Owner-builder Brian McKenny and interior stylist wife Julia inspired by 1960s design for family home

THE finished product of the McKennys’ family home blends bold 1960s style with an industrial urban edge and lightweight materials to bring a refreshing take on the traditional Queenslander.

Owner-builder Brian McKenny and interior stylist wife Julia were inspired by childhood memories for their Paddington project, which would be a space for themselves and their teenage son to live and grow in.

“Building and design is our passion and this project was a labour of love for us. However, the design did present multiple challenges due to the site’s profile and strict planning laws in the

area,” Brian said.

The area’s character residential zone code meant features of the facade had to reflects elements of a Queenslander style home.

This ruled out building materials such as rendered brick and concrete, and after months of research the husband and wife team chose Cemintel’s BareStone.

“The raw, concrete facade complemented the wooden frames around the windows and doors while providing a nod to the industrialism of the property’s inner-city location,” Brian said.

Another challenge was the 405sq m lot’s narrow frontage with a moderate slope.

Brian said with limited workspace, using pre-finished compressed lightweight panels made a “world of difference” to the build time.

The McKennys worked with architect Ben Thomas, who designed the structure of the home, with the McKennys responsible for finishes.

“My husband and I wanted a property that felt like a family home and not a show house. We wanted the balance of communal spaces to nurture family interaction, while also having rooms that facilitated a sense of privacy and sanctuary,” Julia said.

The internal spaces were designed as separate entities, linked through rich textures and natural lighting, but defined by changes of level and height.

“We integrated a sense of sanctuary by ensuring the bedrooms enjoyed a large degree of separation with each featuring an ensuite, balcony and additional living area to provide reclusive spaces,” Julia said.

The central stairwell is a bridging element, filtering natural light into the home from behind a two-storey, curved glass block wall.

Design choices have also led to incredible energy efficiency. Performance glass reduced energy lost through windows, and louvres just below the ceiling capture breezes to cross-ventilate the home.

The installation of solar panels and LED lights, as well as underfloor heating and a wood burning fireplace have added to the savings.

“We have already seen the impact of our design choices,” Julia said.

“Even with running a pool, ceiling fans in all rooms, having boiling water on demand and three fridges, our last electricity bill totalled $230 for three months, a substantial reduction on past bills.”

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to News portal.