BRANDI

In­spired by ar­chi­tec­ture in her na­tive Canada, Brandi and her hus­band Si­mon re­placed a crum­bling Bris­bane weath­er­board with this lovely new home.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

Build­ing com­pany own­ers Brandi and Si­mon built their in­spir­ing Bris­bane home to show­case what can be achieved.

“WE BOUGHT THIS PROP­ERTY about four years ago, and moved into a tiny home that was in such ter­ri­ble shape that the wall­pa­per was peel­ing off. It was a lit­tle, post-war weath­er­board house that wasn’t her­itage-listed or any­thing spe­cial. In fact, it wasn’t even on proper foun­da­tions – you could look through the floor­boards and see the dirt of the ground. But what it did have go­ing for it was the area.

GREAT LO­CA­TION

We’ve lived in Coor­pa­roo for a while now, long enough to know it was the right place for us to build our ‘for­ever home’. We’re on the side of a hill, have great ac­cess to lo­cal cafes and shops, and the neigh­bours and lo­cal com­mu­nity are won­der­ful. We’re only a few kilo­me­tres from Bris­bane’s CBD, and you can see the city and the Story Bridge from our back deck. The lo­ca­tion made mov­ing the whole fam­ily into a house that you lit­er­ally couldn’t keep clean worth it.

We ended up selling the old house on Gumtree and some­one came and picked it up and took it away for us. They ar­ranged a truck and cut the house into two pieces and hauled it away in one day. It was pretty amaz­ing to watch, and we didn’t feel like we were be­ing waste­ful. Not hav­ing to pay for de­mo­li­tion costs was an added bonus.

CLEAR VI­SION

With the old house gone, Si­mon and I fi­nally had the op­por­tu­nity to build the house we’d been de­sign­ing and dream­ing of for years. We met in Bris­bane and then moved to Canada, my home coun­try, and lived in Whistler for a few months. We used to wan­der around and look at all the beau­ti­ful chalets and talk about one day build­ing a house that com­bined that Cana­dian warmth and flair with the light and airy Queens­land style. That was our vi­sion.

TOUGH DE­CI­SIONS

You’d think that run­ning a build­ing com­pany would mean we’re old hands at this, but this is the first time we’ve built our own home from scratch, so there’s still that learn­ing curve. Ren­o­vat­ing and build­ing are ex­haust­ing, no mat­ter who you are. There are so many de­ci­sions to be made, and are some­how harder to make when they’re for you rather than a client.

Build­ing a house this size also means mak­ing an aw­ful lot of de­ci­sions and choices. We de­cided to cut through where we could by mak­ing sweep­ing de­ci­sions, like us­ing a sin­gle colour palette through­out. We chose Sea Fog by Re­sene for the walls and Alabaster for the trim, then to cre­ate depth and in­ter­est we opted for dif­fer­ent fin­ishes, mix­ing up matte, satin and gloss el­e­ments. It adds tex­ture with­out de­tract­ing from the airy feel.

While some calls were ob­vi­ous from the start, there were plenty of hard choices. We knew from the be­gin­ning that en­gi­neered French oak boards were the right choice for the liv­ing ar­eas. We also as­sumed we’d use mar­ble through­out the tiled ar­eas, but when we thought about the work in­volved to keep it clean and un­marked, not to men­tion the cost, we de­cided to con­cen­trate the mar­ble bud­get on fea­ture walls for big­ger im­pact.

LESSONS LEARNED

For a long time I thought the big­gest rev­e­la­tion for us was a deeper ap­pre­ci­a­tion of our client’s needs.

The amount of de­tail re­quired is quite over­whelm­ing, and it’s easy to for­get that un­til you go through it. We now ap­proach client projects with as many sug­ges­tions as ques­tions. But an even big­ger sur­prise is that we’re about to turn around and do it all over again. A neigh­bour de­cided to sell up and do a seachange in re­tire­ment, and of­fered us a look be­fore he listed the prop­erty – we couldn’t re­sist it. This time round, we’re plan­ning a house that’s even more Cana­dian in style. I can’t be­lieve we’re do­ing it again, but I’m ex­cited!”

Hub of the home The down­stairs liv­ing area flows through to the din­ing, kitchen and out­side area.

Worth the ef­fort Brandi says build­ing the pool was a “no-brainer” as the kids use it ev­ery day.

Stand­out piece

The black buf­fet is one of Brandi’s big-ticket buys, from In­te­ri­ors On­line.

Hats, shoes and school gear are easy to grab and go! Keep it tidy A mu­d­room, which is a pop­u­lar fea­ture in Cana­dian homes, keeps clut­ter at bay.

Solid foun­da­tions

The dry-stone chim­ney breast, laid by a lo­cal ma­son, is one of the main Cana­dian dec­o­ra­tive touches in the home.

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