The wish list of Brisbane empty nesters Peter and Jacquelyn was simple. They wanted an affordable new home with plenty of room to accommodate their grandchildren, and Peter’s honey-manufacturing business. Architect Paul Butterworth found the sweet spot — delivering ‘Honeyworks House’ on budget and surpassing the couple’s design expectations.
Central to the brief was a desire to create safe, light-filled spaces in which their young grandchildren could play. Mindful of the couple’s modest budget, Paul Butterworth devised a way to deliver the pair ample space, along with little luxuries.
“Essentially, we had two choices,” Paul explains. “We could build multiple rooms that would be predominantly unoccupied most of the year, or we could create one large multi-modular area and distribute the remaining budget to elegant touches to elevate everyday living.” The latter plan delivered a practical, yet luxurious solution.
Paul humbly describes the design as a little akin to a warehouse conversion. “The home basically comprises two metal boxes, conjoined in an L-shape configuration,” he says. A burnished slab and plasterboard walls were chosen for their high function and low cost. Then, the bulk of the budget was deployed to fill the box-like shapes with beautiful fixtures and fittings.
Elegant tapware, custom lighting, timber veneer cabinetry and luxurious stone products all combine to transform everyday living into a truly joyful experience. Meanwhile, the multi-purpose room features a queen-size bed concealed behind a wall of rich Tasmanian blackwood. Other thoughtful features include a two-way mirror in the powder room, designed to showcase both the home’s entry and its central courtyard.
In total, three outdoor spaces are easily accessible to the residents and visitors of Honeyworks House. In addition to the internal courtyard, the back garden also plays a vital role in this family home. Here, Peter nourishes his business interests with a honey harvesting, spinning and bottling facility. Meanwhile, plots in the back garden grow watermelons, corn, grapes, passionfruit … and a healthy array of other fruit and veg.
The front garden too is a highly productive space. Paul ensured the landscape design incorporated plants to attract bees to the property. This is, after all, an apiarist’s address!
An advocate of sustainable design, Paul recycled some of the brickwork from the original home that was demolished to make way for Honeyworks House. The salvaged white concrete breeze blocks not only provide a visual point of contrast but also help circulate cool air throughout the home’s interior.
Both externally and internally, Paul has deployed red bricks reminiscent of those found throughout the streetscape. It was a very deliberate decision to help create both a sense of domesticity and connection with neighbouring homes. “We wanted Honeyworks House to feel comfortable in its surroundings, without mimicking its surroundings,” Paul explains.
Based on the residents’ own appraisal, Paul has certainly succeeded in designing a house that not only suits its environs but it’s inhabitants too. “I really feel a sense of calmness when I walk through my front door — I’m instantly relaxed,” owner Peter says. “I was very happy with Paul’s approach. He was always open to our input but steered us away from any impractical ideas. Paul’s up to speed with the latest materials and he’s got a great group of contacts.”
- Architect In Charge:Paul Butterworth