Chicken Hello World

Hello World

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treesandrocks:

Richard Leplastrier, 2013
Angophora House
Bellevue Avenue, Avalon


In mid-2009 I was working as the office manager for a boutique building company in Sydney, NSW. Our office was located on the site of one of the projects — a spectacular feat of copper, sandstone masonry, and specialist carpentry overlooking Chinamans Beach in Mosman (don’t get me started on that name).

It was through that job that I had the pleasure of meeting carpenter and master builder Andrew Campbell, and his partner in crime, Tadg O’Mahony. Through their skill with wood, they were responsible for invoking the warmth in an otherwise rigid home.

One day, Andrew (Andy) mentioned that he was working on his dream house a ways up in Avalon, and invited a couple of us from work for a tour. I couldn’t have been more excited to see what someone with his skill level was creating for himself. I was unprepared for what I was about to experience.

Sited in the iconic Angophora Reserve in Avalon, the house was laid out in six pavilions with an open-air, courtyard flow.

Born of the collaboration between owner and builder Andy Campbell and a hero of his, architect Richard Leplastrier, the building literally breathed with the forest surrounding it. It was the quietest building I’ve ever stood in, and one of the most memorable.

The carpentry and palette of timbers, the rich auburn of Jarrah and red Mahogany, the more honeyed tones of Teak and the clean pallor of Hoop Pine ply, set the house apart from some of the other architecturally brilliant homes I had seen in the area.

Even the wood had a story: “Recycled from the Fremantle Wool Store, the massive, 75-millimetre thick slabs of Jarrah were originally harvested from forests whose licenses have now been revoked, rendering them irreplaceable.”

Other details delighted me on my tour — I had plenty of time to commune with the beautiful handmade copper sinks and light fittings, and serene layout of the Guest Bathhouse (#11) when I got briefly trapped in it. (The door handles hadn’t been added yet).

I also fell in love with the double height pantry-of-my-dreams, and details such as the wooden drying racks that sat perfectly atop the kitchen sink. (And, after a brief sit in front of the bookshelf, I’ll admit I became smitten by the fact that Andy’s wife, who had joined us on the tour, had the same taste in books as me.)

The house is a national treasure.

And, I woke up this morning thinking about it, so I tracked it down and discovered that the house was completed in February of this year (yay Andy) and is (or was recently) for sale.

The property is perhaps best summed up by Andy himself, who says, ‘We have had great pleasure in living here and being a custodian of this iconic treasure. Unfortunately, we are passing the baton to someone else who I am sure will love and cherish this house. Numerous architectural students from all over Australia and from Gifu wood working university in Japan have seen this house and it has given them much pleasure, as I am sure it will for others into the future.’

[Photos from Modern House; entire listing details and additional photo tour here]