Damian Macalpine and his wife Alison used height to give the illusion of space when designing their custom home on a narrow 336m2 coastal plot on Queensland’s Hope Island.
The couple work as sales consultants for McCarthy Homes, who built their new house, spending every day helping clients with their designs. When it was finally their turn, they couldn’t wait to create something truly original. “We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted and like think we have a knack for design. We couldn’t afford a waterfront block so we purchased an empty block 90 metres from the canal where we later purchased a pontoon and have our little boat stationed there,” Damian says. “We actually enjoy the privacy of a dry block and have used bamboo to enhance this privacy.”
The empty nesters wanted to create something unique with a Manhattan warehouse feel. “Considering we only had a 12-metre wide block we used 3 and 4-metre ceiling heights with soaring voids to create the feeling of light and space. We used polished concrete as we just love it. We went for a slightly smokey wall paint colour because a stark white may have seemed a bit cold in such a voluminous area. We both really like mood lighting and used hand-picked feature wall lighting and pendants throughout to achieve this.”
The home is well insulated and has a substantial solar energy system which will dramatically reduce electricity bills. They use bottled gas for cooking and do a lot of outdoor cooking on their barbecue, woodfired pizza oven and a coal-fired rotisserie.
The couple wanted several zones all in one space. “We don’t feel that a theatre room would have been used so we bought a big TV that you can watch from kitchen whilst cooking, dining whilst eating and living whilst relaxing on the couch.” They love this large room, looking out to the pool and deck. “It’s just so relaxing! There are basically six zones in one space!”
Adding further to the unique vibe, they purchased a lot of old chairs and furniture on Gumtree and restored them by sanding and liming them. “We just think that it all came together fabulously. We had a pretty loose direction with interior design. We just kept, over a three-year period, purchasing items that we both liked and thought would look good in our new home one day. We did everything design and decorating wise by ourselves and we are really proud!
“We picked all of the plants and pots too. Alison’s favourite thing is the veggie/herb garden she has made on the northern boundary and we use this daily as we both love cooking. Our kitchen was carefully designed and the walk-in pantry is fully stocked with spices and herbs as we love spicy food.
“We are just sales consultants who think we are designers! We did work very, very hard over this period so we could keep up with the costs.”
Good on you, we say! There can’t be many better feelings than completing a home you have designed to be exactly how you want it.