With an outdoorsy lifestyle and ample space for their four children a priority, these veteran renovators tackled a new build in Brisbane, with delightful results.
With a few renovations of colonial-style Queenslanders under their belt, Brisbane couple Declan and Sarah decided they were ready to build a home from the ground up. Custom-designed accommodation for their four children, aged between six and 12, was a driving factor, and they were also clear about the area they wanted to live in.
"Declan grew up in Moreton Bay and loved it and we wanted to move back while the kids were still little to give them the same great lifestyle," says Sarah. "We were ready for a complete change." After looking for 12 months for the right block of land they found this high, sloping lot with beautiful bay views, on which was perched a 1960s-style weatherboard beach shack.
"Even though we had been looking for an empty block, we were really lucky, in hindsight, that the little shack was there and liveable," says Sarah. "We ended up staying there for nearly a year. It allowed us to get to know the site and climate as we finalised our plans before knocking it down to begin afresh."
Sarah had kept a scrapbook of cut-outs collected over the years that illustrated the type of detail and finishes they wanted. "We knew we liked modern and low-key, with clean and simple lines," she says. "I had also seen houses that were white with lots of light and then a contrasting dark floor, which I thought would be practical for our family." The view needed to be enjoyed from as many rooms as possible, and controlling the bayside breezes was a priority. "This was one thing we noticed while living here before we rebuilt," says Sarah. "Sometimes a strong southerly would blow through and make the bay side unpleasant, so we wanted to incorporate a protected courtyard to use when it got too blustery."
They called on architect Liam Proberts of Fairweather Proberts Architects to work on their ideas. "We focused on creating large simple spaces that have a casual air and would suit the family long-term," says Liam. Locating the five-bedroom, three-storey house close to the street created plenty of living space and room for a landscaped backyard. The internal areas in the home are separated and stepped down the site to provide maximum views and ventilation.
The entrance is on the middle-level, which houses the main bedroom, the couple's daughter's bedroom, two bathrooms and two study spaces. The three boys' bedrooms are on the upper level with a shared bathroom. On the lower level, the living zones are connected to outdoor play areas. "The focus is the large open living spaces incorporating kitchen, scullery, laundry, living, dining and playroom," says Liam. Glass panels slide away to allow a seamless connection to the front lawn and swimming pool overlooking the bay, and also to the courtyard behind. Large insulated louvres at the higher level allow the whole facade to open to the east and complete the connection to the bay aspect and the outdoors.
All in all, Sarah reflects, the path from ideas to completed home has been enjoyable. "Coming home is like going on holidays," she says. "We can live very casually in this house, which is the key to controlling the chaos!"
Architects: Fairweather Proberts Architects, Brisbane, Queensland; (07) 3221 0672. Landscaper: Exton Landscapes, Ashgrove, Queensland; (04) 1373 3623