A QUICK escape from the city on a Friday night used to be relatively simple, Grahame Dingle says.
"Half an hour or so in a car and the suburbs would evanesce in the glow of your tail lights. The road would open out and soon, almost magically, you would arrive in another, simpler world, lighter and more relaxed.
- Property: lifestyle
- Size: 16ha
- Price: $750,000-plus
- Agent: Bruce Falk Property Melbourne and Elders Melbourne
- Auction: noon, March 25, 2012
- Contact: Bruce Falk 0400 939 081 or Nick Myer 0427 610 278
"Enjoying this transformative experience today is becoming ever more problematic. Many of the nearby coastal villages that used to conjure this magic have been engulfed - victims of their success - by their own crowded suburbia."
That's why Grahame and partner Deborah Wright selected a block of 16ha at Tooborac, 100km north of Melbourne, via either Lancefield or Kilmore, to build a weekender reflective of their experience in design.
The duo - one a graphic designer and photographer and the other an art director and interior designer - built a home so in step with its setting it's hard to imagine anything else there.
This sense is heightened by the property's privacy; in the evening, just the odd light from distant neighbours is visible on the horizon.
Designed to take advantage of the elevated site and for the specific needs of its occupants, Aeolus (named after the ruler of the winds in Greek mythology) blurs the boundary between inside and out. Windows stretching the height of the 5.5m vaulted ceilings in the living area facilitate an almost seamless transition of views and light and give way to a mezzanine gallery.
On the ground floor, the ergonomic, triangular-shaped kitchen incorporates walk-in pantry, granite bench tops and stainless-steel appliances.
In a more private wing, with lower 3m ceilings, there are three double bedrooms (main with ensuite) and a library. All take in views over the garden and pool. Reverse-cycle airconditioning and a combustion heater in the main living space, plus an open fire in the library, back up the home's passive solar design.
Built in 2000, the light-filled, 38-square (353sq m) home has functioned both as a laboratory for the pair's creative ideas and a meeting place for friends and family, Grahame said.
"We have a hoot when we have friends over, the whole pool and veranda enclave gets used an awful lot - we spend as much time as we can outside."
The pervading style of the garden is one of Italian Renaissance with strong edges. Beyond the garden lies a stable complex, workshop and studio.
Grahame and Deborah are moving on to fulfil a new design project and leave behind them a thoroughly well-developed property.
"Our recreation over the past 25 years has been swinging hammer or working in the garden, I can't see that changing in the next 25 years," Grahame said.