Architect Eoghan Lewis Architects
Designer -
Construction -
Photography Matt Horspool and Etchd

Discovering Somnium’s Sustainable Retreat

The story of Somnium begins with a chance encounter between two high school friends at Moruya in the early ’80s. After two decades of separate journeys, fate reunited the partners in Sydney in their late thirties, reigniting a shared vision of creating a haven amidst the natural beauty of the Moruya region.

“After 10 years of searching, and again by chance in 2015, we came across a 44-acre property at Bingie that wasn’t for sale at the time,” recounts co-owner Natalie Green.

Captivated by the exposed headland, five hours south of Sydney, they negotiated with the previous owners and christened their retreat ‘Somnium.’

Captured at Somnium on 01Dec, 2021 by Matt Horspool @Etchd Photography.

Somnium blurs the lines between the natural and the man-made, inviting guests to connect with the timeless beauty of the land.

“We loved it as a reference to the incredible Bingie Dreaming track close to us (a special part of the Eurobdalla National Park), a reclaimed Indigenous pathway used for thousands of years by the local Yurin people to meet and gather food.”

Upon acquiring the property, Natalie and Chris were greeted by two existing buildings—a light brick house and a garage—each with its own story. Collaborating closely with architect Eoghan Lewis, they transformed these structures into a cohesive sanctuary that harmonised with the environment.

According to Lewis, Somnium drew inspiration from architectural marvels like the houses of Utzon in Mallorca and Leplastrier in Sydney. Their vision emphasised natural materials such as Australian hardwood, off-form concrete, charred timbers, zinc, and brass, echoing the rugged elegance of the Australian wilderness.

Their shared vision was encapsulated in a brief that emphasised the use of natural materials such as Australian hardwood, off-form concrete, charred timbers, zinc, and brass, echoing the rugged elegance of the Australian wilderness.

“My partner Chris made all of the brass handles in the main house and barn,” she says. “Every door, drawer, bathroom accessories, and even light fittings were designed and made by him.”

Integral to the interior design was the collaboration with close friend and interior designer Silvia Rajek, whose expertise brought depth and cohesion to every corner of the main house. 

“From soft furnishings to artwork, Silvia’s touch transformed spaces into inviting sanctuaries where guests could immerse themselves in comfort and serenity.”

The journey of Somnium continued with the addition of the Barn. “We renovated what was the original garage first.. as we needed a place to stay, and it was a great opportunity to test all our ideas and materials,” explains Green.

At the heart of Somnium lies a commitment to sustainability, manifesting in every facet of its design and operation, emphasises Green. The innovative use of materials, such as the black concrete floor with high thermal mass, exemplifies Somnium’s dedication to energy efficiency. 

“This floor not only absorbs and retains heat from the winter sun but also dissipates it gradually, ensuring optimal comfort throughout the day and night.”

PROJECT Somnium at Bingie
CATEGORIES Accommodation

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