Location: Ormiston, QLD.
Designer & builder: Castle Glenn Homes
Photography: Black Bee Studio
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Think of the iconic English barn house and a gabled roof and beautifully aged brick and timber may come to mind. London House by Castle Glenn Homes is a modern take on the traditional English barn house with Austral Bricks San Selmo Reclaimed providing texture and rustic charm.
The two-storey, four-bedroom house is home to Sara and Dean Bolger and their two young children. Dean designed and built the house, ensuring it has flexibility now and into the future, so it’s suitable for a range of potential occupants: retired couple; growing family; professional couple without kids; multigenerational family. The kitchen, living and dining area is open plan while still feeling intimate, and looks out to the garden, terrace and pool. A media room and study provide adaptable spaces at the front of the house, and there are four bedrooms upstairs.
London House is located on a corner site in Ormiston, an historic suburb of Brisbane that is well known for traditional homes. Dean and Sara wanted the house to blend with its neighbours and surrounds. “The design concept tells the story of an abandoned barn, lovingly restored as a family home,” says Dean. “It is inspired by the character of the English barn house and is a fusion of rustic and timeless Old World charm.”
Natural materials, such as brick and timber, are a key part of telling this story, and bring texture and tactility to the house. Externally, the materials look and feel robust and solid, standing the test of time. Internally, they look and feel warm and inviting, creating a sense of cosiness and home. “The materials and finishes give the house soul, and are aligned with country-style living,” Dean says.
Dean used Austral Bricks San Selmo Reclaimed in Reclaimed Original both inside and outside the house. “They were the only bricks that matched our brief and help to tell the story of a restored barn house. The bricks are warm and appealing to the eye, and although they are new, they evoke the feeling of being original recycled bricks,” Dean describes.
However, he was originally going to specify stone, until he spoke with Austral Bricks representative Blair Elwin who he has worked with on previous Castle Glenn homes. “Blair presented us with the option of San Selmo Reclaimed bricks and we preferred it over our original selection,” says Dean. San Selmo Reclaimed is a range of kiln-fired clay bricks with a strong European heritage. Made in Italy, the richly textured bricks have a beautiful, tactile surface inspired by recycled bricks, and the distinctive rustic finish offers a genuine feeling of warmth.
The Reclaimed Original bricks are used for the cubic volume that marks the corner of the house and represents the idea of a converted derelict barn. Black trim and frames cut a smart profile around the top of the brick and the window and door frames. With brick walls and a flat roof, the structure appears like an annex to the two-storey, gabled-roof section of the house, which is also set apart by the front door and hallway. The bricks are also used for the garden pathway, edging and porch piers, creating a welcoming entrance bordered by the timber country-style fence.
The San Selmo Reclaimed bricks continue inside along the hallway to complete the cubic volume and fully enclose the study. The natural texture and colour of the bricks complements the timber floors and white walls and ceiling. In the living room, the bricks stand out against the dark grey feature wall where they are used for the fireplace surround.
Looking outside from the kitchen, dining and living area, a long brick wall is a backdrop to the garden, terrace and in-ground pool. It also provides a beautiful addition to the streetscape for neighbours and passers-by to enjoy. The length of the wall showcases the inherent colour variation in the San Selmo Reclaimed bricks, which is a result of the raw material composition and firing process and part of the brick’s appeal. This variation can differ from pack to pack, therefore bricks across packs are blended during laying for even distribution of colour variation.
The bricks are laid in stretcher bond and capped with a course of rowlock bricks, as is traditional for a garden wall. Accruing patina with age, the bricks will become even more attractive with time and wear, adding to the story of the lovingly restored English barn house.