Located in Brisbane’s Stradbroke Island, Mooloomba House is described by its creator as the organic evolution of the Straddie Shack in a contemporary vernacular.
The project, conceived by architect Shaun Lockyer, was shortlisted for the 2013 Houses Award – New House over 200 square metre category and was featured in Australian Houses magazine.
It consists of a series of pavilions around a courtyard, each with a distinct function and character. The house’s form is deliberately eclectic, built with plural materials and colours to be intentionally cheerful.
Straddie shacks are the colourful traditional houses located in Stradbroke Island.
“You drive past quaint, verging on dilapidated, shacks where people have painted one random wall pink, just because they’re on holiday and they’ve probably had too many beers,” Lockyer said. “There’s a sense that they’ve grown organically, evolving as bits are added over the years. They have charm but they’re a little incoherent and certainly not a cohesive architectural style.”
The holiday home, designed for a young Brisbane couple, juxtaposes several separate but interconnected rooms, each with a distinct function.
“On what is not a huge site, every corner feels different to the others. There’s a sense of a number of different experiences in the one house,” Lockyer said.
The largest pavilion features living areas on the ground floor and the main bedroom on the first floor. These are linked by an internal stair to the children’s area and, through an external courtyard, to the separate guest rooms. This gives the owners, who have three children, the flexibility of opening or closing out some or all of the rooms off as required.
The interiors have a relaxed holiday vibe, including brightly coloured panel shutters in a palette of chartreuse, turquoise, black and yellow. The same colours are used for the home’s shutters and sliding doors, connecting the exterior with the interior.
Comparing this house to another Lockyer designed in the city for the same clients, the architect said Mooloomba House “is significantly more eclectic in terms of colour and that is because of it being a direct reference to the other architecture on Stradbroke Island. We wanted the colours to feel playful, so we went as far away as we could from colours we would normally choose.”
The owners wanted to emphasize the experience of living in a beach house – Mooloomba House stands only 200 metres from the coast – and to have a space that differs from their life in the city. For this reason, and because Queensland’s average summer temperature is 35 degrees and the sky is clear 80 per cent of the year, Lockyer blurred the boundaries between inside and out.
“The sense of arrival is ambiguous, in that you don’t really know when you leave the outdoors and come indoors,” he said. “And the perimeter of the house is still secure so the house can be left entirely open except for the front door.”
The heart of this 380 square metre complex is an east-facing pool courtyard, designed to catch the sea breeze, and a double-height play room that functions as an integrated part of the living area.
“The concept was all about coming back from the beach so a lot of the design was around dealing with the pragmatics of that. There are two outdoor showers and footwash areas so you can come back sandy, shower and dive into the pool. There are hatches for surfboards and double garage doors so you can push a boat straight through the garage,” Lockyer said.
The property’s borders are defined by the landscape, without any fences, in an attempt to break down any sense of a suburban delineation between public and private. When the cedar cladding greys off and the plants grow around the house, it will appear to arise between the bush, looking more like a Straddie shack every year.