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Australian Home of the Year: Justin Humphrey’s Sanctuary Cove

Behind the door of this concrete house lies Australia’s ‘Home of the Year’ – complete with a sunken outdoor living room, stunning water views and a dreamy Balinese bathroom fit for a luxury villa

  • Through the door of a flat-roofed house in a gated community in Queensland is Australia’s ‘Home of the Year’
  • The three-bed overlooking a river on the Gold Coast took the top gong at the 2020 Housing Awards in May
  • Living spaces are separated by garden courtyards which blur the lines between indoors and out
  • Standout features include a Balinese bathroom with a freestanding tub and a sunken outdoor lounge area
  • There’s also a swimming pool, luxury kitchen and a spacious study, perfect for days spent working from home 

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Through the front door of a flat-roofed concrete house in a gated community on the Gold Coast is Australia’s ‘Home of the Year’.

The riverfront three-bedroom took the top gong at the 2020 Housing Awards in May, with judges praising its understated elegance inspired by tropical climates.

Owner Tracey Morland commissioned her award-winning architect cousin Justin Humphrey to design the oasis which has open-air garden courtyards separating the living spaces, seamlessly blurring the lines between indoors and out.

The single-storey house, built in 2018 by BJ Millar Constructions from natural materials like concrete, stone and timber, has three ensuite bedrooms, a luxury kitchen and a sprawling outdoor entertainment area complete with a swimming pool, sunken lounge and built-in fireplace – all overlooking the Coomera River.

Through the front door of this flat-roofed concrete house in a gated community on the Gold Coast is Australia’s ‘Home of the Year’

High ceilings and glass doors make the north-facing house feel even larger than its 966 square metre floor size, with natural light illuminating every inch as it floods through windows fitted with sleek black frames.

One of the most striking features is the ‘floating’ roof elevated on a raised platform, allowing air to flow throughout in a further nod to the ‘inside out’ theme.

The kitchen dominates the house with its exposed stone walls, charcoal benchtops and a hidden wine cellar, which leads into an open-plan living and dining room and a generously sized butler’s pantry.

A garage with parking space for three cars sits on one side of the house, which is fitted with adjustable screens that draw gentle breezes inside to keep the heat bearable even at the peak of Queensland’s long summer season when temperatures exceed 30 degrees Celsius.

The Balinese master bathroom looks fit for a five-star hotel, with a freestanding tub and sleek black and timber fixtures

The Balinese master bathroom looks fit for a five-star hotel, with a freestanding tub and sleek black and timber fixtures

High ceilings and glass doors make the north-facing house feel even larger than its 966 square metre floor size

High ceilings and glass doors make the north-facing house feel even larger than its 966 square metre floor size

Anyone lucky enough to live there can exist almost entirely 'off-grid' thanks to a 15 kilowatt solar system, Tesla storage batteries and an underground rainwater tank submerged beneath the driveway

Anyone lucky enough to live there can exist almost entirely ‘off-grid’ thanks to a 15 kilowatt solar system, Tesla storage batteries and an underground rainwater tank submerged beneath the driveway

A sunken stone lounge is the centrepiece of the outdoor entertainment terrace

A sunken stone lounge is the centrepiece of the outdoor entertainment terrace

The kitchen dominates the house with its exposed stone walls, charcoal benchtops and a hidden wine cellar

The kitchen dominates the house with its exposed stone walls, charcoal benchtops and a hidden wine cellar

The outdoor entertainment deck has a swimming pool and built-in fireplace, both overlooking the Coomera River

The outdoor entertainment deck has a swimming pool and built-in fireplace, both overlooking the Coomera River

Ms Morland said living there feels like being on a permanent holiday.

‘It’s not a traditional home where you go straight into a door and into a hallway,’ she told realestate.com.au.

‘It is open to the elements before you get to the front door, so you actually go outside to enter.’

Anyone lucky enough to live there can exist almost entirely ‘off-grid’ thanks to a 15 kilowatt solar system, Tesla storage batteries and an underground rainwater tank submerged beneath the driveway.

The riverfront three-bedroom took the top gong at the 2020 Housing Awards in May - and one look inside will show you why

The riverfront three-bedroom took the top gong at the 2020 Housing Awards in May – and one look inside will show you why

The house has a master and two guest bedrooms - all ensuite

Natural light illuminates every corner of the north-facing house, flooding through windows framed in black

The house has a master and two guest bedrooms – all ensuite – with natural light illuminating every corner, flooding through windows framed in black

Owner Tracey Morland commissioned her architect cousin Justin Humphrey to design the oasis, which has garden courtyards separating the living spaces

Owner Tracey Morland commissioned her architect cousin Justin Humphrey to design the oasis, which has garden courtyards separating the living spaces

The property listing describes the house as a 'stunning architectural masterpiece'

The property listing describes the house as a ‘stunning architectural masterpiece’

There's also a spacious study, perfect for those still working from home

There’s also a spacious study, perfect for those still working from home

One of the most striking features is the 'floating' roof elevated on a raised platform, allowing air to flow throughout in a further nod to the 'inside out' theme

One of the most striking features is the ‘floating’ roof elevated on a raised platform, allowing air to flow throughout in a further nod to the ‘inside out’ theme

Ms Morland listed the property for sale after investing in another riverfront site in Sanctuary Cove, where she and her architect cousin Mr Humphrey will build another house.

The house is being sold privately for an undisclosed sum by local real estate agency Ray White Prestige Gold Coast Surfers Paradise.

The property listing describes the house as a ‘stunning architectural masterpiece’.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk