HOUSE DESIGN | Moss River House is the sympathetic re-creation of a bygone era

NEW LIFE: The Moss River House in Yass, NSW, brings an honest approach to materials and structure to connect the building design, new and original, with its rural surrounds. Picture: Ben Wrigley.
NEW LIFE: The Moss River House in Yass, NSW, brings an honest approach to materials and structure to connect the building design, new and original, with its rural surrounds. Picture: Ben Wrigley.

In an artistic expression of breathing new life into stone that had all but taken its last, the Moss River House is a sympathetic re-creation of yesteryear by Canberra-based Cox Architecture.

Project architect and since-retired director of Cox Architecture Rodney Moss said the ruins of two elegant outbuildings, made from hand-cut granite, and a driveway lined with old cedar trees formed the inspiration for a grand build that incorporated treasures from the past.

"These remaining relics of the original house became the starting point for the design of the new building," Moss said.

Located on the site of an original farmhouse built in the 1800s, the Moss River House presents a collection of stone, glass and timber buildings running across the landscape towards the Yass River.

"The outbuildings were lovingly restored and became the portal buildings at the end of the driveway through which one passes to enter the new building," Moss said.

Two new living pavilions are stitched to the remnant stone cottages by a simple glazed structure made of natural materials.

Walls made from local field stone enclose and define interior spaces, while the roof presents as a series of horizontal planes supported by exposed steel columns.

An honest approach to materials and structure connects the building with its rural surrounds, while refinement is found in the details and sense of transparency.

Built on a gentle slope overlooking the Yass River, the new building is steel framed and cantilevers out towards the river. The palette includes field stone, slate, precast concrete, recycled timber and glazed walls.

Original owners Fiona Green and her partner Steve, were intimately involved in all aspects of the design, bringing to the project a personal touch and sensitivity to create a very special place, Moss said.

It was a long-held dream of Fiona's to one day restore the "old blue stone homestead ruins" on the working farm into a practical home that provided for the extreme summer and winter temperatures.

Completed in 2017 by builder Mark Loader and a team of talented craftspeople, Moss River House sits perfectly to capture views of the surrounding farmland, grazing livestock and the flowing Yass River.

Home. Picture: Ben Wrigley.

Home. Picture: Ben Wrigley.

"The remoteness of the site and flooding of the river during construction made the final result a great achievement by all involved," Moss said.

Ever continuing on its own enduring journey, the property was recently sold, perhaps more importantly, to someone who appreciated the evolution of this project in its entirety - the new director at Cox Architecture, Chris Millman.

With its breathtaking surrounds and beautiful design, the home creates many a "pinch-yourself" moment of appreciation, says new owner Chris - who together with his partner Emma, will no doubt add another layer to the living story of an incredible home.