Meet Sarah & Az, (Sez & Az) husband & wife team behind Common Kosci, a custom-built contemporary cabin, nestled in the rugged Alpine Outback of the Snowy Mountains, Australia.
The couple, along with their three children; Bonnie, Skip & Elba, (and Mo the Kelpie!) worked alongside Sydney based architect Alan Powell to execute their vision — a family home that gives the experience of a camping holiday only without the sacrifices of luxury modern amenities.
Husband and builder, Aaron, aimed to build a habitable space for the 'common us', to encourage a love of the outdoors and indulge in the concept of ‘land as living room’. Features include a mudroom, a large native timber dining kitchen table, custom built large sofa, a marine grade rope hammock that hangs from the patio and earthy warm interiors throughout.
Come read their story…
SHOP THE EDIT —
Cloud Linen Teardrop Pendant — Ivory | Kōyō Shelving Unit | THIS IS HOME: The Art of Simple Living by Natalie Walton | Oak Shelf Ledge | Round Elephant Basket — Mini | Round Elephant Basket — Large
Tell us about Common Kosci…
Common Kosci is a custom-built cabin located in the alpine outback of the Snowy Mountains / Nagarigo Country that is designed to immerse guests with nature.
There’s a heart-slowing magic to the feeling of calm that comes from time spent at the cabin – induced by the fresh mountain air and a direct connection to the ever-evolving landscape that is visible throughout the cabin.
Two burnt jarrah timber clad pods nestle in the snow gums on our family owned rural block. Occupying a space of 80 square metres, the cabin features luxury design with effortless comfort throughout.
My husband, the builder, aimed to build a habitable space for the 'common us', to encourage a love of the outdoors and indulge in the concept of ‘land as living room’. With the brief to friend and architect Alan Powell for a portable cabin (should we need to move it on our block), large enough to accommodate friends and family frequently but cosy to feel secure against the elements, the cabin is specifically designed with a family in mind.
Features include a mudroom on entry to offload adventure wares, a large native timber dining kitchen table for slow family meals, a large custom built large sofa, a marine grade rope hammock that hangs from the patio to enjoy watching the wildlife and the seasons go by and earthy warm interiors throughout to feel as though one is camping in the bush only without sacrificing modern comforts.
We hope guests leave feeling more grounded and connected to nature and each other.
What inspired the design of your cabin?
Az had come across the Japanese charring timber technique known as Shou Sugi Ban. Seen in alpine climates, not only do the dark tones contrast superbly against a blanket of snow but the wood is preserved so no future maintenance is required. We used burnt jarrah timber and the result is truly spectacular. This aesthetic directed the overall design and craftsmanship of the cabin.
Az also loved the look of the pitch ceilings seen in many cabins in the Netherlands and Europe. Pitch ceilings give an internal raked ceiling which not only has aesthetic appeal but gives the sense of a larger space. We wanted to give the cabin the feeling of more space, as traditionally cabins are built with a smaller footprint to encourage its inhabitants to enjoy more time in nature than inside.
Internally we wanted to showcase the beauty and rawness of the rugged outside landscape within the comforts of inside. To get the "camp like feel" we used OSB timber lined walls, skylights throughout, floor to ceiling windows, native timber finishes, wool carpets and earthy palette.
What are some of the biggest lessons you learned while creating your cabin?
Remoteness is costly and timely! Being so far from major cities freight costs add up and extended delays are a consequence of the distances.
The extreme weather also brings its challenges! For the trades, battling all the elements including snow causes the productivity to be reduced and just getting hands warmed up in freezing temperatures to get on the tools has its challenges!
We had trucks battling the conditions when bringing materials on site via the unsealed roads. There were many additional labour hours spent towing vehicles out of mud, snow and sleet due to bogging - great entertainment for the kids!
Building in the Snowies is also ensuring building to withstand all of Australia's extreme climates including snow and to the amended code as a consequence of the 2020 bush fires. In a way, these precautions are great because it means architects and builders can be creative to build in a way to make them work with the environment and its elements rather than against. Like double insulated walls and floor to ceiling windows, the position of the home is to capture sun throughout the seasons.
Patience! We had our third child born during the build! So between building, designing, sourcing and making sure the trades were caffeinated for smoko – as well as raising our growing family patience was critical!!
Shou Sugi Ban is a labour of love as the timber is so sensitive it took 3 chippy’s, 3 times as long as expected to wrap the house braving all elements from snow storms to sunshine to complete.
What do you love about your cabin?
That it was built by my husband so I saw first-hand the love that went into it! He is meticulous, finesses the details, has superb taste (bias) and excels at his craft of carpentry and genuinely enjoys building beautiful well-made spaces!
I love the multiple nooks and spaces in the cabin that makes it feel cosy but also separated for restful, quieter moments.
I love that it is well insulated and sealed..I have been cold for 3 years while living in Jindabyne due to poorly built homes! It is so wonderful to be warm in a cold climate!
The 3-metre-long corner sofa too is the comfiest sofa I have ever sat/lay on! A large window frames the landscape that is home to multiple native wildlife, you could seriously relax here all day!
Living in flow with nature too is incredible, you wake to the sunrise and can enjoy nature from every angle of the cabin. As a family we love the outdoor hammock off the patio, roasting marshmallows around the roaring firepit and swinging on the old tyre amongst the large gummies!
What are three words that best describe how you feel at Common Kosci?
What do you enjoy about living in Jindabyne?
Living with the seasons! Your entire lifestyle changes with the flow of nature. It's so enriching to experience nature so differently throughout the year!
The proximity to the ski resorts! In 30 minutes from the cabin you can be on the mountain (very good on pow days!!)
The ease and humbleness of its residents. Friends are available and accessible no matter what time of the day, drop in visits are frequent and spontaneous play dates and adventures are always on the cards!
The shared love and common ground between its inhabitants of the love of the outdoors and outdoor pursuits!
Jumping daily into Thredbo river to immerse in nature is like no other!
What does simple living mean to you?
Not dictated by the stuff we have but the experiences we are living
Home to you is...
Warm beds to snuggle into
Weet Bix permanently on the shelf
Messy weekend mornings with pancakes, PJs and crumbs on the ground
Aroma of morning coffee and delightful mugs for enjoying them in
Space for wrestling
Space for lego and sylvanian play
Space for relaxing
Space for family meals
Comfort to indulge in all of your emotions
We are a nomadic family having in the last 7 years lived in 6 different houses, 3 different area codes and spent 6 months in our camper trailer!
What book can you recommend?
Honeybee by Craig Silvey
Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Home Going by Yaa Gyasi
Where the Crawdad sings by Delia Owens
Please share 3 of your favourite products from Imprint House:
For obvious reasons...
I have a slight obsession with clever and beautiful storage at the moment as my family of 5 plus kelpie are currently residing in a 1 bedroom while we build again!! So I love…
These are timeless, beautifully crafted and present so well in a home to de-clutter and showcase items. Great for the little peoples nooks too.
Making items accessible and pretty as a feature piece for any room – it is stunning!
Because seriously these baskets can have multiple uses and for simple living it serves many purposes including my favourite been an everyday bag that makes grabbing kids snacks and drink bottles easy and can even look pretty when dumped at the doorway!
TAKE THE TOUR NOW...
Looking to experience Common Kosci yourself? Book your stay HERE