VAL­LEY HIGH

Pri­ori­tis­ing well­ness and mov­ing out of Bris­bane de­liv­ered a beau­ti­ful eco-friendly home in the bush and a more re­laxed life­style to boot.

Australian House & Garden - - HOUSES - STORY Rachael Bern­stone | STYLING Sarah El­li­son | PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Mindi Cooke

For much of the year, Lee and Lee-Anne Stevens have all the doors and­win­dow­soft­heirMore­tonBay­hin­ter­land­home­open,mak­ing the most of its con­nec­tion to the sur­round­ing bush. Liv­ing here in the val­ley is pure bliss, says Lee-Anne, and a far cry from their pre­vi­ous pres­sure-cooker life­style in Bris­bane. In 2014, Lee-Anne was suf­fer­ing poor health, which she at­trib­uted to her high-stress job and com­ing into con­tact with toxic ma­te­ri­als while ren­o­vat­ing a num­ber of old prop­er­ties over the years. In or­der to live a ‘cleaner’ life­style and hope­fully re­store Lee-Anne’s health, the cou­ple de­cided to make a tree-change in 2016, se­cur­ing a va­cant 2.4ha block just 20km north-west of the city.

The Stevens briefed ar­chi­tect Shaun Lock­yer to de­sign a “mod­ern farm­house” that pri­ori­tised healthy spa­ces and nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als. “Lee and Lee-Anne have had an in­ter­est in all things ‘green’ for a long time,” says Shaun. “They wanted to build a sus­tain­able fam­ily home, but it had to be prac­ti­cal in terms of in­cor­po­rat­ing the eco ele­ments. They wanted to be sen­si­ble and get value from their in­vest­ment.”

With a floor area of 189m2, the three-bed­room house is quite mod­est by to­day’s stan­dards. But the spa­ces feel open and gen­er­ous, thanks to the el­e­vated ceil­ings and con­nec­tions to the out­doors on two sides. The floor plan is ar­ranged around a grassed court­yard: garage, en­try and home of­fice at one end; main liv­ing ar­eas and bed­rooms in the long part; and al­fresco en­ter­tain­ing zone – in­clud­ing a cov­ered out­door room

and chem­i­cal-free pool – op­po­site. “The out­door room is one of our favourite spa­ces,” says Lee-Anne. “Perched on the built-in day bed, tak­ing in the house and the land­scape as one, you re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the great­ness of Shaun’s de­sign.”

Lee­andLee-An­n­ear­e­sea­sone­dren­o­va­tors(they­hav­eren­o­vated, built or project-man­aged 150 prop­er­ties for their con­sul­tancy busi­ness, Healthy Abode), so over­see­ing the in­te­ri­ors them­selves was a nat­u­ral step. In line with their clean-liv­ing ethos, they spec­i­fied low- or non-toxic fin­ishes and fur­nish­ings through­out.

The home feels es­pe­cially wel­com­ing, thanks to the use of rus­tic ma­te­ri­als – solid tim­ber trusses, spot­ted-gum floors and re­cy­cled bricks in­ter­nally; and iron­bark weath­er­boards and tex­tu­ral ty­rolean ren­der out­side. In­side, the ma­te­ri­als pal­ette is de­lib­er­ately re­strained so the green views can take cen­trestage. “Wak­ing up to green­ery ev­ery morn­ing is a feast for the eyes and helps re­duce stress; it also im­proves your health longevity, sleep and im­mune func­tion,” says Lee-Anne.

An­other bonus for the Stevens is that they’re en­tirely self­suf­fi­cient in terms of elec­tric­ity, wa­ter stor­age and waste man­age­ment. Their power is gen­er­ated by a 10kW so­lar sys­tem, with its in­verter lo­cated in a shed well away from the house to min­imise the im­pact of elec­tro­mag­netic fields. Wa­ter from their four rain­wa­ter tanks is de­liv­ered to the home via BPA-free pipes, and waste is nat­u­rally pro­cessed with a BioCy­cle aer­o­bic waste­water treat­ment sys­tem.

The fam­ily – now in­clud­ing five-year-old Poppy and baby Vi­o­let – also main­tain an or­ganic veg­etable gar­den and keep bees for honey. “Poppy spends hours at the fence line pat­ting and feed­ing our neigh­bours’ horses or gen­er­ally ex­plor­ing, climb­ing trees and get­ting dirty. It’s won­der­ful,” says Lee-Anne. As dusk falls, they put the chooks to bed, then take an “ad­ven­ture walk” around the prop­erty, gath­er­ing bits and pieces for Poppy’s trea­sure col­lec­tion. Later, Lee-Anne will sit in the hang­ing chair on the deck and read to Poppy or rock Vi­o­let to sleep.

While Lee and Lee-Anne be­gan this jour­ney to im­prove Lee-Anne’s health, the move has ben­e­fited the whole fam­ily. “We can’t imag­ine liv­ing any other way now,” she says.

Shaun Lock­yer Ar­chi­tects, New­stead, Queens­land; (07) 3257 7288 or lock­y­er­ar­chi­tects.com.au. Healthy Abode, Bris­bane, Queens­land; 0433 501 345 or healthya­bode.com.au.

MAIN BED­ROOM “We in­stalled re­tractable fly screens so we can open up the whole house and let fresh air in but keep the bugs out,” says Lee-Anne. Bed and side ta­ble, d-Bodhi. Bed linen, Elkie & Ark. Jute man­dala wall art, The Dharma Door. Out­side, the gar­dens are by Dan Young Land­scape Ar­chi­tect and Lush Land­scape So­lu­tions. EN­SUITE be­low left and op­po­site “Shaun thought about ev­ery de­tail, right down to where you hang your towel when you shower,” says Lee-Anne. Mar­ble bench­top. Ar­cisan ‘Axus’ tap­ware, Har­vey Nor­man. Bath, Apaiser. Tow­els, Loom Tow­els. Stool, The Purc-Shop. ‘Black Pe­tal on White Back­ground’ en­caus­tic floor tiles, Ter­a­nova. Smart buy: ‘Abyss’ slate wall tiles, from $94/m², Eco Out­door. GUE­STROOM There are plants in ev­ery room to help ‘clean’ the air. Bench, JD Lee Fur­ni­ture. Peg rail, Im­print House. Bas­kets, The Leisa Tree. For Where to Buy, see page 187.

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