Delightful Dor­ney

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Jessica Howard jessica.howard@news.com.au

BE­TWEEN my work here and for realestate mag­a­zine, I’ve been pro­gres­sively fol­low­ing the work of renowned ar­chi­tect Es­mond Dor­ney around Ho­bart over the past two years, though not usu­ally be­ing aware of it un­til turn­ing up at the home.

As was the case with Bill Dien­aar and Wendy Far­quhar’s Sandy Bay house which is one of Dor­ney’s lesser- known properties but equally as beau­ti­ful and aes­thet­i­cally in­trigu­ing as all his oth­ers.

Cel­e­brated for his use of space and light, Dor­ney may not have been a pro­lifi c house de­signer but his im­pact has been heav­ily felt on the Tas­ma­nian ar­chi­tec­ture world since the 1950s.

Born in Melbourne and work­ing un­der Wal­ter Bur­ley- Grif­fin, de­signer of Can­berra city, Dor­ney set­tled in Ho­bart in 1949.

His 1959- built But­terfl y House and the 1978- built Fort Nel­son House, also in Sandy Bay, have al­ways at­tracted at­ten­tion and ac­co­lades for their forwardthinking de­signs.

What started out as a 1950s one- storey, two- bed­room home over­look­ing the River Der­went has grad­u­ally ex­panded to be­come Bill and Wendy’s three- bed­room, two- storey home which they have lived in since 1984.

“Like all Dor­ney houses which have some­thing round or cylin­dri­cal in it, we have the cir­cu­lar sunken lounge room,” Bill said of the stand­out room on the lower level.

“The curved wall in the en­suite we added to the mas­ter bed­room is to bal­ance out this curve we have on the other side of the house.”

Ren­o­vat­ing the home in the 1990s, the cou­ple, along with de­signer Bob Mirowski, were in­sis­tent that any ex­ten­sions should be sym­pa­thetic to the orig­i­nal de­sign.

With no one oc­cu­py­ing the rear bed­room and liv­ing area, Bill and Wendy de­cided to start a new ven­ture Alexan­dra on Bat­tery.

“When the kids left home we de­cided to con­vert that area into a B& B and

The place is unique, you won’t find an­other one quite like it in Ho­bart.

We’ve avoided mak­ing it ster­ile like so many mod­ern homes

added a kitch­enette and bath­room,” Bill ex­plained.

“I’ve got a sis­ter in Perth who runs B& Bs and she was our in­spi­ra­tion; she put the idea in our heads.

“We could rent it out as a unit for a uni stu­dent but then there would be some­one here per­ma­nently whereas with the B& B peo­ple come and go, which we pre­fer.”

With its own en­trance and great view of Mt Welling­ton, the ac­com­mo­da­tion of­ten at­tracts in­ter­state fam­i­lies and cou­ples who Bill will some­times in­vite up­stairs to his pride and joy – the jar­rah bar.

En­com­pass­ing al­most 360- de­gree views of the Der­went, city and Sandy Bay, the atrium- style liv­ing area up­stairs is a tim­ber haven filled with myr­tle, Tas­ma­nian oak and jar­rah.

“It’s beau­ti­ful at night with all the lights and the city and also the Eastern Shore now too,” Bill said. “Back in the ’ 80s there were only a few speck­les of lights over there then.

“If we wanted we could have had a 360- de­gree view but we wanted some pri­vacy from the houses fur­ther up the hill so that’s where the bar went in.

“It’s a re­ally unique view when you have the jerry [ fog] float­ing down the river.”

Bill’s “piece de re­sis­tance” is a sim­ple but ef­fec­tive light­ing fea­ture in the up­stairs floor where the wood fire chim­ney was pre­vi­ously.

“I was go­ing to put a pole in there in­stead so Wendy could do some pole danc­ing but that idea got chopped,” Bill joked.

Mov­ing to Tas­ma­nia from Western Aus­tralia, Bill was born in South Africa and of­ten trav­els back to visit rel­a­tives and this is re­flected in the home’s decor, as is his Dutch her­itage.

Set­tling in the home for al­most 30 years now, the cou­ple hope to live in the home for as long as phys­i­cally pos­si­ble.

“The place is unique, you won’t find an­other one quite like it in Ho­bart,” Bill said.

“We’ve avoided mak­ing it ster­ile like so many mod­ern homes. It’s more lived in and that’s why we’ve been here for so long.”

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