Frank Vedelago and Jane Vasey had been living and working in Melbourne before they returned to Frank’s hometown of Brisbane in 2015, and purchased an old, run down worker’s cottage. In Melbourne, Frank had completed an Architecture degree and gained valuable industry experience. ‘In the early stages of my career I was lucky enough to work for Six Degrees and Kennedy Nolan – I couldn’t have been more fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with such talented, but also kind and generous people’ the young architect recalls. Come 2015, though, Frank was eager to sink his teeth into his very own project!
Frank and Jane’s original Queenslander cottage was built pre-1911, and was a typical structure with four rooms, a lean-to kitchen and an outhouse in the backyard. Its less typical pyramidal roof form, however, distinguished it from later-era cottages. Frank wanted to maintain the integrity of the original structure, while adding a more livable modern addition. ‘The cottage sat on a large site which enabled me to adopt the design concept of a ‘campus’ – pushing building elements across the site to create a sense of space’ he explains. Frank’s favourite multi-purpose ‘workshop/studio’ space is aligned with this idea; it sits aside from the house, and divides the carport from the pool that runs along one side of the property.
Carefully updating the original cottage, which still has the original hoop pine flooring and ‘VJ’ (timber panelled) walls, Frank built a bedroom, bathroom and living area underneath which serves well as a guest suite. An internal void with a staircase leading to the 2nd level and a mezzanine desk area creates a generous sense of interior space. The modern addition is a two-level structure featuring a master bedroom, dressing area and ensuite upstairs, with the kitchen and living areas downstairs.
The north-east aspect of the main living areas encourages breezes to flow through the property, and the floor to ceiling screens, and overhead fans reduce the need for air conditioning – as Frank was keen to avoid such mod cons, preferring instead to work with the natural climate.
Aesthetically, the home celebrates natural light and materials, such as Australian blackbutt flooring and Carrara marble, creating a relaxed, understated feel. ‘Jane and I find solace in natural environments, and wanted to experience a similar quality at home’ Frank explains. ‘Family and friends have jibed us for being minimal, but we find an uncluttered space relaxing to be in.’