Cove House

Designed by Justin Humphrey Architect, Cove House is an elegantly resolved waterfront home that is a tactile exploration into the thresholds between public and private space.


Architecture: Justin Humphrey Architect
Photography: Andy Macpherson


Justin Humphrey Architect

Justin Humphrey Architect is an architecture and interior design practice with an extensive portfolio of large private houses through to small renovations. Their process is driven by considered design ideas, rigor and the tangible value of great architecture. Justin Humphrey Architect create site-responsive, functional and considered spaces that are designed to enrich the lives of their clients.


The Story Behind The Design

An easement planning restriction is often perceived as a constraint, dictating the site layout and architectural form. The design of Cove House attempted to prove the opposite; to challenge the benign response to the water-access easement typical of the waterfront community estate by embracing the home’s boundaries and external context.

Justin Humphrey Architect viewed the easement spanning the property’s eastern perimeter as an opportunity to make a visual statement and foster a connection with the broader community.

“We chose to express and celebrate this edge through a grand tactile gesture that beckons engagement and communicates the materiality of the house to passing neighbors”, explains architect Justin Humphrey of the building’s form and it’s defining board-formed concrete spine.

Cove House celebrates the northern water aspect and remains true to the brief for a materially-rich space inspired by sub-tropical architecture. The entry to the home is gentle, however, the attention to detail and the layering of tactile natural materials evokes a promising experience beyond the front façade.

The client’s brief called for a materially-rich and tactile house that celebrated their love of subtropical architecture.

Justin Humphrey


Take A Closer Look

“A fine battened timber screen suggests enclosure, while the open sky, water view and immediate immersion in tropical landscaping provoke engagement and connection”, says Justin of the home’s entrance.

Greeted with a mature internal garden room as you cross the building’s threshold, it is here where the architects have begun to delicately challenge the conventional relationship between private and public spaces. And the rich, natural palette that is one of the property’s defining aspects, sets the tone for what is to come.

The subtle concave profile of the timber battens, the gentle sweep of a concrete wall or the curved joinery found in the master ensuite all soften and add elegance to the project.

Justin Humphrey

Fittings & Fixtures

Easy Chair

'Roxanne' By Satara


Sinos Pull-Out Mixer From Franke

Wall Surface Light

'Ray 2.0' By Wever & Ducré

Original Artwork

Frank Hodgkinson


'Potato Kitchen Stool' By Satara


Weplight 'Paulina'

The home’s tactile nature comprising of board-form concrete, natural stone and timber with black highlights embodies a sense of masculinity. This is offset by a restrained dialogue of curves which Justin explains provides visual relief and encourages movement through the internal spaces.

“The subtle concave profile of the timber battens, the gentle sweep of a concrete wall or the curved joinery found in the master ensuite all soften and add elegance to the project.” The resolved balance between the raw and masculine, and the familiar and approachable is a common thread in the design and is what makes the spaces all the more inviting.

Signature Element

The board-formed concrete, which spans the length of the easement, was a response to the brief and the constraints of the site. “It’s a big tactile gesture that forms a boundary wall while also guiding visitors through the house”, says Justin.
To reduce the visual scale of the building and nestle it into its domestic context, the roofline has a finely-detailed taper that intentionally floats above and extends over the concrete wall.

Through artfully placed incisions in the structure, natural light floods deep into the internal spaces that open to reveal a framed view of the waterfront. The interior living room seamlessly unfolds onto an outdoor area that is ripe for entertaining and obscures the lines between indoor and out.

To create cohesion between the public and private areas, robust concrete and warming timbers are used, while the natural stone flooring visually defines the communal and exposed outdoor spaces. It is in this exposed living space where the spatial interplay and connection with the site is firmly established.

Cove House was designed to challenge the norm and respond to a brief where the boundaries between the inside and out, the private and public would be tested. It’s also a home that’s designed to be adaptable; accommodating the intimate patterns of daily life combined with the ability to host large social gatherings with ease.

Justin Humphery Architect have created a home that achieves complete harmony between the architecture and the external setting. A building that is not only enjoyed by the clients but also the neighbors passing by.