Inspired by architecture in her native Canada, Brandi and her husband Simon replaced a crumbling Brisbane weatherboard with this lovely new home.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
Hub of the home The downstairs living area flows through to the dining, kitchen and outside area.
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.