Uxbridge is located in the grange which is a leafy inner-city suburb of Brisbane. One of its defining features is the green belt that slices through the middle. Uxbridge sits on the edge of a very busy bike path that feeds from that green belt through most of the northern suburbs of Brisbane.
We purchased the site about 10 years ago. We built a very small home on here and as our family grew the home has grown with it. We extended about five years ago and we’ve extended again now and we’ve completed the home and it’s now our family home. Being both architect and client is a different experience, everyone has their own ideas of what a family home should be and we have our ideas of what the architecture should be, so this home reflects that; it’s not purely a reflection of me it’s a reflection of our whole family. The house really exemplifies the way that we operate as a practice.
Our homes are meant to be a collaboration, they’re meant to involve the personality and lifestyle of those people we’re designing for. The public edges of the bike path in the park really played into the way this home was laid out. We consider this living dining kitchen room really as a gathering place on the edge of a public space. It works to create privacy to some extent but it also tries to interact with that community. We have an opportunity to close it down or interact with our neighbours.
The other spaces, the other rooms of the house, leverage off that. We go through to semi-public spaces and right into the private spaces and they interact in various different ways. In some ways the fact that this home was built up from a very small house give it that feel of a town that’s developing and creates that almost village in miniature in the design and the spatial planning. The site is defined by the edges that are the bike path and the green park land and as such the house opens to those sides.
We’re surrounded by trees so we kind of catch that light from our courtyards off walls through lots of large windows. As the light moves around we get different spaces that light in different ways. There’s a bit of a story at different times of the day; we get dappled light against the mural on the outside against the side of the home. The sun hitting the fins in the courtyard creates a pattern of interesting shadows and it kind of makes the house feel a little bit living. In developing the palette of materials where the upper level of the house reflects the surrounding homes the lower level of the house is earthy and connected to the ground. Typically the Queenslander is a weatherboard home that’s been raised and battened underneath and we’ve almost flipped that. We brought the batons up to the top to be our sun and privacy protection.
We’ve retained the element of weatherboard but we’ve put it on a very solid and dark base. We are in a character area here in Brisbane, we’ve decided to maintain that connection to our suburb to the predominant construction in this area, but we’ve given it a modern twist. From the start of the project we knew that timber was going to feature in this home and so we reached out to Tongue and Groove right from the start. We featured Tongue and Groove’s Hekki board throughout the house particularly this main room on the ceilings and walls to bring a warmth into the home.
We love the colour and we love the consistency of the tongue and groove product. We also really love the wax finish. It’s not glossy, it doesn’t show up footprints and marks very easily so it’s actually really easy to live with. It works really nicely with our palette of materials. We’ve used plank form on the concrete to create extra texture and that works nicely against the concrete floors and we’ve introduced some brick and various other materials to kind of create an overall pattern and patina of texture. The opportunity to present something to the community that we think is of a high quality that really adds value to this area; I’m most proud of that, I’m proud of what it gives beyond our family to the surrounding neighbourhood.