Artist Julie Gilroy and her family were seeking something quite specific in their future home, starting with the ideal block. ‘We had been looking in the area for a while — potentially for a house to knock down — but there are a lot of heritage planning regulations in the area only allowing you to build Queenslanders, which was not what we wanted to build,’ explains Julie.
A newly-subdivided and empty block with no planning restrictions and beautiful views in Brisbane’s Indooroopilly presented the perfect opportunity. ‘We fell in love with it and had the land under contract within 48 hours of viewing it,’ Julie says.
Julie was interested in a brick home, but required the expertise of a collaborative architect to fully realise the vision. She selected DAH Architecture based on their portfolio (including the incredible Church House!) and owner David Hansford’s willingness to engage throughout the process.
‘I had spoken to a couple of architects before engaging David but it felt like they wanted to completely take over the project and not give myself and my husband the input we desired,’ she says. ‘David really listened to what we wanted.’
The design began with two seemingly contrasting inspirations — London mews and Brooklyn loft apartments — which David distilled into a cohesive aesthetic. British sensibilities are reflected in the building layout, while industrial influences (aluminium, concrete, and glass) are showcased in the material palette.
‘At our last Brisbane house we had various outdoor entertaining spaces, but we wanted to pare this house down and just have one large space that could instantly become indoor or outdoor by opening up the back of the house,’ explains Julie of her vision. ‘We loved the planted retaining wall at the front of the plot and immediately wanted to create a cobbled courtyard with the feel of a mews, and then have big lofty spaces inside with large doors that opened to the amazing view.’
A challenge of the project was framing the southerly view while inviting adequate light into the home. DAH achieved this by creating a generous two-storey entry void, which acts similarly to a central courtyard, to introduce light and views from the front door to the rear.
‘This voided entry also acts like a gallery space for Julie’s art and a fulcrum of sorts for the variety of activity spaces throughout the home,’ says David.
Large sliding doors at the rear doors disappear into the brick cavity when opened, allowing the back of the house to feel like an outdoor verandah in the summer.
Rooms upstairs are more defined for quiet relaxation and work in Julie’s home studio. ‘My art studio was very important and got prime position upstairs with great light and cross breezes from front to back,’ she says.
The completed home with its established feel has exceeded the family’s expectations. ‘David has balanced the space so well; the proportions flow perfectly. It’s such an easy and enjoyable place to live and work.’