My dream home is for sale and, unbeknownst to me, it is just up the road from where I live.
About ten years ago a slew of books began to be published on Australian architecture. One of the books that was very popular at the time wasLocal Heroes: Architects of Australia’s sunshine coast. It featured the work of architects from this tiny region who were defining a very Australian style: Gabriel Poole, John Mainwaring and Kerry and Lindsay Clare.
I like this style of architecture. I would say it’s more of an Australian style than just Sunshine Coast – it uses light materials, lots of outdoor space and windows, and there’s usually a bit of corrugated iron thrown in somewhere. It’s worlds away from the houses of those “little boxes” estates that line the highway to Brisbane. You know the ones I mean, the houses fill up the entire block of land, are rendered brick and have no eaves. Can you believe that they build houses with no eaves in Queensland? It’s crazy. But anyway, I digress.
So we have the books and the emergence of a Sunshine Coast architectural style and around this time the aforementioned Sunshine Coast architects were winning design prizes. One of these design winners is my dream house – and I saw in the Weekend Australian Magazine’s Dream Homes section that it’s up for sale.
The house in question is known as Araucaria (or the Hammond Residence). It was built in 1994 and won both the Robin Dods Award and National Robin Boyd Award in 1995 for the architects, Kerry and Lindsay Clare.
I fell in love with this house when I first saw it featured in the local papers at the time. I loved its simplicity. It is a one-bedroom, open plan, 80 square metre box. The windows all around give uninterrupted views to the Pacific Ocean. It has a little bit of Aalto-influenced slat action going on with the lightweight dividers that separate the bedroom from the rest of the living space.
Also, I’m a sucker for plywood (despite all its noxious glues) and love when it’s used well as lining – which it is in this house. The black beams of the open ceiling give it a bit of a Japanese minimalist feel. And finally, it has a little north-facing entrance deck to watch the sun come up (over the ocean-edged view, I would assume).
Besides the aesthetics of it, this house also included design features that were probably not all that common 15 years ago. Due to its remote location, it has its own water supply (tanks) and electricity (solar), with heating needs supplemented by bottled gas and a combustion burner. And importantly, no air conditioner is needed here with the windows allowing natural airflow and the big eaves providing shade.
I love it. Sigh.
Now the really weird thing about this house is its location. I mentioned that it’s on the side of a mountain that looks over the coast. Well, that mountain is at the back of our house. It’s the one I look at everyday.
And while I knew that my dream house was on the Sunshine Coast, I didn’t know it was so close, and I certainly didn’t know about it when I moved here four years ago. (I actually thought it was on the road that goes down to the coast – about 10km away.)
So, I’m just weirded out by having this object of desire from so long ago turning up in my backyard. The universe works in mysterious ways. (Tee hee)
If you’ve go a spare A$765,000 then you may want to throw your hat in the ring for a design classic that has my approval. Ie Yes, I will come and drink beers on the deck with you. It’s way out of my budget, but I still find it inspiring and the features I love are really accessible and could be implemented here at The Palace (when I have the inclination). Perhaps I’d add a little fibro to make it a truly Australian home.