CASA CURVA Among the leafy streets of Toowoomba on Queensland’s Darling Downs, the curved roofline and stone feature walls of this new build have a unique presence. Homeowner Michelle (pictured opposite, with the family pooch Baxter) and her husband Dustin were keen to make the indoor and outdoor living spaces equally comfortable. “It’s a big block with a great aspect so we wanted to enjoy the surroundings,” says Michelle. In the entertaining area, a Jetmaster ‘Patio Horizon Panoramic’ gas fireplace is set within a wall of ‘Night Star’ random stone from Stone & Tile Studio. Catering is also effortless with a built-in ‘Turbo Elite’ barbecue from Ziegler & Brown. For a similar outdoor dining setting, pair the ‘Houston’ table from the Coco Republic with Ikea’s ‘Fanbyn’ chairs. The poolside outdoor sofa (opposite) is from King with Pony Rider cushions from Kira & Kira. In the background of the entrance, the artwork by Nicole Schafter was commissioned for Dunstin’s 50th birthday.
When Michelle and husband Dunstin bought a big vacant block perched on a range, with sweeping escarpment views across Queensland’s Darling Downs, they knew it was a prime spot. Why? They had lived next door for more than a decade!
“For years we’d looked over the fence at the block, which was a bit larger than ours at the time, and wondered how the outlook would compare and what we could do with the site,” says Michelle. “Blocks this size [1440 square meters] with views are rare, so when it came up for sale, we thought we’d secure it and work out the rest later.”
The next stage happened several years on, as it took a while for the couple to loosen the sentimental attachment to the home they had designed, built, and enjoyed for 10 years, with sons Jayden and Ryan, now 18 and 15 respectively. “When it finally sold and we moved into an interim rental, it was difficult emotionally,” says Michelle. “There were moments where I wondered, ‘Have we done the right thing?’ ”
Yet with a desire to explore design possibilities and create a different style of home as their sons grew into young adults, the couple were thrilled once plans were on the drawing board.
They enlisted Ian Brundell of Zest Building Design and the brief involved capitalizing on the sloping site and the southeast aspect that overlooked picturesque valleys and undulating mountain ranges. They preferred minimalist modern lines and indoor-outdoor flow, with a real connection to the pool and garden. Private breakout areas for the boys and guests were a must, too. Dunstan wanted a cellar, while Michelle perused Pinterest for mid-century-modern-meets-Scandi inspiration.
“As soon as Ian presented us with the initial concept plans, we loved it – particularly the curved roofline, which is such a standout feature and really gives the house unique character,” says Michelle.
It was also a dream to work with local builder Mark Sorensen, who had built their two previous homes. “Given that we built in the height of a Covid lockdown, we were very lucky,” says Michelle. “Fortunately, we’d already organized a lot of our selections, and all the trades could still come to a site, so the build went ahead without any delays.”
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