In Tasmania’s breathtaking Tamar Valley, Australian architecture firm Cumulus has completed the Darkwood Residence, a small and sustainable home that is designed to make the most of its impressive surroundings. Created in close collaboration with clients Matt and Eloise, the minimalist and low-maintenance abode features a restrained design approach so as not to detract from views. A small footprint, solar panels and responsibly sourced materials help reduce the home’s environmental footprint.

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Designed to bring the feeling of outdoors in, the Darkwood Residence is carefully oriented to provide bedrooms, dining and living rooms with northeasterly and southeasterly river views. Rather than cantilever the structure off of the steep site, the architects stepped the structure down the slope, a design decision that the firm said helps the building stay connected to nature.

Related: A heritage industrial site becomes a dreamy wilderness retreat in Australia

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kid running through gray living room

Low-maintenance and cost-effective materials are used inside and out of Darkwood Residence, which was built by the client, Matt. A hardwearing tin metal skin wraps most of the building and is complemented by timber used for select areas, including the covered outdoor veranda. Full-height sliding glass doors connect the veranda to the light-filled interior, which features a stripped-back palette — from the raw plate steel kitchen bench to a monolithic concrete fireplace — that makes the home feel larger than its size lets on. A folded, sculptural roof also helps funnel additional light into the living area.

kitchen with black cabinets next to long, dark wood dining table
long, dark wood dining table near glass wall revealing river views

“Step straight off the veranda and stroll amongst towering trees,” the architects said. “Or take a window seat, and feel suspended in the Tamar Valley views. Darkwood is simple for the most part, but clever when it matters. It’s not detached from its surroundings, but part of it. The house steps down the steep hill to closely match the ground line, allowing it to stay connected to nature. And what remarkable nature it is, with views over the river, through the trees, and to the beaches and bays beyond.”

+ Cumulus

Photography by Anjie Blair via Cumulus

gray home with sloped roof covered in solar panels