A Brisbane Architect Designs a Light-Filled Addition for Her Brother

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By Melissa Dalton / Published by Melissa Dalton
With the addition of a striking two-story "living hub," architect Rebecca Caldwell of Maytree Studios adds the finishing touch to her brother's Sunshine Coast home.

The double-height, 1800-square-foot addition, as designed by Caldwell and built by her brother, hosts generous kitchen and living areas with ample connection to the outdoors, as well as an upper mezzanine floor that can be flexed for work or play.  

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"Cozy" might not be the word that immediately comes to mind when ones sees such a capacious interior, yet Caldwell achieves just that by lining the ground floor with strategic alcoves and window seats. Overhead, the mezzanine floor and walkways provide a sense of enclosure or definition where needed. For instance, a dropped ceiling distinguishes the kitchen from the great room and forms a welcoming niche for the wood stove. Glass and steel railings on the second floor keep sightlines open.  

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An expansive wall of black cabinetry on the West wall houses the kitchen pantry and storage, and conceals the door to a bathroom, while also striking a bold moment that anchors the two levels.

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 A mix of materials, such as honed concrete, salvaged wood, steel, and recycled brick, offer just the right balance of warmth and contrast. The timber used for the roof supports hails from a deconstructed Sydney factory. The wood's finish was left as-is, including worn spots and flaking paint. The bricks were sourced from the Brick Pit in Sydney and incorporate those marked with a little graffiti for added patina. Substantial openings on the East wall allow easy passage to a courtyard, a dining room, and the family bedrooms located in the original cottage.

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Both the North and South ends of the addition take advantage of double-height glazing to frame views into the surrounding property. On the kitchen end, a semi-enclosed barbeque area inspires relaxed family entertaining.  

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