There is little room for unpredictability in a neighborhood designed on a grid. In places like the Brisbane suburb of New Farm, homes are lined in neat, intersecting rows that leave few opportunities for creativity. But there was a sliver of open space down a narrow road between two existing houses and an interested couple thought that it could work as the site of an unconventional home. The two prospective homeowners, a university counselor and a police officer, turned to Justin O’Neill and his namesake architecture firm to think outside of the box. “They understood that a tight site is best utilized by an economical means of living,” he says. The pair requested a design that blurred the lines between indoor and outdoor living, and O’Neill used that wish as a way to ensure the presence of light and air. He created a long, narrow home—one that’s only 26 feet wide—punctuated by open spaces that are secluded from eight surrounding neighbors.
“The stained plywood base was used as a way to ground the house and allow the rendered, expanded polystyrene folding façade to float above,” O’Neill said. Specifically, that wood base is SHADOWclad by Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts Australia.
A & L Windows and Doors in Precious Silver outfit most of the windows in the home, while the long rectangular pane is custom-made by O’Neill Architecture. The firm stained the window in a timber shade to match the exterior.
“Working with the narrow qualities of the site, the internal spaces of the kitchen and main living areas can open completely to double them in size,” O’Neill said. The architecture firm built a custom bookshelf using drifted oak with the warm Ravine finish by Polytec.
In keeping with the overall objective to maximize light coming into the home, O’Neill and the owners wanted to keep the interior design minimal. Therefore, all of the walls were painted a cool Windy Beach shade by Taubmans.
The sliding doors “help to maximize sunlight and distribute breezes throughout the house and main living areas,” O’Neill said, which is especially apparent in the kitchen. The firm’s custom window stands above a double-bowl sink by Schock in stone and a dishwasher by Siemens.
Polished concrete covers the ground level.
“The outlook from the kitchen and main house entry is directly into the two northern facing courtyards,” O’Neill said. A refrigerator by Fisher & Paykel stands in the kitchen next to a QASAIR Heritage range hood.
“At the front door, the house is only six feet wide and opens to the north-facing landscape behind, providing views out and allowing light in,” O’Neill said. The home’s uniquely-shaped roof is painted with Taubmans’ Crisp White.