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The original 1970s dwellings didn't provide a sound basis for the couple's plans, so the architect helped with the demolition and rebuilding. The angular exterior is made of reverse masonry veneer, meaning the brick is inside and the frame and the siding are outside for optimal thermal energy control.
The lush gardens and green walls designed by Paul serve as the focal point of the home's central courtyard and pool area. "I did it over about a nine-month period and added bits and pieces as I went," he says.
The garden is planted with native lithophytic and epiphytic plants, which grow off other plants and rocks. The deck was intended to resemble a wetlands area, with the fishpond and vegetation attracting regular visits from local kookaburras.
Garden: The Greenwall Company
The courtyard garden provides a tropical entertaining spot, with a tiled, sleek pool capping off the house's minimalist design bent. "If you build a house, you have to build a modern house. There's no use redoing the past," says Paul.
Paul's work is inspired by the late Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, who specialized in tropical and subtropical landscape design using endemic plants.
The home's architect, Tony Caro, was a protégé of the celebrated late architect Harry Seidler, who was Austrian but based in Australia. The captivating open-plan, minimalist designs preferred by Seidler are seen in the living and kitchen area. The emphasis on glass surfaces and the use of light are both principles that the architect prized.
Wall planner: kikki.K; dishwasher, oven: Miele; toaster, jug: Breville
The open kitchen and living space leads out onto the courtyard, offering a communal place for dining and relaxing. The sleek cabinetry assists in maintaining the space's aesthetic by keeping clutter at bay. Marimekko patterned throw pillows add colorful accents to the dark leather sofas.
The weathered dining table was a secondhand find from Ipswich Primary School that Paul believes dates back to 1902. "I got it through one of my mother's friends," he says. "She brought it back from Ipswich and was going to get rid of it, so I bought it from her."
The shaded glass concealing the staircase from the exterior screens the house from the Australian heat while also letting natural light in.
Currently, the couple is building another house that they eventually plan to retire to. "The home will have more integrated green spaces, where all the surfaces that can be greened will be greened, rather than just having a retrofit," says Paul, shown here.
Houzz call: Have you made plants the focus in your home? We want to see it!