When Ian and Lynn Sharpe decided seven years ago to build their home on a suburban block in downtown Dalby they were confronted with the usual dilemma of a modern homebuilder in not-so-modern surroundings.

Added to this was the fact that Dalby, located as it is on the unstable black soil plains of the Darling Downs, has traditionally been the bastion of timber house construction. How, then, to design a new house to blend on an average-sized block situated between an older brick church and a highset traditional Queenslander?

The Sharpes applied their considerable combined experience in homemaking to this conundrum. The resultant elegant rendered home is such a perfect blend of old and new that they are frequently asked whether they renovated. They have created one of those houses that make you stop and look at its breathtaking symmetry. Beautifully manicured hedges, lawns and garden beds cover the external space in a series of outdoor ‘rooms’, each with its own purpose, each a showcase of the owners’ attention to detail.

Once inside there is no doubt that Peebles is indeed a new home. Its modern style bespeaks convenience, comfort and newness.

However, says Lynn, “We wanted it to look as if it had been here forever. And we wanted it to have a soul!”Ian proposed to Lynn over a glass of champagne in the skeleton of the house while it was under construction. They celebrated their marriage there in 2005, surrounded by family, and enough emotion to generate ‘soul’.

When it came to blending their lifetimes’ collected furnishings and artworks in their new home, Ian and Lynn discovered that their possessions melded with eerie perfection. Ian’s Japanese doll, a gift from a client in his grain industry days, now sits in total harmony in a corner of the dining room below Lynn’s Japanese etching.

Lynn’s unusual framed Egyptian parchment painting found a mate in a similar artwork Ian had stashed away in a drawer. Ian and Lynn are both exponents of the finer things in life and have an aversion to clutter.

By mutual agreement, one quality purchase per trip reminds them of their travels. The spectacular Murano glass sculpture that graces the huge Queensland red cedar sideboard is one such treasure. The artworks throughout the house are originals, beautifully presented, representative of Australian artists. Their knick knacks too, reflect their Australianness and country living. Everything in this house has a story.

Respect is paid to their forebears in the ‘history alcove’; family photographs adorn the restored radio, adding more soul to their home. The expansive entrance hall opens onto a dining/living room large enough to be seriously functional, built to accommodate an enormous silky oak church pew from Warwick. Antique pieces furnish the whole house in a variety of timbers. Cliff Beadle has created a subdued and gracious effect with soft furnishings. From the central living area with its expansive indoor-outdoor deck, French doors open up the whole house to the lovely side garden.
This is a house for entertaining, which is exactly what Ian and Lynn do, frequently.

Words by Jane Grieve | Images by Janine Waters