After a decade of building homes for other people, Andrew Gray of Graya Construction built his own forever home high on a hill in the inner Brisbane suburb of Paddington recently and it’s a beauty. While resale was considered, the tri-level home is anything but ordinary with neutral feature brick, timber, concrete and natural stone combining for a relaxed, urban vacation vibe.
“We wanted our home to feel like a haven. We went with a light colour palette, something that was neutral and more coastal, so we could get a holiday feel. The light tones of the brick and how we’ve used it throughout the house has brought that sense of lightness, airiness and relaxation,” says Andrew.
Originally a run-down Queenslander, the front of the home was restored as part of the renovation process and the new extension at the back seamlessly blends the old with the new. Interestingly, exposed brick plays an important part in the renovation and it was a choice driven by the Queensland climate more than aesthetics.
“We decided to use brick pretty early on in the piece as a core part of our home’s design because of the climate in Queensland. What we didn’t realise is that it also opens up opportunities design-wise, because there are so many varieties of brick that you can use in different ways. I think when a lot of people think about brick, they imagine the traditional red, old style, but with so many design options available now for brick we really felt that if we could use it in the right way, it could be completely timeless,” says Andrew.
Sourced from PGH Bricks, the same style of brick is used throughout the home including the inside walls and floors – an emerging design trend. The technique helps to create the illusion of endless space where the boundaries between the indoors and outdoors are blurred.
Brick also stars in one of the home’s most notable features – a three-storey, minimalist brick chimney that stretches from the bottom to the top of one side of the house. “One of my favourite features in our home is our three-storey brick chimney. Combining the intrinsically traditional nature of brick with such a cool modern feature meant that we could create a really unique and trendy feature for our home that will never aesthetically date. I believe that’s what made brick the perfect material for our forever home,” says Andrew.
Bricks were used in a relatively unusual, bespoke way too after Andrew gave them to his tiler to cut up and turn into tiles for the entry pathway and walkway. “We carried these same bricks into our feature walls to create cohesion, which turned out great. If you think outside the box, there’s some really cool design elements that you can create with such a simple and reliable material. It’s the best of both worlds for us,” says Andrew.
And while the home is fairly neutral, there are some statement areas of colour including the master ensuite with is emerald green marble and the powder room and its red marble. “It’s in the smaller rooms where those elements have a bigger impact, and it means the whole house isn’t screaming at us. Our design choices were guided by the fact that we’re looking at being here for at least ten years, so we restricted ourselves from anything too bold structurally, keeping it more neutral, and instead got creative with the more decorative elements.”