The festive season is much-anticipated in Milly Davenport and Andrew Wilson’s blended household. And this year, the celebrations will be extra special. The couple, who lives here with Milly’s son Felix, 14, will be welcoming their respective adult children as well as friends and relatives from near and far. “This will be our first really big Christmas here,” says Milly.
Reflects its owners’ shared love of the outdoors
Located in a lush valley in south-west Brisbane, the light, airy and largely open-plan house, designed by architect Shane Thompson, reflects its owners’ shared love of the outdoors and their preference for the robust and unfussy.
Their previous home, a 1940s farmhouse on the same site, was small, dark and poky, so Milly and Andrew were determined that this new dwelling would be light and open. The floor plan is arranged mostly over one level: kitchen/dining, family room and two bedrooms to the north-west of the entrance; to the south-east, the living room, study and main bedroom suite. An additional bedroom and study are located in the basement level while a mezzanine retreat with Juliet balcony makes the most of the property’s bush views. The kitchen/dining area is enclosed by bifolds, which are often opened up to adjoining terraces to create a breezeway. “You won’t find a cooler spot in summer,” says Andrew.
I wanted a house that was easy to keep clean
Thanks to the relatively narrow footprint, cross-ventilation usually provides sufficient relief from the heat, and the glazing and concrete floors work in tandem to keep the house cosy in winter. In line with Milly and Andrew’s desire for a home that was “neither precious nor pretentious”, they opted for rustic, hardwearing materials inside and out. Wet-dash render is an unusual and visually arresting treatment for select feature walls, its rough texture offering a lovely contrast to the smoothness of the concrete kitchen benchtop and polished-concrete floor. Hoop-pine plywood lines the ceilings, while spotted gum is used for the built-in joinery throughout. Soft furnishings were kept to a minimum. “We needed to work with the climate,” says Milly. “I love fabrics, but here, they just get blasted by the sun and turn mouldy with the humidity. I wanted a house that was easy to keep clean.”
That ease of maintenance will pay off come Christmas when Milly and Andrew’s nearest and dearest arrive. Their main hope – even with a pool to retreat to – is that it’s not too humid on the day. “I grew up near here and I’ve experienced some real stinkers at Christmas.
At least now we can open up the house to let the breezes through,” says Andrew. “And if it does get too hot, we’ll likely just put the fan on and keep drinking Champagne!” says Milly