Concrete Muse:  Bunker House by Futureflip

Concrete Muse: Bunker House by Futureflip

Situated on the South Coast of New South Wales, in the popular beach town of Gerringong and casting views over Werri beach, Bunker House greets you with a strong, handsome and rugged facade of concrete, stone and cedar.

Driven by a passion for design and backed by the pillar of his 17 years’ experience in the building industry, Futureflip Owner and Director, Neil Hipwell, had a vision for the Bunker House project.

Ultimately striving to create a sustainable, luxury home that was sensitive to its surrounds, and celebrated natural, hard-wearing materials which would age like a fine wine.   

The design of Bunker House was inspired by Neil’s infatuation with the war-time bunkers that can be found in the Gerringong area – with concrete as his material muse.

This affinity for concrete was important given the ocean front location – only hard-wearing materials could live in harmony with the wild climate of salt and sea, and harsh north-westerly winds.  

“We wanted a timeless design that incorporated mid-century modern elements but was still sympathetic to the landscape.” – Neil Hipwell

Inside, the thematic use of concrete and cedar continue, softened with an artistic application of interior design.

With sprawling views over Gerringong’s picturesque coast, visualising the landscape was important to Neil. “One of the key objectives was to capture and frame the views while maintaining privacy in a public and prominent location, “ he says.  

Bunker House does just that, with no outlook going to waste – ocean views can be experienced from almost every room in the home.  The top level of the home exemplifies open plan living – with each area flowing organically into the next. Keen entertainers, Neil and Krystal had envisioned that the top level be cohesive and connected and could host up to 100 people at one time. 

With no amount of luxury spared, Bunker House also has a large swimming pool beside the entertaining area – elevated just enough to watch the waves roll in.  Reflective glass provides UV protection and creates a spectacular mirror image of the surf that further bridges the gap between the Bunker and the beach.

Due to the bunker design of the home, integrating light into the space was important. “It was critical that there was lots of natural light flooding into the Bunker House in order to warm up all of the concrete.” A stunning glass floor was installed to the top floor in the kitchen and living space, acting as a skylight to the lower level.

Not just impressive aesthetically, it creates a choreography of light and speaks to the sustainable sensibilities of the home – providing light and warmth to the middle level and therefore saving on energy.

The open plan kitchen features a balance of raw materials and luxury finishes, with a bespoke concrete benchtop which anchors the space and acts as a gathering point for the family to connect, converse and immerse themselves in the sprawling ocean views.

Connected to the kitchen, the living room mimics the material palette. Set into a timber surround and bringing the space to life with an element of drama is the long linear fireplace. 


Albeit stunning to look at, Gerringong is renowned for being incredibly cold and windy in the winter months. “We knew that having a fireplace was non-negotiable. And having had Escea fireplaces in the past, the choice was easy” Neil says.

“The living room had the potential to be quite cold, with a concrete floor, ceiling, and walls. The Escea fireplace warms up the space both aesthetically and temperature wise.”

Neil chose an Escea DS1650 Gas Fireplace, installed into a timber surround with a striking exposed flue.  Locally sourced, Victorian Ash timber was chosen to further warm up the space. “We wanted to bring through some light, warmer tones to contrast against the off-form concrete” he says.

The Escea DS1650 Gas Fireplace was supplied and installed by the team at Hot Water and Heating in Caringbah, NSW.

The slimline design of the Escea DS1650 was seamlessly integrated into the concept for the fireplace. “Visually, the Escea is striking, and the shape works so well with the linear forms of the Bunker House”.

But, it was the way the fire integrates into their day-to-day lives that was the selling point – with the Smart Heat app allowing the family to turn the fireplace on from their home in Sydney, before they’ve even hit the road for a weekend at the Bunker.

“The integration with our smart-home system is so handy. We really love it.” – Neil Hipwell.

Perfectly positioned to witness the comings and goings of the tide, the daily arrival and departure of the sun and the changing colours of the seasons – Bunker House is also a sanctuary where Neil and his wife can watch their young family grow and thrive for the foreseeable years.

Explore the Escea DS Series here.

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