Making Mid-Century Modern Again

The Fig Tree Pocket House by Bligh Graham Architects plays with Brisbane’s mid-century modern history, and brings the distinctive era into the modern day.

Adapted to accommodate three energetic boys, the new flow of this house creates light and space – in a modern take on mid-century modern!

Lucy Feagins

The Fig Tree Pocket House by Bligh Graham Architects.Photo – Toby Scott.

A modern take on Brisbane mid-century. Photo – Toby Scott.

The renovation brought natural light into the home. Photo – Toby Scott.

The architects exposed the beams to celebrate the history of the building, Photo – Toby Scott.

The kitchen looks out to the garden. Photo – Toby Scott.

Rich tones and polished wood offer a series mood to the breezy home. Photo – Toby Scott.

Indoor/outdoor living. Photo – Toby Scott.

Playtime in the garden. Photo – Toby Scott.

Ample room for running around. Photo – Toby Scott.

Photo – Toby Scott.

Lucy Feagins
19th of March 2019

The owners of this Brisbane home approached Daniel Hall of Bligh Graham Architects to renovated their family house, to accommodate three energetic young boys and bring light into the space. Daniel explains that the concept was to ‘pare back the previous poorly executed renovation works’ and re-emphasise the strong bones of the original structure. Putting the modern back into mid-century!

The new design avoids mimicking the original planning, but rather ‘creates a new relationship to the exterior and new Northern garden court’ Daniel describes. The house has been opened up, with the kitchen as a central anchor, that looks out to the dining room, terrace, garden, deck and Brisbane river beyond. Natural light now floods through the home, thanks to lifted ceilings and generous new openings.

The success of this project is in the balance between protecting the mid-century legacy and identity of the building, while updating the home, in terms of environmental standards and contemporary living conditions. Once the linings of the home were removed, Daniel explains that ‘the original house was discovered to be very poorly built’ and major structural works were required. While initially frustrating, this presented an opportunity to express the existing hardwood rafters and a new plywood ceiling.

The interior detailing introduced by the architect is also a deliberate reference to the mid-century heritage of the building. Hand built solid timber and copper joinery is both aesthetically appropriate to the era, and emphasises the handcrafting expertise of the time.

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