A Renovated 1930s Home Overlooking Brisbane River

Period homes are known for their intricate detailing and craftsmanship, but are often less successful at interacting with the surrounding landscape.

This house in Brisbane’s Indooroopilly by Owen Architecture actively addresses this problem, by introducing not one but two courtyards to the original 1930s property, alongside a new living pavilion. These new additions facilitate a simpler way of living, creating seamless outdoor access, and incredible views across the Brisbane River.

Amelia Barnes

The open living pavilion stretches out into the treetops. Photo – Simon Devitt.

Glass reflects the surrounds like a treehouse overlooking the Brisbane River. Steel framed doors and frameless glass by Everingham Wrought Iron. Photo – Simon Devitt.

Panoramic treetop views. Photo – Simon Devitt.

Natural light and shadow contrast in the living space. Photo – Simon Devitt.

Light floods the kitchen and dining space. Photo – Simon Devitt.

Sleek mid-century joinery in the study. Photo – Simon Devitt.

Minimal lines keep the open shelving clean. Photo – Simon Devitt.

The front courtyard connects the two spaces in the living pavilion. Photo – Simon Devitt.

Greenery connects old and new wings of the building. Photo – Simon Devitt.

A serene lap pool is overshadowed by riverside trees. Photo – Simon Devitt.

The 1930s brick and timber facade is maintained. Photo – Simon Devitt.

Amelia Barnes
29th of January 2020

The Brisbane Riverbank House in Indooroopilly was designed for the specific requirements of a family with a young daughter. The clients were seeking a ‘simple way of living’, including multiple outdoor spaces to entertain family and friends. Owen Architecture founder Paul Owen says the brief was simply to ‘create a building which creates a relaxed and happy family life, that feels natural in its Australian riverside landscape.’

Paul’s approach to renovating the 1930s timber and brick house was to design a new living pavilion, creating two large courtyards in the process. The riverside courtyard is a level lawn, directly accessible from the kitchen and living rooms, both of which overlook the Brisbane River. In contrast, the front entry courtyard is a large paved area bound by garages housing the owner’s extensive car collection. The main living pavilion links these outdoor spaces to one another, creating Paul’s favourite feature of the property.

Earth-based materials such as brick and terracotta were chosen to suit the property’s riverbank context. These materials flow into the interior spaces also, creating a minimal look that draws the eye out to the beautiful river and lawn views.

Owen Architecture has succeeded in introducing major new works to this site without losing the grace of the existing home. The project has been recognised by multiple awards, including the 2019 Houses Awards for House Alteration and Addition over 200m².

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