A professional resource for the design curious

You’ve Got Mail

This Blairgowrie project takes the letterbox to a whole new level.


January 20th, 2009

Designed by architects, McBride Charles Ryan, this Blairgowrie residential project sits among the traditional beach houses of the Mornington Peninsula.

“It makes people smile, a building with the smallest façade on the peninsula – the building begins as the letterbox and unfurls to become this healthy scaled verandah, to some it is an upturned boat, to others its a wave, a cliff,” say Project Architects Rob McBride and Debbie-Lyn Ryan.

Using the house number, ‘7’, the letterbox-sized façade evolves into a two storey structure at the rear.

The building is clad on one side with stained timber decking, from the deck to the slanted walls, that creates an almost continuous, wave-like form.

Inside the four-bedroom home you move from the natural-coloured, yet geometric, exterior into a brightly modern space splashed with vibrant red, sharp white and commanding blacks.

In their design statement, as they have with the building, the architects evoke a sense of a relaxed detachment from the city life:

“The peninsula is the place where you suspend formality and convention for a while – we wanted the building to do this and to remind you of that – it moves too far from architectural convention towards the other disciplines – that was the intention.”

“It becomes ambiguous – What is it? Where is the front door? You don’t need a ‘front door’ in a holiday house – you just find your way in.”

Featured in the current issue of Architecture Review Australia, the letterbox house will undoubtedly attract some much-deserved attention as the year rolls on.


Photography by John Gollings

Principal Architects Robert McBride, Debbie-Lyn Ryan
Project team Adam Pustola, Meredith Dufour, Michael McManus, Angela Woda
Time to complete 12 months
Total Floor Area 290sqm



Letterbox 2 side



letterbox house 3



letterbox house 3



letterbox house 5



letterbox house 6



letterbox house 7



INDESIGN is on instagram

Follow @indesignlive

The Indesign Collection

A searchable and comprehensive guide for specifying leading products and their suppliers

While you were sleeping

The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed