When architect Pud Kibble first came to look at the East Street property for renovation, he climbed the telegraph pole out the front.
Tucked up the back of the site, a simple rectangular house sat amongst terraced gardens, surrounded by camellias, cherry blossoms and one prolific fig tree. The steep site had to open itself up to the magnificent views down to the Lockyer Valley.
With one fell swoop, the land directly out front of the existing house was excavated. The house was extended at a right angle to the original structure and projected toward the view. Although at first the building made for a stark contrast to the garden around it, over time, small additions like a trellis over the master bedroom courtyard and a roof over the deck have broken it down into the garden. And, with the garden itself growing up to the house, the structure has settled beautifully into the site.
Designed firstly as a family home, it is very nearly trumped as an entertaining venue. With a huge kitchen that easily fits a party of eight around the island bench, cooking and partying have been allowed to happen simultaneously. Summer entertaining has been made simple with the covered deck just off the kitchen. In the past few years, a pizza oven was added into the top garden, along with paving and a small stone wall to accommodate many a hungry guest. Fond memories of a slow-cooked lamb shoulder or many an experimental pizza have been enjoyed from the outdoor oven.
While expansive, the garden is broken into different areas for enjoyment. Original terraced gardens at the back of the house are filled with herbs and citrus trees. Pots are scattered about, filled with more herbs or geraniums, giving a Mediterranean feel. Hedges are clipped for maximum screening and privacy without taking away from the view, while a magnificent magnolia, an ancient grass tree and a giant canary palm grace the front.
Stepping inside is a bit like walking into someone’s mad collection of holidays, whims and fancies. Nothing quite matches between the furniture, rugs and décor, yet it all works wonderfully together set against bright yellow walls and endless windows. There is a sense of fun and celebration about the place. Stepping out of the new part of the house, back to the original is to step back into the family home. High ceilings are replaced by lower timber clad ceilings and polished wood is exchanged for wool carpet. By comparison, a sitting room in the old part of the house seems somewhat muted, despite the rich indigo rug and the giant African painting. The creamy walls and rendered brick fireplace make for a cosy comparison to the airy kitchen and living room at the front.
Colour continues to be splashed around in bathrooms and guest rooms alike as you move about the house. The earthy reds and browns of Aboriginal artwork blend beautifully with timber Bentwood chairs and the odd Panama hat, while brightly painted tiles collected from around the world bounce happily against painted walls. The collection of the old and new works beautifully and reflects a lifetime of travels and memories.
Words by Alice Thompson | Images by Ben Walker