Con­tem­po­rary cas­tle

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Jes­sica Howard Email jes­sica.

IF THE three most im­por­tant things in real es­tate are lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, then former Queens­lan­ders Jared House and Sara Pane could not have cho­sen bet­ter in their 6.5ha of Cas­tle Forbes Bay prop­erty.

Tired of the hus­tle and bus­tle of in­ner- city Bris­bane, the cou­ple came to scout out homes in Tas­ma­nia over the 2007- 08 hol­i­day pe­riod.

Look­ing for some­where they could breed chick­ens and ducks and have enough room for their son, Bede, to run around, the fam­ily set their sights on the Huon Val­ley.

‘‘ We hap­pened to be driv­ing down the Huon High­way, to Po­lice Point, and saw a sign ad­ver­tis­ing the house for sale,’’ Jared said.

‘‘ We had a brief look and fell in love with the 16 acres, which looks out over the Huon River and the agri­cul­tural land of Cas­tle Forbes Bay; but we made the de­ci­sion to buy it be­cause we loved the old house on the prop­erty.’’

The old farm house was built in 1923 and sat on land cul­ti­vated since the late 1800s for ev­ery­thing from hay mak­ing and grape cul­ti­va­tion to cat­tle and don­key breed­ing.

The young fam­ily lived in the Art Deco home for two years in which time they got started on the garden, live­stock and pol­ish­ing the floor­boards be­fore wel­com­ing their daugh­ter Hermione in Au­gust 2009.

On June 26, 2010, their lives were turned up­side down when a fire started in the main fire­place and burnt the en­tire house down.

From the ashes of the old home rose an idea for a mod­ern farm­house.

De­signed by di­rec­tor of Cykel Ar­chi­tec­ture Stephen Gea­son and con­structed by Ian Si­mond­son of Skookom, Holly Tree Farm im­proves upon short­falls of the old house while re­spect­ing its ori­gins.

‘‘ Our big thought af­ter the fire was about pre­serv­ing el­e­ments of the burnt house and about build­ing some­thing that didn’t stand out, but which hun­kered down into the land­scape,’’ Jared said.

‘‘ The in­surance took a while to sort out so we spent this time think­ing about what didn’t work in the old house.’’

Mice and rats had made them­selves at home in win­ter in the old house as well as a few pos­sums, who per­ma­nently lived in the ceil­ing spa­ces.

The old homestead had been un­able to main­tain heat and this was where some of the great­est im­prove­ments were made.

The ex­ten­sive use of north- fac­ing, dou­bleglazed glass, con­crete slab floor­ing and tank water all make the three- bed­room prop­erty highly ef­fi­cient.

A com­bi­na­tion of pol­ished con­crete, ply­wood and brick in the in­te­rior as well as macro­carpa cladding, black matte ex­te­rior ply and block work on the ex­te­rior make for a sim­ple but stylish fin­ish.

‘‘ I don’t think that there are many houses any­where in Aus­tralia that have views like

ours,’’ Jared said. ‘‘ We don’t need in­ter­nal dec­o­ra­tion like fea­ture walls, as na­ture’s art­work is read­ily avail­able through the sen­si­tively placed glaz­ing.

‘‘ I think we both de­spise dec­o­ra­tion for the sake of dec­o­ra­tion – the main aim of a home is its var­i­ous func­tions and func­tional space can be beau­ti­ful.

‘‘ I am a bit of a prude when it comes to mod­ern ar­chi­tec­ture and I tend to think that th­ese days much func­tion is sac­ri­ficed to look, de­sign or grand­ness.’’

Now set­tled into their new home, the fam­ily of four – along with their three cats and labrador – fi­nally have the space they need to grow and live, and still have a re­minder of the home that started their Tas­ma­nian ad­ven­ture.

Jared kept all the bricks from three of the chim­neys in the orig­i­nal home and then man­aged to re- use them in the hall­way of the new house.

‘‘ They tell a story of the past house,’’ he said.

‘‘ Some bear the paint of the walls of the last home such as the smoky pink of the sit­ting room.

‘‘ Some are soot black­ened, taken from chim­neys and tell the story of both the three fire­places and the fi­nal fire.’’

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