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Playful design elements take a simple, modern home to the next level

All architects need a name by which to refer to their projects and it’s not hard to see the why the mastermind behind this creation, Shaun Lockyer of Shaun Lockyer Architects, dubbed it The Long House. Set upon a tranquil acreage in Chandler, Queensland, the site afforded Shaun the luxury of creating an elongated, linear floorplan that stretches out across the east-west axis to take advantage of the north-eastern exposure.

To further capitalise on the space available, and create a fluidity inside and out, Shaun created an outdoor room defined by white brick ‘ha-ha’ walls; a ha-ha being a recessed landscape design element that creates a vertical barrier whilst still preserving uninterrupted views of the area beyond.

Combined with a couple of full-height walls featuring large circular apertures, the design of this outdoor room adds depth and intrigue to the property without inhibiting the flow of space and light. The white brickwork, which defines the entire ground floor, also serves to create the mid-century modern look that the owners, Don and Kelvie, liked. 

“The clients were interested in mid-century modern work, referencing white painted brick specifically, but they also wanted to contextualise the house in the sub-tropics,” recalls Shaun. “To this end, we proposed a mix of simple modern forms with some playful combinations of simple, timeless materials.”

“We chose a random selection of bricks from PGH Bricks and had them painted in Dulux’s Lexicon Quarter Strength 'PCWF4'. We use PGH for the overwhelming proportion of our work as they consistently offer great service, technical support, guidance and product selection,” he adds. 

Although the use of brick was initiated by Don and Kelvie to reference a mid-century modern look, it was also an ideal choice as it responds to the local vernacular, which is overwhelmingly brick veneer construction, Shaun points out. Moreover, as brick is renowned for its robust nature and longevity - capable of withstanding the harshest of weather - it’s perfect for a home in the sub-tropics. 

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Painted white, the brickwork provides a fresh, bright contrast to the timber and dark cladding above; a striking juxtaposition that continues inside with crisp, white ceilings and walls setting the backdrop for charcoal cabinetry and spectacular mosaic cladding in the kitchen and bathroom. 

“I think this house is a great example of ‘simple done well’”, says Shaun. “The only challenges were to do with planning, title and some technical issues regarding the drainage and foundations. However, these were overcome very early on in the process and the builders, M2 Construct, did a fantastic job, completing the project on time and on budget.

“Architecturally, this project represents a great example of how with relatively limited means, something interesting can be achieved,” he adds. “The restraint of architectural form and minimal palette offered constraints that made for a better final outcome and we were lucky to have clients who valued the principle of quality over quantity and moved forward with this idea.”  

Photographer: Scott Burrows 
Architect: Shaun Lockyer Architects  

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