Kurreki: Glamping Looks Good in this Back to Basics Beach Retreat

Kurreki Beach Retreat by Bourne Blue Architecture

Beach Retreat Glamping

Glamping (or glamorous camping) is a way to get back to basics without sleeping in a poorly erected tent on a dodgy blow-up mattress that deflates during the night leaving you uncomfortably perched on a not-so-strategically placed stick.

That's not the official definition, but I'm pretty sure it's the point of glamping.

Kurreki Beach Retreat -- named after the word for 'Bush Myrtle' in the Worimi language -- is a simple house that lets the owners get away from it all without compromising their comfort. The house has real beds, a shower, lounge area and even a kitchen -- all arranged around a central courtyard. But instead of walls, glazing and fly screens, the house opens completely to the courtyard and uses mosquito nets and shower curtains where necessary. It's glamping -- done brilliantly.

Kurreki Beach Retreat

Seal Rocks Beach Shack

Traditionally the houses in the small town of Seal Rocks were little more than basic fishing huts. Now, most of these huts are used for holiday homes, but as the value of the area increases, many of these old huts are replaced by newer, modern holiday homes. Bourne Blue Architecture tried to capture the spirit of these traditional fishing huts in the design of Kurreki Beach Retreat. The shack uses simple materials like fibre cement sheeting and corrugated iron to reflect the humble history of the area.

Kurreki Beach Retreat

Humble Materials

Fibre cement cladding reflects building materials traditionally used in the area. Timber battens, left to weather cover the gab where boards join -- a simple and humble way to add texture to the facade.

"Materials throughout relate to the context of the village, are economical and corrosion resistant. There are no ‘city’ materials like glass splashbacks, ceramic tiles or polished stone. The walls are lined with 9mm CFC cladding and aluminium channels, much like the existing buildings of fibro and cover batten. Locally milled blackbutt decking and custom orb roofing are other dominant materials both of which are used in existing buildings. Construction methods and detailing are intentionally basic, for reasons of economy and working in with the local tradesmen. Steel is avoided and items such as the plastic external light fittings, were chosen both for economy and long life. Floors are polished particleboard, all joinery uses formply as a finished face. The exterior is simple, grey and silver, while the interior is colourful, inspired by rockpools and neighbouring bush." -- Bourne Blue Architecture

Kurreki Beach Retreat

Look Closely

If you look closely you can see the number you need to call to have your own holiday in this house! The beach retreat was designed for the owners to use, but an important consideration was the ability to rent it out to other holiday-makers when not in use to reduce the costs further. The house therefore needed to be tough and reliable to withstand the scuffs of the short-term rental market.

Kurreki Beach Retreat

Courtyard House

The house is arranged around a central courtyard, with all rooms opening onto the central decked space. Overhanging eaves create sheltered space for circulation between rooms.

A large platform creates space for outdoor entertainment, while in-between the natural fall of the land and vegetation is preserved.

Thanks to this courtyard plan you can lay in bed and see the night sky -- pretty idyllic.

Kurreki Beach Retreat


A number of sustainability features ensure the home has a minimal impact on the environment it was designed to enjoy:

  • 1.5kW grid feed solar system feeds excess power into the grid (resulting in net zero imported electricity annually)
  • Wet composting worm farm to treat sewage
  • 27000 L of water storage for domestic use and an additional 15000L for firefighting
Kurreki Beach Retreat

Lying Around

If a holiday house does anything, it should create a place for rest and relaxation. Kurreki Beach Retreat certainly gets that right. Built-in space for hammocks creates a calm restful spot to relax and watch the world go by. Don't mind if I do!

Kurreki Beach Retreat
Kurreki Beach Retreat
Kurreki Beach Retreat
Kurreki Beach Retreat

Bushfire Proof Roller Doors

No, that's not a garage, it's bushfire protection for the house!

An important consideration in the design was making the house bushfire proof. Instead of relying on expensive glazing to bushfire proof the house, Bourne Blue Architecture reduced external glazing as much as possible by replacing it with galvanized roller doors -- the type you normally see on garages.

Rooms like the kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms are completely open to outdoors when these roller doors are open (which is all the time when the family are there!). To keep mosquitos and bugs at bay, the bedrooms have mosquito nets and the living area is protected by sliding glass doors. The openness to the outdoors also increases the sense of a lush campsite.

An additional water tank collects water for use in the event of a bushfire. For extra protection a pump supplies the fire fighting sprinklers at roof and garden level with the domestic supply. Some of this lands on the roof, then recirculates, extending the protection time.

Kurreki Beach Retreat
Kurreki Beach Retreat
Kurreki Beach Retreat

Glamping Bathroom

Timber decking continues into the bathroom which has all the essentials. A large shower curtain provides privacy for the shower and a fibre cement partition shields the toilet, but otherwise the bathroom is completely open to the courtyard.

Kurreki Beach Retreat

Another Benefit of the Courtyard Design...

The courtyard frames the sky, creating a beautiful (sheltered) place to stargaze -- just like actual camping. You don't get these kind of skies in the city!

Gum trees are intermittently illuminated by the nearby lighthouse -- the courtyard is the perfect place to enjoy the free light show.

Kurreki Beach Retreat

Simple Beach Retreat

The design of Kerreki Beach Retreat is understated and simple, but incorporates groundbreaking ideas. If you like getting away from it all without sacrificing your comfort, perhaps this house for 'glamping' the answer.

So many holiday houses are over-designed and disconnected from the environment, but this home shows the benefits of using holiday time to simplify living and get back in touch with nature. That approach is very refreshing.

What do you think? Fancy glamping in this back-to-basics beach retreat?

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