Southern Highlands Country Home

We designed this quintessentially Southern Highlands country home with a flexible floorplan, passive solar design, and a palette of natural materials. The architecture is inspired by Georgian and early Victorian styles, while keeping an Australian look. Unlike the popular ‘Hamptons’ style, which features blocky construction and small windows, our goal was to maximize natural light. Equally important to our clients was a strong connection from inside to the outdoors. The design incorporates doors that open up to decks, terraces, and the surrounding bushland. Additionally, we aimed for a contemporary finish. We incorporated large stone blade walls for both visual impact and thermal mass.

Solar Passive Orientation

It was crucial to have this homestead function both as one residence, but also to break down into two ‘cottages’. This allows family to stay for extended visits or a live-in carer. This requirement meant that the layout had to be carefully considered. We utilised an entry space as the ‘heart’ of the house, connecting to both wings as well as the front and back of the house. Both main living areas have large windows to the north, allowing for plenty of sunlight during winter. This orientation also protects these spaces from the sun during summer. The double garage is oriented west, protecting the home from hot afternoon sun and westerly winds.
We dispersed the overall ‘bulk’ of the house between two pavilions. The articulation of the façade avoids long, featureless stretches of walls. Almost every room has a window on two sides. From the driveway, a formal tone is maintained with stone blade walls and smaller windows. However, the north facades are much more ‘relaxed’ with comfortable outdoor terraces and decks. This side also has larger open plan rooms to take advandage of the natural light.

Rural Materiality

We chose natural materials for this design. We love the contrast of heavy stone with lightweight weatherboards and expansive glazing. The simple colorbond gable-ended rooves compliment the rural palette of the Southern Highlands.

Building Features:

  • Hawkesbury Sandstone blade walls
  • Spotted Gum hardwood flooring throughout
  • Hydronic floor heating throughout
  • Solar-passive with double glazed aluminium windows
  • Timber weatherboard cladding
  • Colorbond roofing
Australian Homestead Living Room by Architecture Republic

Open Plan Living

This open-plan indoor-outdoor living space features pitched ceilings, expansive northern glazing and classic features. The lining boards and barn doors blend the contemporary and traditional.


The entrance room ties together the two pavilions, one for living and one for family and guests. Here, the stone walls bridge exterior and interior. The articulated perimeter walls allow many of the rooms to have natural light and ventilation on two sides.

Floor Plan by Architecture Republic, Australia
Australian Homestead Rammed Earth Colorbond by Architecture Republic

Solar Passive

The northern facade provides generous glazing. The deck looks out over the view, connecting strongly to the landscape. The bedroom also benefits from this view and projects out into it with a bay window.

Formal Entrance

Smaller windows and a heavier facade provide privacy and a sense of arrival to the front of the property. This facade is a shield against the hot western sun, with the garage acting as an additional buffer.

Australian Homestead Garden by Architecture Republic