Preserving past glories, with Margie Fraser
After admiring this 1970s house in Fig Tree Pocket for years, architect Shane Plazibat and his wife Liz managed to buy it as soon as it came on the market. “I knew the house, and knew its history,” says Plazibat. “I used to run past it all the time as we lived not far away.”
Originally designed by architect Lou Hailey, of Conrad Gargett, the home in Brisbane’s west had served one family for 43 years. Set in a cul-de-sac famous among aficionados for its splendid examples of architecture, the house is anchored into a steep, bushy slope with glimpses of the Brisbane River below. “It needed a bit of TLC,” notes Plazibat, “But we didn’t change the plan at all. It had great bones to work with.”
The flat-roofed house is modest in scale, but its living spaces are cleverly connected. Brick and timber walls are punctuated with large areas of glass, looking out to tall gum trees that inhabit the steep gully.
The Plazibats removed security screens, replaced old carpets and lights, and installed new tiles and paintwork. A Carrara marble bench now graces the kitchen, and American walnut was used in the joinery. Bathrooms were resurfaced in black gloss tiles, while an original dining table, designed by another famous architectural practice, Hayes and Scott, was purchased from the previous owners. A cocktail bar was retained in the lounge area, reminiscent of Palm Springs (US) homes circa 1960, and the original pool was also retained and restored.
The master bedroom and living spaces are upstairs, and bedrooms for the couple’s two teenage sons are on the level below. The garden was also revived, with a bit of assistance from Janet Conrad, the original landscape architect and a neighbour.
“GREAT BONES” THIS ARCHITECT-OWNED HOME IN BRISBANE’S WEST RETAINS ITS ORIGINAL 1970s PLAN; ONLY THE FINER DETAILS WERE CHANGED