of furniture, finishings and objects for the house in its entirety. 

Stoked is a term more closely associated with snowboarding than design, but it succinctly summed up the clients’ reaction to seeing the project upon completion. “It’s more a transformation than a renovation. From the seed of an idea to the breathtaking reality, Britt’s design prowess turned my house into a haven. Time here feels like a hug. It’s a place where we can escape the ordinary of the everyday, a place where we can find solace and sanctuary. It showcases what we envisioned. We couldn’t be happier.” 

For Britt, the project is a direct result of having the perfect clients. “I’d describe them as design driven, but due to their busy lifestyle, are time poor. They’re passionate about the local environment, community and using local suppliers. They don’t live here permanently, but that didn’t lessen their expectations when it came to an innovative design solution for their property. I am grateful for their ongoing trust and look forward to our next project together.” 

By Alfredo Gonzalez

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